Friday, March 1, 2013

I May Be Criticized For This, But...

I have an issue with a recent CNN story I read about the parents of a first grader filing a complaint (I don't think it's a lawsuit yet) against a school district alleging gender discrimination.
The article talks about a child who was born with male body parts, but as a toddler started identifying as a female. The parents decided they wanted the child to be happy so they let the child continue to identify as a female. The picture of the child with the article shows what appears to be a little girl with purple hair and wearing a dress. The complaint is based on the fact that the child was previously able to do everything in school as a girl, but recently the parents were told that the child can no longer use the girls restroom. Quote from the parents, "We were very confused because everything was going so well, and they had been so accepting, and all of a sudden it changed and it was very confusing and very upsetting because we knew that, by doing that, she was going to go back to being unhappy" 

I have many thoughts/opinions/possibly judgments (I have to tell you the truth) about this situation - mostly about the parents. First of all, I would not be comfortable with my first grade daughter walking in the girls restroom and accidentally seeing the private parts of a boy. I believe this is a big part of the issue the school is probably dealing with. It's one thing if you have siblings of the opposite sex and you happen to see them naked - it's another thing when it comes to strangers - whether you're a child or an adult. I actually went back and watched the video and felt kind of bad for the parents (because my initial question was if part of the problem was them over-indulging their child - but again, I was being judgmental), but I especially felt bad for the child who was there and had to hear all of this! If your child was depressed at the age of three, wouldn't it make sense to shelter them from situations where they may feel as though an entire school district hates them? Why should this child (and apparently the couple's other kids) be there during the press conference? Reporters always ask crazy questions. This is just exposure to another emotional roller-coaster. 
The last thing I'm going to say about the whole issue is this: I was born black. If I had decided when I was a toddler that I was white, should I have been able to be treated as a white person the rest of my life? Come on, we all know the truth, yes, everyone is supposed to be treated equally, regardless of race, but everyone is not treated equally. I can make a phone call right now to anyone in corporate America and they will have no idea that I am black, but the moment I meet them in person, I will see the flash of surprise/shock cross their face. My point is, being black is a biological fact for me. I can't do any manner of bleaching my skin, straightening my hair, or changing my accent, that will make me white, Asian, or anything else - someone (actually, most people) will see me for who I am. What if my parents had decided to let me identify as a white person? Would I have a better life now? Heck No! I would be all the way confused and jacked up! My life would be absolutely miserable because I would never understand why everybody else does not see me the way I want them to see me. 
I realize these issues are slightly different, but are they really? I'm confused and frustrated. Guess what? This world isn't fair and no matter what we do, it never will be. This is earth, not heaven. Every person in this world looks at someone, or something and wishes their life could be different in some way, but it doesn't work like that.
Please share your opinions with me because I am struggling with my feelings about this issue. I don't want to be "unloving" or hateful, but I truly would like to understand this better. 


  1. I don't think there are any easy answers in this case. I think the school district is being as fair as it can, both to the child and the other students. I agree with your comment about protecting the sensibilities of the female students, and the school has a gender-neutral bathroom, as well as the nurse's bathroom, that the child can use. However, I don't think we can equate this with being black, or Asian, or any other race -- after all, this child will be able to get a sex-change operation if she chooses, and she will have female genitals. Plus, if you think about it, there have been (and still are) many blacks that passed for white, including many in our own family. There just is no right or wrong answer here, as far as I'm concerned.

    1. I definitely think the parents have gone overboard with this. I don't see how a child can decide at 1.5 years old that they are a different gender. Me and Niki both played with trucks when we were little girls - I even had a He-Man Castle of Grayskull set and I liked lots of boy things, but you never led us to believe that we could "decide" we wanted to be boys and I'm glad about that! If nothing else, this child is still growing and developing and I don't think it's right to let someone decide at such a young age that they can be a different gender. This is a life-altering decision. How can a toddler decide what he wants to be for the rest of his life?
      As far as race, I'm not talking about people who can pass, I'm talking about people who will never be able to change no matter how much surgery they have. I will never be able to permanently lighten my skin and can't permanently straighten my hair. As a parent, you used to tell me, "Life's not fair," (and other variations of that LOL) and I learned to deal with life as it was. Yes I still go through hard times like anyone else, but I'm glad you taught me that I have to "deal with it" rather than let me do whatever I felt was right as a child. Do these parents really think this kid is going to have less psychological problems as an adult because he can wear dresses and dye his hair purple now?


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