To the Editor:

I am writing today concerning the proposed SAD 17 Gender Identity Policy. I am also writing as the parent of a transgender child.

As a Norway resident, I give my support to Policy ACAAA. I believe this policy adds to others already in existence to provide the best care and learning environment for teachers and their students.

While I understand there is a small but considerably vocal opposition to this policy, I believe that resistance comes from a place of ignorance and miseducation.

In the recent article published by the Advertiser Democrat, objectors stated they were concerned for students in locker rooms and bathrooms, but the violence is actually shown to be perpetrated against transgender students when they are not allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity [1]. The truth is, there are no records of transgender students committing an act of violence or displaying predatory behavior in the bathroom of their choice [2]. Trans kids have enough to deal with; they just need a safe place to pee. I believe these resistant individuals are confusing sexuality and identity [3].

There was also opposition stating children do not have a right to privacy. I do understand the conflict between parental authority and a child’s right to privacy, however this policy will not deny a parent who is actively engaged in their child’s life and well-being from obtaining information about their child from the school. It does, however, allow a child to live their authentic identity in a safe space [4], where they might not be able to do so in their home, again because of ignorance and miseducation on the part of the parents.


Current scientific studies concerning gender dysphoria substantiate the necessity of supporting a child’s transition [5]. For my partner and I, supporting our own child through their transition was absolute. We were both educated on gender dysphoria and knew the evidence behind the psychology. I like to think that we would have supported our child anyway, especially after understanding the extreme predilection toward suicide for transgender individuals who are not supported [6].

I also know the unfortunate reality that many parents would not support their child’s transition, and therein is the necessity for this policy to exist. Children deserve to be supported in their education, and they deserve to find solace in the school house where they can be their authentic selves – that environment promotes better learning, and better learning increases the prosperity of our community. Our own child came out to their teachers and administrator before they came to us.

Despite the fact we had been outspoken and supportive of transgender issues, they were still wary of talking to us. That broke my heart, but I was thankful they had counsel and support in their classroom before they felt safe to talk to us. This is not true of every child, and the unfortunate reality for those children in homes that might be dismissive, resistant, or abusive toward the transition, likely face becoming unhoused and suicidality [7] [8].

Instead of resisting policies that seek to support our children, I would like to see fellow parents of MSAD17 students educating themselves on the reality of transgender issues. I believe understanding and continuing education can best promote the next generation to live their most authentic lives, in safety and in freedom.


Aubrey Bell


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