GA Voice readers were divided over the case of D., a second grader in Townsend, Ga. (www.thegavoice.com, Aug. 26; update in print edition, Sept. 2).
Labeled a girl at birth, the child began living as a boy last year. Tommy Theollyn, D’s parent who is also a female-to-male transgender, wants him to be able to use the boys’ bathroom at Todd Grant Elementary School, but the McIntosh County Public Schools superintendent refused.
D, who was previously home-schooled, is now being homeschooled again. Meanwhile, a petition Theollyn started on Change.org has more than 31,000 signatures asking for D. to be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom at school.
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“I am so sorry D is having to go through that. No child or human should have to go through that. I am also the parent of a transgender child who is 9. He was also homeschooled last year and so badly wanted to be in public school, where he belongs. This year we signed him up for public school and they could not have been more supportive. It is actually heartwarming, and to see how proud and happy my son is to be back in school meeting new friends and being able to be his authentic gender. Good luck to you and your son.”
“Child abuse is not a non-event. The community needs to step in and get the little girl out of that home.”
“What? Putting a boy in a tutu for three years will not make him a female. This is a little boy, and dressing like one was not what made him such.”
“The child is not a boy. She may wish to dress in a certain way, but it’s not clothing that decides whether one is male or female, it’s chromosomes. No matter what this child wears, she is female. It cannot be changed. You are confusing sex with gender. Sex is biological and immutable, gender is cultural and choice. And yes, I agree, this is child abuse. Where is social services?”
“Thanks for covering this story. However, as a trans parent who has given birth to the child, may I ask that next time you report someone in Theollyn’s position, you use wording like “biological parent”? Of course if Theollyn identifies as a mother, that is great. If not, however, biological parent is a better term, in my opinion. Once again, though, thanks for covering this story. I feel for Theollyn and his kid and I hope that they have community support where they live.”
“I’m glad this little boy was lucky enough to have a father who understands what he’s going through. I hope the school board and superintendent will see the light, and realize that what they are doing is wrong. I live in Missouri but I see the same kinds of behavior here in a lot of ways so in some way I see Tommy and his son D as neighbors.”
“Given how often people try to justify such things with ignorant religious claims, I pray that Tommy and D’s adversaries will realize that God is on the side of the little boy in this, and that they are violating the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” not to mention common human decency toward a child whom God created to be special.”
“The child is only 7 years old. That is way too young to have developed a solid gender identity. Millions of little girls wear pants, have short hair, enjoy playing with trucks and little boys. They’re called tomboys. I think this transgender father is projecting his own feelings and beliefs onto this little girl, thereby influencing (and confusing) her self-identity. I feel bad for her.”
“Dr. William Hunter, McIntosh superintendent, should have been willing to accept the program that was already in place, for D to go to the boys’ bathroom in order to protect him from exposure and potential abuse. The real issue should be keeping the kid safe. If these grown people are not comfortable with this, they could have him use a staff bathroom or somewhere allowing discretion.”
“The ironic thing is, they wouldn’t have known about it if D’s parent had not been honest with the teacher. Although it appears the teacher was understanding and practical, apparently they shared this information and the sensationalism went straight to the top, where the less understanding and intelligent people in charge exercised judgment that will now take the issue to the national news. That’s a lose-lose situation.”
Editor’s Note: These comments on Georgia Voice articles were submitted via our website and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thegavoice). Want to weigh in? Follow us there or submit comments on our website.