Port Monmouth, New Jersey: A 13-year-old transgender girl has been discriminated by Thorne Middle School, says this Aug. 17 Opposing Views article. Rachel Pepe identifies as a female, but previously attended the school as Brian Pepe. Rachel's mother appears to attribute the teen's depression on the idea that she was living as a boy while being a female on the inside, something she feels may happen again since the school has reportedly refused to allow Rachel attend the school as a female. Rachel was reportedly told that she must be "dressed as a boy" and be "prepared to act like a boy." In other words, the school is refusing the teen her rights as an LGBTQ individual, and intends on enforcing traditional gender roles on the student who clearly identifies as a female.
Transgender discrimination in schools is nothing new, but the good news for Rachel Pepe is that there is already precedent in her favor. A transgender Colorado child by the name of Coy Mathis won the fight for her right to use the girls' restroom in her elementary school -- which was something the school initially protested heatedly. The Maine Supreme Court also recently ruled in favor of a transgender student who wanted to use the girls' bathroom. Clearly, if there is precedent in place for the protection of transgender students as members of the LGBTQ community, then Rachel Pepe should not back down from her fight to attend school as her true identity -- and not the gender role that her school is trying to wedge her into so crudely.
Rachel's school claims that it's "not equipped to accommodate her," citing that her name is "Brian" on her birth certificate and that's the name they must legally call her. However, it's been reported by Opposing Views that other students in the school are called by their so-called "nicknames," so this reasoning is still flawed. The school's superintendent reportedly wants to work something out with Rachel's mother, but it seems that he has only offered this quote now that the alleged discrimination is in the media. It seems that the only right thing to do at this point would be to allow Rachel Pepe the right to her own identity.