Hartley: I’m a boy, but my ma won’t admit it
I’m With Stupid
I know I like to make fun of Boulder a lot in this column as a bastion of liberal fascism, and a lot of the time Boulder doesn’t really deserve it. But then, a lot of the time, it does.
I’m going to tell you this story in the plainest language I can so as not to taint it with my opinions yet. Then I’ll give you an earful. But first, I’ll let it stand on its own merits.
Just this past week, a Boulder woman named Kai McKenzie filed a civil-rights complaint against the Boulder Valley School District, which, in response, agreed to extend training to teachers and other staff to help them better support transgender and gender-questioning students in elementary schools.
The reason for the complaint was because McKenzie’s two children, Elsa and Sky, were being teased at school about their gender issues. In their mother’s words, “The children started teasing both Elsa and Sky about that because no adult was actually standing up and saying, ‘This is gender queer. This is what it means. It’s in the middle. It’s beautiful.’ The children didn’t know.”
Now, if you, like the children, didn’t know what gender queer means, join the club. I had never heard of the term until my wife told me about this whole story last night. Apparently, being gender queer means that a person hasn’t selected a gender yet, which McKenzie claims is the case with 8-year-old Sky.
As McKenzie noted, “Sky was assigned male at birth but is increasingly saying, ‘Don’t use those male pronouns on me. I haven’t figured this stuff out yet.’”
As for 9-year-old Elsa, who also was “assigned” male at birth but started rejecting boyhood at age 2, the family has fully embraced her as a girl.
The family moved to Boulder because the Boulder Valley School District is known to be very progressive regarding transgender and gender-fluidity issues, but when the children enrolled at Creekside Elementary School, they were teased by the other kids when it came time for things like using the bathroom.
To combat the teasing, McKenzie wrote a children’s book about gender issues and asked to use it to educate the other students, but she was turned down. As she said, “For us, the experience was, ‘Oh, you’re not really welcome here. We don’t want your story. In fact, Elsa’s teacher told me in an email, ‘We don’t teach about transgender identity in second grade.’”
So McKenzie filed a lawsuit alleging that the school district “doesn’t adequately protect the rights and integrity of its gender-fluid and transgender children.” Rather than fight the suit, the school district announced two days later that it would start training its staff in ways to better support transgender students.
So what do you think? Only in Boulder, right? Thank God for that.
Here’s my take: I think McKenzie desperately wanted a daughter. That would explain why she named her son Elsa. When Elsa was born with a penis (I refuse to say anyone was “assigned” a gender), it didn’t change McKenzie’s plans. She still wanted a daughter, and she treated Elsa like one, which might explain why a 2-year-old would start rejecting a gender identity when most 2-year-olds have no idea what that means.
I feel sorry for those kids. I have no doubt that Elsa identifies as a girl at this point in her life, and I have no doubt that Sky is probably confused as hell. And I’ll guarantee you both kids were teased mercilessly at school because that’s what kids do. They tease other kids. Always have, always will.
But does that mean that the Boulder Valley School District violated the children’s civil rights? Not from where I’m sitting. I’m quite sure that of all the school districts in America, Boulder Valley has got to be among the most progressive. I’m sure the district board could have fought the lawsuit if it wanted to, but I think it had exactly the right response.
Do I care that the staff is being trained in transgender sensitivity? Of course not. And the district is right not to teach about transgender identity in second grade. But to fight the lawsuit, win or lose, would have cost a bundle. Much better to take the wind out of McKenzie’s sails and just agree to tell your teachers to take a minute to tell kids that it’s OK for a boy to think he’s a girl.
Todd Hartley demands a polytransmultigender bathroom everywhere he goes — otherwise he files civil-rights complaints. To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://zerobudget.net.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
After spending this last week digesting, regurgitating and agonizing over the events of (Jan. 6), I am reminded of what my veteran father would have done.