Local News

Parents say love for transgender child is unconditional

Posted January 14, 2014

— The parents of a Cumberland County first-grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl say their decision to allow her to go to school as a transgender child was one based on unconditional love and a desire for her to be happy.

"It's been a long process for us, and basically, we just had to come to a decision that we were going to love and support our child, no matter what," the girl's mother said Tuesday. "We decided that our love for our kids was going to be unconditional, and we needed to make sure we were doing what was right for our child's happiness."

The child, a student at Howard Hall Elementary School in Fayetteville, began identifying publicly as a girl at the beginning of the school year – dressing in girls' clothing, going by a female name and other behaviors not commonly associated with boys – but parents of other  students say they recently became aware of the matter when their children started asking questions.

The child's parents say they spent years in therapy and made the decision to start raising their child as a girl on the advice of her psychologist.

When they did, they say, they didn't know what to expect, and they have been surprised by the support they've received.

"We've been really impressed and amazed by our friends and our family and especially the school and the school system about how supportive and encouraging they've been," the mother said. "They've all been very loving."

Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till says for the past five years that he's been superintendent, he's seen at least one transgender student each year.

"We don't make a big thing out of it, because we don't consider it a big thing," he said.

Till says that that although there is no official policy relating to transgender students – the school board is expected to address the matter later this month – there are policies dealing with bullying and student welfare. Till says that school staff make accommodations for transgender students on practical matters, such as which restroom to use, on a case-by-case basis.

"Our goal is to make every student comfortable and to make every student feel good about where they are and to help people understand that diversity comes in a variety of forms."

Some parents said Monday that they have no issue with Howard Hall staff accommodating the first-grader but that they are concerned that they weren't notified about the matter so that they could better respond when their own children started asking questions.

Recognizing those concerns, however, Till says he didn't think there a need to notify them.

"We understand there are a wide variety of things that occur in school and most things you don't notify because there is protection (in place)," he said. "So, we try, to the best of our ability, to not play it bigger than it is and try to accommodate whatever the need is to keep the privacy of the individual intact."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • davidhartman Jan 24, 2014

    This is messed-up beyond words...

  • Lovey Jan 15, 2014

    What a lucky child to have such kind understanding loving parents!

  • PDMARTIN Jan 15, 2014

    Fuquay Resident

    Are you serious???? That is putting peoples personal business out there for everyone. That is a ridiculous thing to do much less say.

  • quikdraw2 Jan 15, 2014

    I am impressed with Fayetteville. I am native to NC and I would have thought that it would have a very negative response. Bravo to Fayetteville to proving me wrong. And I am happy with the accepting attitude that the community has had.

  • Pirate01 Jan 15, 2014

    So I wonder how this 6 year old was able to get his hands on girls clothes?? The parents gave the stuff to him. People can try and proclaim this is great for the one child but completely ignore that there are hundreds of little girls that are going to have a boy in their bathroom and as they grow up their locker room.

  • Fuquay Resident Jan 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Good point. What if their kid came home and said "why does Joey have 2 mommies" or "why doesn't Sally's daddy live with her" or "why does Raquanda live with her grandma"? How would they handle that? Maybe the school should send home a letter at the beginning of the year "Dear parents, this year we have 3 students who have same sex parents, 12 from divorced families, and 8 who live with a relative other than a parent."

  • jesspinky1 Jan 15, 2014

    I commend these parents for doing what is right for their child. They are amazing for what they have done.

  • 678devilish Jan 15, 2014

    What if this had been your child or grandchild, or maybe neice or nephew, how would you have handled it? Be truthful for we never know what may come in to our life or family.

  • 678devilish Jan 15, 2014

    Poor taste, WRAL.

    This was a very enlighten story and this is a new time. Thanks WRAL for bringing the story and please keep us up dated on this story.

  • emaleth Jan 15, 2014

    Whether or not I agree with what the parents have done with this child, this was not worthy of a news story, and frankly, should have been kept private. Poor taste, WRAL.