Before the LGBQT community began to educate the rest of us, I was ignorant and closed minded about the needs of this community. I will readily admit that I had (and continue to have) biases, which stem from my lack of knowledge. In trying to be sensitive, I am sometimes too embarrassed to ask questions that, assuming I had the courage to ask, would help me be a better educator.
A former family adopted a young boy. They asked if he could join my home-based day care for the summer before he went to kindergarten. I agreed because I enjoyed working with the family and their older child.
Fairly early into his summer with us, we began to notice that he only wanted to wear the clothes that would traditionally be considered girl wear. He loved the pink and purple feather boas; he preferred high heels over his regular shoes. We noticed that he often forgot his bathing trunks and preferred to borrow one of the spare girls’, one-piece swimming suits.
I was uncomfortable enough by these choices that I summoned my courage and asked his parents for a meeting. They explained that not only had they also observed this behavior, they were working with a psychiatrist, who had informed them that their son, who would most certainly be gay, was also transgender. At the time, I had no idea what transgender meant.
I do not have an epilogue to this story, as I do not know this young person’s current gender or sexual identity. On the other hand, I do not think it really matters what happened. What does matter is that I learned to be comfortable sharing my observations and asking questions so that I can be the best teacher possible to all of my students.#earlychildhood hashtag#administration hashtag#curriculum hashtag#diversity hashtag#transgender hashtag#LGBQT