To the Administrators of My Son's School
Dear Ms. L. and Ms. J:
I requested a meeting with Ms J. several weeks ago but I think instead I will just ask that you read my email today regarding our son, T.
He has been wanting to identify as transgender for some time and we understand that he is now referred to as Tess and she/her in some of his classes. We were anticipating this and think we understand the rationale for teachers and staff complying with kids’ wishes. We think it ostensibly comes from wanting to be kind and of course, so they can just get on with teaching our kids, so I thank you for that.
My husband and I are liberals but we are also firm believers in science. We are both surprised that something that was so strange and rare has become so trendy and not so rare with our kids. T, (we don’t call him Tess) seems to be trying to fit in using transgender as a way in.
T was diagnosed as autistic five years ago. He has always struggled to fit in and nearly always gets rejected probably because he just doesn’t know the best way to relate to kids his age. He is currently seeing a therapist who focuses on his social skills and autism. T’s feelings that he is a girl are treated as secondary but likely related. The idea he is trying to fit in by saying he is transgender may seem strange but hear me out. People these days get a lot of positive feedback for coming out. “You’re so brave!” “Good for you!””Be your true self!” For a teenager who is isolated, awkward and struggles to connect, this may also make puberty easier to deal with since suddenly all the negative things about puberty can go into the same box. In our case, it seems like T feels that becoming a girl will magically fix all uncomfortable things for him.
I understand that, on the surface, it appears kind to comply with our kids’ wishes to be socially transitioned—but it’s a lie and it feeds the delusion that we can actually change our sex just by declaring it. No matter what we may wish, we cannot fight biology.
This brings me to what I am hoping to accomplish with my email. First, I would like for all his teachers to read this email. Some are aware of our feelings—specifically the five I met with during parent/teacher conferences. One teacher sent him an encouraging email regarding his trans identification. This was inappropriate. Again, I understand teachers and staff using the preferred name and pronouns to create the best environment to teach. However, we believe that actively encouraging him “in their journey” steps over the line. So, secondly, I would say, just be neutral or maybe ask if an initial such as T might be okay. I understand this may be too awkward for teachers who have already starting calling him Tess, but my request still stands. Thirdly, I would just ask you to try and imagine what parents are going through with this. Social media and peer influence is huge and surely you have noticed a spike in trans identification especially since the pandemic. We really believe there’s a lot more to the situation for a lot of these kids other than a sense of mistaken gender.
T has a tough year ahead because he will probably be having jaw surgery in September and unable to attend in person for the first couple of months—an issue we hope to discuss with Ms S. when her availability improves. Unfortunately, this will likely make him feel worse about himself as he is healing.
Thanks for listening.