Remember that time when you had to go to the bathroom so badly that you couldn’t think of anything else? Hold that thought. Now imagine that every time you have to go, a rush of anxiety washes over you because you have to use the bathroom of the other gender? Meaning, if you were a girl, you have to use the boys’ bathroom, or the other way around?
That’s how Dar has felt almost every day at school. You see, Dar was born a girl named Darlene. Ever since Dar could remember, Dar felt like they were born in the wrong body. In other words, Dar has the mind of a boy, but the body of a girl. Dar told their dad this last year, and their dad reassured them that they did not have a sickness or a disease. Dar was simply transgender. Dar felt such relief being able to name what they were feeling, and knowing that there were other people like Dar out there in the world — people who live life like everyone else.
Although it’s been easy for Dar and their dad to accept this truth, not everyone has put the time or effort into understanding Dar. At school, Dar’s homeroom teacher, Mrs. Khan, understands Dar the best. No one is unkind to Dar in Mrs. Khan’s class. In fact, no one is unkind to anyone in that class. Kindness is just what Mrs. Khan expects from students. But Dar doesn’t always feel safe with other teachers, and feels especially unsafe with the principal. Those adults don’t understand at all.
Other than Dar’s close friends, May Li and Jorge, the other kids at school behave like whichever adult is in charge of them. This means when the other kids are in Mrs. Khan’s class, they show Dar kindness and acceptance. When these same kids are unsupervised, or with other adults who don’t understand or accept Dar, then they tend to act like they don’t understand or accept Dar either. That’s the most frustrating part to Dar.
For the first time, Dar gathered enough courage this afternoon to use the restroom that matched their gender. Things did not go well. Some kids decided to take matters into their own hands, instead of asking a teacher or an adult for help. But they should know better than to pick on Dar. Dar will stand up for them self.