Awesome Mom Of Transgender Girl Stands Up To Bully Parents
It’s not easy to be a transgender youth, and it’s not easy to be the parent of a transgender youth either, with all the worries and fears that can accompany raising a child who has to face such vitriol from the world at such a young age. But take heart: today’s story of a transgender child and her mother is brought to you by the Department of Doing Things right, with additional support provided by the Bureau of Parental Kicking Butt And Taking Names.
Jennifer Surridge of Sodus, New York, has an 11-year-old daughter who is transgender. As of last Christmas, Surridge let her daughter start to transition to live openly as a young girl instead of a young boy. Last Monday was the first day of the child’s transition at school, and because Sodus Central Middle School is apparently run by decent human beings, she’s able to use the right bathroom and locker room for her gender. (Classmates who are uncomfortable with her transition are also allowed to go change in a different locker room if they prefer.)
However, I have to momentarily interrupt this broadcast from the Department of Doing Things Right with an unpleasant intermission from the Administration For People With Their Heads Up Their Butts. The Sodus school district held a school board meeting to discuss the restroom policy (students had also been sent home with handouts to explain the plan). But apparently, “use the right bathroom for the gender that you are” was too confusing to some parents–or rather, to their children, as they claimed.
Surridge was subject to a half-hour of transphobic whining from other parents about how her daughter’s life was an inconvenience to them. “I’m compassionate about what he is going through or she is going through, whatever … but my child has rights, too,” whined one mom. Sorry, but ‘not having to know that transgender people exist’ is not a right. Another dad commented, “I have no problem with transgender, gay, lesbian or anything like that[.] I am good with it, I have a small problem with the simple fact that they are going to allow a boy in the girls’ bathroom and locker room.” Um, no, you are not ‘good with’ someone being transgender if you continue to refer to them as the sex they were assigned at birth after they tell you that’s incorrect.
All right, back to our regularly-scheduled Department of Doing Things Right broadcast. After the half-hour ‘we accept your daughter for who she is (but not really)’ session, Surridge got to speak, and roundly put the other parents in their places for their decision to take a collective public dump on an 11-year-old child:
“You don’t understand it because you haven’t lived it[.] Transgender is not a choice. I don’t care what anyone says in this room, it is not a choice. No one in the world would choose to live this kind of life. There is a way to work this out together, and I am ready to do it with anyone who wants to help.”
It can’t have been an easy speech to make, not to a room of people who are willing to have a public debate over whether your 11-year-old child really deserves the rights afforded to her by federal law. Surridge herself admits she struggled a long time to come to grips with her daughter’s identity, but asks the other parents for something that was sorely lacking in the room up to that point: a little compassion.
Surridge told WROC News she was optimistic that her daughter’s friends would accept her and that she would be comfortable finally living freely as herself. I’m optimistic to know that there are parents out there like Surridge who can overcome their fears and reservations to become the moms and dads transgender kids deserve. If you could give high fives over the internet, my monitor would be covered in palm-prints right now. (Okay, it actually is covered in palm-prints, because I have toddlers, but you know what I mean.)
And as for the other parents who think this change is too confusing and frightening for their own kids to handle? Try this: “So-and-so is a girl, and she always has been–she just couldn’t tell anyone before, because she and her mom were worried that people would be upset. She’s still the same friend she was before, except she uses a different bathroom now.” The end.
(Image: WROC News)