High school is a period of growth in a teenagers life, especially for those who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming. According to a report by the CDC, two percent of high school students identify as transgender. Although that percentage might seem small, in reality, it represents flesh-and-blood students that need to navigate their way through high school just like everyone else.
Sophomore Joe Tucker started questioning his gender during his freshman year, “I first thought I was gender fluid and then I thought I was gender non-binary.” He finally settled on transgender over the summer.
His family accepts his new gender identity. Tucker said his biggest supporter is his sister, “I actually came out to my sister first because she’s the easiest to talk to. I told her throughout the entire process, we figured it out together she helped me through it.”
This is his first year being openly trans at school and his peers have met him with acceptance and tolerance. “I believe [students] try to be polite about it if they don’t agree with it, [and] most of them try to keep their mouths shut or maybe do their best to understand,” Tucker said. “I don’t believe a majority of people here are [transphobic], and very few of the [transphobic] people are open about it.”
However, he says he has been confronted with confusion from his peers. “Many people call me ‘he’ some call me ‘she.’ I don’t have any trouble, most of the time I might get a name called here and there, locker[room] chat but nothing too bad.”
The US has made progress in recent years creating equal opportunities for trans individuals. Title IX of the Educational Acts of 1972 protects individuals from sex discrimination in schools, including trans students. However, trans students still experience discrimination at school. According to the CDC report, nearly 35 percent of trans students admitted they were bullied in school, and 27 percent feel unsafe at or going to school.
However, schools are progressing in creating a more comfortable and accepting environment for trans students. Tucker believes that FHS is making a lot of progress, and it is much better than other schools. He says he has other trans friends from other states who have it much harder in regards to the high school experience. His friends here help him by giving him tips on how to pass, and stand up for him when he encounters a bully.
He says teachers have also been accepting of his new identity. “In gym, I let Coach Prince know that I wanted to run with the boys and mix with the boys ,and he was completely fine with it. He explained it to the other students, and they were confused [but] he was very polite about it.”
Junior Caspian Glascock-Simpson is another student who identifies as trans. He began questioning his identity when he was 13 and shortly after came out as transgender. “Before I [thought I] was just like every other guy [and would] take my shirt off and run around but once puberty started to hit I was like oh I can’t do that anymore,” Glascock said.
His family is generally accepting of his identity and so are his peers and teachers. “All my teachers when I came here in freshman year were extremely supportive, respectful, called me by my preferred name, would use he and him pronouns (…) no difficulty at all [people have been] very open minded very supportive,” Glascock said. He mentioned that in the near future he will start taking testosterone, and wants to have breast removal surgery once he is financially stable.
Glascock offered advice to other trans teens seeking to come out to friends and family, “make sure you’re in a safe environment before. Make sure you are certain that it’s the right thing to do, just don’t put yourself in an unsafe situation where it can go totally wrong in an instant.”
By Nayeli Arellano – Sports Editor