It Takes A Village To Bully A Transgender Kindergartner

Nova Classical Academy. Credit: CBS/WCCO

Nova Classical Academy. Credit: CBS/WCCO

This is a long article, so just snippets here. Full Story Here. The pockets of bigots in Minnesota certainly showed up in this case.

When Dave and Hannah Edwards were lucky enough to win the lottery to enroll their child at Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, they were excited about the charter school’s small classrooms, the kind teacher they’d met, and the special attention their kid would receive. What they didn’t anticipate was an entire community rising up against their family as they became the latest victims of an anti-transgender backlash sweeping the country.

Over the course of the school year, the kindergartner would transition from a gender non-conforming boy to a transgender girl. At every step of the way, the Edwards sought accommodation from Nova to help protect her from bullying and make sure her classmates understood who she was, and at every step of the way, a growing force of anti-transgender parents shut them down, creating a public spectacle and only increasing the harassment their daughter experienced.


Letters and emails started pouring into the school board. Nova Classical Academy has a “Public Comment” submission form on its website, and it then formally publishes all of the comments it receives as part of the Board’s notes. These, combined with listening sessions, “Climate Committee” meetings, and the school board’s regular meetings created nearly weekly opportunities for concerned parents to share just what they thought about transgender people.

Just because the student deserves to be safe and respected, wrote parent Vince West in October, “that does not mean, nor does the law imply, that we have to celebrate gender non-conformism (or any controversial moral difference) in school (or anywhere).”

“Given the current climate at Nova, we are opting our children out of any teaching that goes against the natural order of gender identity on the 16th and any other teaching on this topic on some future date,” wrote parent David Bursey. “We all have differences. We recognize them and respect them but we don’t need to call attention to them and celebrate them as a school.” In another email, he explicitly opposed allowing transgender students access to bathrooms and sports teams that match their gender, adding that he even thinks respecting their preferred names and pronouns “is treading on murky territory.”

A November letter from Bob and Carolyn Hayton, parents of five students in the school, insisted, “I don’t have to inform the school leadership that transgenderism is a behavior and thought mentality that is novel and only lately approved of in common culture. I have no ill will to any transgender people. But it is foolish to assume that such behavior is normal and should not raise any eyebrows. For children to find such things either alarming or strange is natural.”

NO. No, Bob and Carolyn, you are so wrong. Transgender people are not brand new on this planet, and in many cultures, including my own, they have been accepted for who they are. Your ignorance does not erase history. Perhaps you could work on educating yourselves?

Eventually the school started censoring certain parts of the messages it received before distributing them. It was unclear what criteria it used for which portions it censored, and more importantly, the censorship did not work in some cases. Though the text looked redacted in the distributed PDF files, it could still be highlighted and read simply by copying and pasting it. ThinkProgress easily retrieved the censored text from the documents still available on the Nova website. For example, here is an excerpt from a letter submitted in December by Nova parent Paula Rothstein that was entirely blacked out but still totally readable:

And what exactly is the “need” of this child? A boy in kindergarten would like to be accepted as “girl”? Well, as a woman, I take offense at any boy who is pretending to share my gender when he quite clearly NEVER can nor ever will. Women go through far too much as REAL women to have a man who is immune to the unique challenges and pains we must endure pretend he is one of us. He is not. He never can be. And yet those responsible for fueling this agenda want to be granted access to our private restrooms, our locker rooms, etc.

Much more here. Honestly, what in the fuck is wrong with people? If I had the answer to that… I loathe the “can’t ever be a real women” argument. I’m still furious over an argument I had about this with someone years ago. Yeah, okay, so some women don’t go through periods. I didn’t have to go through the internal agonies and external torments of discovering I was trapped in the wrong body. I wish people would think.  So, this sterling example of a woman above, is she proud about taking on a kindergartner? There’s zero sense operating there.


  1. says

    That’s exactly it, and they have the nerve to say “no ill will”. *spits* This is about a 5 year old, FFS. These other people are parents, you’d think they would stop and think for a moment, but no. “We don’t want our enormously special and expensive school to have one of those in it.”

    The whole thing is past infuriating, and one big black eye on Minnesota.

  2. Onamission5 says

    I do notice how the commenter in the final quote turned a kindergartener into a grown man all of a sudden. Not enough to misgender her, have to treat her like an adult man (heavy on implication: predator) too.

    I see you, commenter lady.

  3. says

    Onamission5, I noticed that too, you could hardly miss it -- you can almost see the spittle flying. Such intense hatred, focused like a laser, on a tiny child.

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