JCPS policy allows gender ID change; Student : 'I didn't want to - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS policy allows gender ID change; Student : 'I didn't want to be picked on for being trans'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- New procedures in Jefferson County Public Schools allow kids to easily change the gender on their school records. 

An 11-year-old transgender student just made the switch. The student was born female, but began making the transition to male at age 9. The 7th grader asked not to be identified. We are not naming the student's school.

"I just didn't want to be called by my old name anymore cause that's been a problem sometimes," the 7th grader said. "Because right now, that's the kind of stuff that gets people picked on."

First came the name change, then the clothing change, and now the 11-year-old is taking medication slowing puberty. 

"So I didn't want to be picked on for being trans," the student said. 

This 7th grader is one of the first JCPS students to switch their gender on school records. 

"This is about being inclusive and welcoming and making sure all of students know how important they are and that we value them," said JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin. 

The Kentucky Department of Education recently updated it's "infinite campus" -- the system most school districts in the state use for online record keeping. Previously there was no option for preferred gender. JCPS principals and registrars received training this summer. The change starts when a student and parent fills out the Amendment of Education Records Request form. 

"Reports cards, school attendance rolls, school records within your school -- we'll be able to make that change within JCPS," Martin said.

It does not include transcripts, because in Kentucky, a transgender person must be post-surgery to change their gender ID on a state record. Critics call the change bureaucratic activism. 

"Why are we spending staff time at a school district on this issue rather than trying to improve reading and math scores?" said Family Foundation Senior Policy Adviser Martin Cothran. "That's what schools are supposed to be about. They're not supposed to be in the PC business."

JCPS confirms five students have made the switch weeks into the new school year.

Shannon Farvour is the mother of two of them. "I just know my kid is a lot happier now than they were before," she said.

"If a kid has transitioned, and they're using their new name and new gender and a sub comes in and calls them by their birth name or birth gender, then other kids know when it's actually nobody's business," she said.

Studies show 30-40 percent of transgender youth attempt suicide at least once. 

"You don't feel like you're the right person," said the 11 year old student. "You don't feel like you're who you want to be."

For this student and many others, it is about more than a letter. It's embracing who they are on the inside. 

"Some people shouldn't really think of us as different," the student said. "We're the same as everyone else."

A parent or guardian must sign off before a student can change gender. The form should be available in your child's school. 

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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