Among my students, few school diversity topics are more intimidating than transgender students. L, G, B, and even Q seem less unsettling. It’s tough, I think, for teachers to think of children’s bodies at all. To acknowledge their bodies raises contradictions for them as they talk about loving and caring for kids and making a difference in their lives and also about “managing” or “controlling” students. I think a transgender child disrupts their sense of control in profound ways.
What’s a Christian educator to do? My students want to witness for Christ and many have a commitment to social justice in schools as their means to witness. Below I share a video talk with a Carson-Newman graduate and consummate Christian educator, Elise Tilson. She got the opportunity to teach LT, a transgender student, when she was a 2nd grade teacher in Tennessee. She now is a third grade teacher in Denver, Colorado.