Parents question school's handling of daughter's sudden gender ID change
Jay Kecks’ 14-year-old daughter met a new friend at school one day and came home to tell her parents that she, too, was a boy in a girl’s body.
Keck and his wife were stunned. Their child had never said anything about identifying as a boy before. Yet right after meeting a transgender student, their child became convinced that she too was transgender. The Kecks did not believe it.
“I can’t recall a single interest that seemed unusually masculine, or any evidence that she was uncomfortable as a girl,” Jay Keck told Yahoo News.
Yet before the Kecks knew it, their child had a new male name at school, and the faculty and staff were treating her as a male.
The Kecks were furious. How could a mentally challenged 14-year-old change her gender identity so quickly, they asked. Why was the school affirming her decision?
The Kecks’ child was a special education student who had had trouble making friends. The child had been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. The parents and the school both acknowledged that the child has mental health issues.
The Kecks asked the school to keep using the child’s legal first name. In a meeting, a social worker left the Kecks with the impression that that would be the case, they said, but in fact, it was just the opposite. Everyone at school began using the new male first name and male pronouns. The child was assigned to a gender neutral bathroom.
“I feel my daughter is a victim more than anything else,” Jay Keck told Yahoo News.
The school was too quick to encourage their child in her belief that she is really a boy, the Kecks said. How could the school just take the word of a 14-year-old special ed student in such an important matter, they wonder.
Keck blamed fear of lawsuits. Illinois is one of 18 states that prohibit “conversion therapy.”
Conversion therapy is defined as “a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” the website Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org), a pro LGBTQ rights organization, said. “Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades,” the HRC website said.
Medical questioning of a child’s gender identity can be considered illegal conversion therapy, Keck said. Schools are so afraid of violating the conversion therapy ban that they have failed their students, he said.
Keck joined The Kelsey Coalition, a national organization that challenges the advocacy of gender transitioning for children. He is also the head of the Chicago chapter of a support group for parents like himself called ParentsofROGDKids (https://www.parentsofrogdkids.com).
Meanwhile, the Kecks' child is about to turn 18. For more than three years, the child has continued to maintain that she is male. As an 18-year-old, the child will no longer be required to have her parents' consent to take hormones or have surgery to complete gender transition.