PD*poll: Transgendered third grader sparks controversy

Filed under: Tweens, Development/Milestones: Babies, In The News, Day Care & Education

You're cleaning out your child's back pack. Book order? Check. Field trip form? Check. Homework? Check. Notice that a male classmate will now be living as a girl, and counselors will be discussing the issue with your child tomorrow at school? Check. What? Wait a minute.

Parents of third grade students at a Philadelphia elementary school were recently surprised when school officials announced that a boy who has been receiving treatment for transgender issues would now be living as a girl. They announced they'd be explaining the issue to kids in a developmentally appropriate way the next day, as well doing some minor sensitivity training.

Some parents, however, were outraged. Eight of them asked that their kids not attend the counseling session. Others expected more notice. Still others thought that the school was going overboard; the kids already knew about the boy, so why make an issue out of it? The school has a blog, and apparently, some pretty hurtful things were written there about the family.

Prior notice aside (because I would have wanted more warning myself, to talk the issue over with my kids), I think that in sensitive situations like these, sometimes the parents are the ones who behave inappropriately. Maybe the school should have given them the sensitivity training, instead of the kids. It's certainly caused an uproar, and I'm sure it must be a difficult time for this family.

Even the experts don't agree on the proper way to help transgendered children. According to a recent article at NPR, some experts believe that these kids should be allowed to live the gender they identify with, as is happening in this situation, while others believe that kids should be encouraged to be comfortable in their given gender. I'm no psychologist, but I think the family in Philadelphia is showing a lot of courage in supporting their child's needs.

What do you think?

Should this boy's parents allow him to live as a girl?
Yes. Regardless of social stigma, the parents know their child best.126 (61.8%)
Are you kidding? Third grade is way too early to make such life-impacting decisions.78 (38.2%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.