Guest post: I’m fighting for my transgender son Aidan. For Mother’s Day, I’m hoping other moms will join me.By Lola Olateju • May 10, 2020 • 10:30 am
This guest post is written by Sheila Pogue-Krabacher, mother to a transgender son Aidan.
For Mother’s Day, can I talk to you for a few minutes about my son Aidan?
Because Aidan has a sleep disorder, he was enrolled in online school for a few years in middle school and high school.
When Aidan was ready to return to school, I admit, I was not fully prepared. My son is transgender, and I worried that the school would fail to care for his needs.
Unfortunately, I was right.
Before the first day, Aidan and I sat down with the school leadership and the principal assured me they were open and affirming of all students. This included respecting the fact that Aidan is transgender, and using his correct name and pronouns.
When Aidan expressed a desire to join the high school wrestling team, we were excited that he wanted to get back into it, make new friends, get healthy and build community like all students his age.
So, it broke my heart when Aidan called me in the middle of practice, upset on the phone, asking to be picked up immediately. I raced over there as fast as I could and my son informed me that his coach had outed him.
Despite our best efforts, the school’s athletic director failed to communicate Aidan’s needs to the coach. The wrestling coach used the wrong pronouns, insisted Aidan not use the boys’ facilities and effectively outed him to his teammates.
Even so, Aidan wished to return to his wrestling team. We fought for a solution, waded through school policy, held many district meetings, all to no avail. Not only does the Wilmington School District not have a comprehensive policy protecting transgender students, Ohio lacks statewide protections for LGBTQ people. Without explicit protections, we had no clear legal recourse under state law.
All of this is wrong and must change. This is why I share my story today, to raise awareness for Aidan and other transgender youth. You can help secure statewide and nationwide protections for LGBTQ people by raising your voice.
My son wants to be like others his age, building friendships and community in a sport he loves. Without explicit protections, schools may be able to exclude transgender youth from equal participation that their peers enjoy.
I’m asking for your help. As parents, our children often give us gifts around Mother’s Day. This year, you can give the gift, by telling your story.
Whether you identify as LGBTQ or as an ally, your story will help us as we fight for the statewide protections we need in Ohio and nationally!