Letter to the Editor: All Kids Deserve Respect and Dignity

As a transgender adult who was once a transgender child, I strongly support the Gibraltar Area School Board’s efforts to let students use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity rather than their birth sex. 

Being transgender shouldn’t be a source of shame, and a gender-affirming bathroom policy will help ensure it isn’t one. Such a policy says, “Yes, we see you, and yes, you are allowed to exist here.” Had my own high school established such a policy, or even acknowledged the existence of people like me, I would have been spared so much undue anxiety, fear and shame. 

I am still healing from a childhood and adolescence inundated with transphobic rhetoric. Because of this, I know that when these kids grow into adults, they will remember the actions their community took to support them. 

Ignoring and shaming transgender kids will never turn them cisgender. It only ensures that they will grow up feeling ashamed of being transgender and being themselves. It’s in our best interest, as a community, to raise healthy and happy kids – trans and all. 

Kudos to Gibraltar for letting trans kids know they deserve respect and dignity, just as we all do.

Matthew Smith 
Sister Bay, Wisconsin