We were incredibly fortunate to end up at the kindergarten we did, someone was smiling down on me when I made that decision! Either that or our lovely Kindy owner/manager has some kind of power to pull in the people that really need her? I wouldn’t put it past her!
The staff have been so incredibly supportive, and understanding. They’ve approached this unchartered ground with great dignity and respect and I’m honored to share Izzy’s journey with them. They’ve given Izzy unconditional love. One of Izzy’s teachers, who made a guest post awhile back, emailed me tonight with some thoughts she’d put down and with her permission I’ve copied them below. But first I just want to say the following:
Anyone who know’s Izzy is welcome to share their thoughts, it’s really special to me to be able to share Dani’s. If anyone has questions, or things they want to say, but feels awkward approaching me at kindy, please feel free to talk anonnymously here.
Reading Dani’s post I feel slightly guilty because I don’t want to cause anyone else problems, and I know Izzy would be dismayed to think she had- when I first informed the kindy staff of Izzy’s transition I was offered the opportunity to write something explaining it all in the newsletter. At the time, I didn’t want to do this because I didn’t want to make a huge statement and put it out there in peoples faces. Perhaps this would have been the better thing to do, not for us, but for others. There’s not much of a guidebook for parenting a transgender child and I’m kinda doing it by gut instinct and what I think is best for Izzy (with of course the support of a pyschiatrist who specialises in supporting transgender youth, and pooloads of my own research). Having said this, my number one concern remains, and will for the rest of my life, ensuring Izzy is not part of the 42% of transgender people who attempt suicide.
Recently I have had the urge to re-post but unsure about what. While I am honoured to be a part of Izzy’s transition (as her teacher) and support her through the never ending struggle that life holds with being transgender or not. I wonder what it is that people struggle with. What is it that people are scared of? Do we really still believe it is a ‘choice’? Why is it that people are still afraid of asking questions or make a statement, but find the strength to say it behind closed doors?
As a teacher of a small tight knit centre, which provides a welcoming environment to allow children and parents to ask questions, talk about issues or struggles in their life (child’s life), we have been faced with parent(s) feeling like we have not given enough insight into transgender and explaining it to their children. However at aged 2, 3 and 4 how far do we need to go.
As a teacher I will not lie and “sugar coat” it and say it has been an easy process filled of rainbows and sunshine but, I will say the children have been accepting. While one made the statement “but Izzy is a boy I know!” (Shared bathrooms, which Izzy has developed enough confidence to go in front of friends) that was quickly overcome when we explained why she might look like a male but is a female (thanks to some well selected words from her mum). She might have informed a few friends with her findings but they didn’t care. They acknowledge Izzy as a girl and the children don’t exclude her for that.
My point I am trying to make is children are more and more accepting of Izzy. They might struggle at times, but that is not because Izzy is transgender. Most of the time it is because of the mixed personalities in a small centre, trying to find their direction and role within their game. They don’t need to know all the facts and figures but do need be told why****** (pre Izzy name) is now called Izzy.
On an end note – a simple statement from a parent, explaining (I hope you don’t mind me sharing but I think it might help, wording might not be exact):
“Well, Izzy might look like a boy on the outside (meaning male genitals) but in her heart she feels like a girl” and “In your heart what do you feel like….?”