At what age should a child be allowed to express themselves as transgendered? That is the question surrounding a wrongful termination lawsuit in Katy, TX over a six-year-old girl whose parents now wants to be recognized as a transgendered boy. The privately-owned learning center that the child attended for over four months as a girl disagrees. Until recently, all interaction with her was as a young girl. In recent weeks, the child’s appearance changed, including a short boyish haircut, and the parents told the daycare staff to now treat her as a boy because she was transgendered. This included a name masculine change.
Two members of the Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center’s staff disagreed with this. The manager of the daycare, Madeline Kirkse, and worker Akesha Wyatt refused the parent’s request. Both women voiced concerns about possible bullying from other children and parents towards the child because of the sudden turn of events. Additionally, Kirske opposed the request due to religious beliefs. Both were terminated and are now suing the daycare for wrongful termination, represented by noted attorney Houston attorney Andy Taylor.
According to Taylor, “This case involves a little 6-year-old girl who has been attending a private school in Katy, Texas for the last four months as a little girl. She has parents who are a same-sex couple, two men, who decided that she was transgender. On Friday, that little girl left school. I’m not going to use names, but (she was) known to everybody as ‘Sally,’ and on Monday, this little girl returns to school calling herself ‘Johnny.’”
But according to Dr. Johanna Olson, Adolescent Medicine, Assistant Professor, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, just because a child exhibits behaviors of the opposite sex does not necessarily mean a child is transgendered. In an article for Human Rights Campaign, Dr. Olson states “I think you have to follow the affirmative approach to care – so what does that child need to feel safest and to feel the most whole in that moment in time? And, the biggest question is do you support a child going through a social transition in early childhood? The reality about these kids who are asking to live as gender different than their assigned sex at birth is that they usually have immense amounts of gender dysphoria. We do know that kids who are more gender dysphonic in childhood are more likely to have trans-identities as adolescents and adults.”