Opinion by Claire McCully
March 15, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently defended a bill his opponents call a "don't say gay bill" by claiming that this law prohibits "sexual instruction in grades pre-K through three," and then followed that with the question of "how many parents want their kindergartners to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction?"
As a parent -- and a trans mother, daughter and sister -- I have an honest answer to DeSantis' disingenuous question.
People like DeSantis, Paxton and Abbott want to stigmatize the mere knowledge, acceptance and inclusion of transgender and gay people. And as seen most horrifically in Texas, they even seek to criminalize parents who are doing their best to support and care for their children.
To be clear: as a trans woman, I am not an emblem of liberal ideology. Nor does my mere existence or presence equate to "sexual instruction" or an effort to "promote a lifestyle."
I didn't choose to be trans. I am not a victim of abuse or grooming. I am not confused or need a basic lesson in biological facts. I just happened to be born into conflict with my assigned gender.
I am simply another human being and another parent at the local public school. I pack my son lunch and drive him to the bus stop in the morning. I help him with his homework when he gets home. We say our prayers before dinner, and I read a bedtime story to him and his older brother each night.
|Protest in front of Florida State |
Senator Ileana Garcia's office
If there isn't an absolute ban on representing families like my own in the classroom, there is a good chance that more than a few of my son's classmates won't grow up having unreasonable fears about LGBTQ people. And even better, they might be less likely to shame or bully my son for having a parent who is a bit different. After all, understanding is a great antidote to ignorance and its toxic side effects: fear and hatred.
In fact, I am a good example of how trans people are clearly not products of ideology or social contagion. My parents, both Reagan Republicans, raised me in the same way that they raised their four other sons. They expected that my gender identity would agree with my assigned gender and that I would grow into a man. For them, that outcome must have seemed as certain as the sun rising the next morning.
Despite all of that, even in my earliest childhood memories, I remember my certainty that I should have been born a girl. And without any knowledge of other people who felt the same way, I was left painfully alone and isolated with this overwhelming dilemma.
Claire McCully is a writer and professor of English in Nevada