US: My transgender daughter was forced to leave her school

My daughter is lucky.

At 5, she’s a new kindergartner and has headed back to school like millions of kids around the state. In the first three weeks of school, she has made some friends at recess, become determined to learn to lace up her own shoes, and she’s proud to be among a small handful of kindergarten students who have a jump start on reading. I’m proud of that too.

My beautiful, perfect daughter is transgender. And when she made her gender identity clear, my wife and I chose to support her fully, to let her lead her gender transition and help guide us as we knock down obstacles that would rob her of opportunities to succeed. Though it was frightening, we’ve worked to trust that the values of compassion, kindness, honesty, truth and goodness will form a base strong enough to help her as she builds her self-esteem and self-confidence.

Not all schools are willing to learn

My daughter is one of the lucky ones. Her public district school is willing to learn what it means for a student to be transgender. They are not afraid to ask questions and learn with us, and for the most part have been supportive and are open to receiving help, guidance and advice.

But things haven’t always gone smoothly for our family. Last year, our daughter was forced to leave a local, high-performing public charter school because of the school’s discriminatory policies regarding transgender students. These policies had been adopted despite the fact that they run counter to all guidance from  mainstream professional medical, mental health and educational organizations.

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