A Boston-area charter school assistant principal told a first-grade teacher who is a biological woman and identifies as a man to tell kindergarten, first-grade and second grade students on an “Identity Share” Zoom call, “I’m going to start by turning it over to you and having you share with us your ‘I am’ statements and what you like most about who you are.”
The teacher then told the young children, “So something that’s really cool and unique about who I am is that I am transgender. … When babies are born, the doctor looks and they make a guess on whether the baby is a boy or girl based on what they look like.”
Brooke Roslindale School assistant principal Sarah Hammond told the young children on the “Identity Share” conducted over Zoom in March 2021, “Remember: Your job during the Identity Share is to be listening really carefully so that you can learn something new about Mr. Skyer. We’re running a little low on time so I don’t think we’ll have questions but you can always ask questions to Mr. Skyer questions when you have a chance to see him later. So Mr. Skyer, I’m going to start by turning it over to you and having you share with us your ‘I am’ statements and what you like most about who you are.”
First-grade Ray Skyer stared by stating he had three “I am” statements.” He stated the first one was he was a son and a brother; the second was that he was a reader and loved to read, and the third was that he was a teacher and “super-proud” of that.
Then he stated what was “cool” about himself:
So something that’s really cool and unique about who I am is that I am transgender. So we touched a little bit about that at the beginning of this week in the book that Miss Hammond read, but I’m gonna give you my explanation about what it means to be transgender as well:
So when babies are born, the doctor looks at them and they make a guess about whether the baby is a boy or girl based on what they look like. Most of the time that guess is 100% correct; there are no issues whatsoever, but sometimes the doctor is wrong; the doctor makes an incorrect guess. When a doctor makes a correct guess, that’s when a person is called cisgender. When a doctor’s guess is wrong that’s when they are transgender.
So I’m a man, but when I was a baby the doctors told my parents I was a girl. And so my parents gave me a name that girls typically have; they bought me clothes that girls typically wear, and until I was eighteen years old everyone thought I was a girl. And this was super, super uncomfortable for me because I knew that wasn’t right. The way I like to describe it is like wearing a super-itchy sweater. The longer you wear it the itchier it gets and the only way to make the itching stop is to have everyone see and know the person that you really are. So when I was eighteen I told my family and my friends that I’m really a boy and it was like this huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders and I had the freedom to be who I truly am. And even though this experience is super-challenging sometimes it made me the person I am and I’m super-proud to be transgender.
.@BrookeSchool 1st grade teacher records an “identity share” zoom call with K-2 grades where he spoke about being trans.
“When babies are born the dr looks & makes a guess on whether the baby is a boy or girl. Sometimes the dr is wrong. If they are right, the baby is cisgender” pic.twitter.com/qYGFm9B7rF
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) April 10, 2022
Accompanying the video on Facebook, Skyer wrote:
Whenever there are bills introduced targeting trans youth, we always hear the argument that these laws are “protecting” their peers and “preventing confusion.” At this point, I’ve had many conversations with many young children (I’m a 1st grade teacher) about what being transgender is and never once have I been met with any fear or confusion. I’ve even been the recipient of a group hug! Children just get it, it’s as simple as that.
This is a video from an Identity Share I did yesterday over Zoom with many of our kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students. When I opened up my classroom’s Zoom room immediately after, here are some things my students said:
“Great job, Mr. Skyer!”
“I think my family is a lot like yours!”
“How did you grow a beard?” (My answer was just that I grew up!)
“Where are you in those pictures?”
“Your brother is taller than you AND has a bigger beard!” (Thanks, friend.)
“Who is the homework leader for today??”
Learning about and embracing differences is something that comes naturally and is exciting to children. Let’s follow their lead.
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