What Back To School Is Like For Trans Kids

Photo: Getty Images.
My nine-year-old son can’t wait to get back to school — after a long, hot summer of missing his friends, he’s itching to get back on that playground and show everyone his monkey bar tricks and the sweet tae kwon do moves he worked on over vacation.
I, however, always face the new school year with trepidation. Because my fourth grade son is transgender. Adding to the new school year anxiety is the fact that we also live in Texas, a state that attempted to pass 30 anti-LGBTQ bills during this year’s legislative session and, when that wasn’t enough, Governor Greg Abbott added a “special session” over the summer just to try to eke out a little more hate before the school year started.
While other families are concerned about getting haircuts, new shoes, and backpacks for the first day of school, parents like me add considerably more to the list: worries like, “Will my kid’s teacher use the correct pronouns?” And the very basic, “Will my kid be able to use the bathroom at school?” That's on top of wondering if this presidential administration is going strip what remaining Constitutional rights people like my child have.
In no particular order, and certainly far from complete, here’s a list of a half-dozen things that parents of trans kids are thinking about when the school year starts, and how teachers, parents of cisgender kids, and friends can be allies. I’m sure we’d all rather be thinking about cool monkey bar tricks — but there’s a lot of work to do, first.