Earlier this month, a man named Jay Keck published a disturbing article in USA Today concerning his daughter’s struggle with gender dysphoria. The article highlights the role of school personnel in his daughter’s confusion.
According to Mr. Keck, his daughter—who is on the autism spectrum—displayed no signs of gender dysphoria in her childhood. As a 14-year-old, however, she made a friend who identified as transgender; shortly thereafter, she adopted a transgender identity herself. When Keck’s daughter disclosed her new “identity” in school, school personnel affirmed her “identity,” called her by a male name, allowed her to use gender-neutral facilities, and—most crucially—declined to inform her parents about the situation. After Mr. Keck and his wife became aware of their daughter’s “transgender” identity, Mr. Keck requested that the school continue calling his daughter by her true name. The school did not honor this request, and an assistant superintendent inaccurately stated that “the hands of school personnel are tied” due to federal law. Mr. Keck asserts that a school social worker gave his daughter information about halfway houses, which Mr. Keck perceived as a veiled attempt to influence her to run away from her parents’ home. Mr. Keck added the following:
“We had our daughter evaluated by a psychologist approved by the school district. He told us that it was very clear that our daughter’s sudden transgender identity was driven by her underlying mental health conditions, but would only share his thoughts off the record because he feared the potential backlash he would receive. In the report he submitted to us and the school, he did not include these concerns that he would only share in person.”
The school declined to use Mr. Keck’s daughter’s birth name at graduation.
Mr. Keck’s story is an ominous one. It highlights the importance of fighting for good public policy and of educating schools and others about what the law truly is. Friends, if you have a son or daughter who is dealing with gender dysphoria, and if your child’s school is contributing to the problem, don’t knuckle under and don’t try to go it alone.
For Further Reading:
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is a public policy partner of Focus on the Family. If you are looking for additional resources on this subject, we suggest Focus’ “Transgenderism: Our Position” and “Talking To Your Children About Transgender Issues”.