Participants: Skinner family; Participants: Skinner parents; Education; Identity; Outness; School culture; Support; Transitioning; Training; Trans; Vocabulary; Volunteering
Tara: Do you think you’re part of the reason why the school culture is able to do work so well for your family?
Jessica: Not initially.
Alex: I would say yes.
Jessica: But absolutely.
Alex: Because they work with us so much now. They want to know our opinion.
Jessica: I have their email, like I know it well, and we’re in constant contact, if anything, any little tiny thing happens..
Jonathon: Especially in the transition between “I want to wear a dress” and “My name is Stella,” there was a lot of emailing back and forth. And a lot of um, a lot of that happened just as Christmas break was happening.
Jonathon: And we were really trying to be like “Okay well, if you’re going to start doing these things, let’s just do it after Christmas break.”
Jessica: That was our other rule. It didn’t happen.
Jonathon: We tried.
Jessica: I’m Stella! Anyone who came up to her she was like “I’m Stella now! I’m transgender, I’m the T in LGBTQ!”
Stella (off-screen): Don’t mention that!
Jessica: What?! It’s awesome when you do that! It’s my favourite! But it’s yeah, it’s extremely important that when it first happened, Stella was like “Can I just have an assembly and tell everyone?” because she just, that she did not want to ask, or like answer any more questions.
Alex: That bugged her a lot.
Jessica: Questions, questions, questions.
Alex: People asking the same thing every day.
Jonathon: It would be a lot of walking down the hall and people would be like “Wolfgang!” And she would be like “My name is Stella.”
Jessica: Every day was just getting more- So I took an active role because they make the money but they encourage me to uh, to volunteer like in her class, in Darwin’s class, and then I’m in all different kinds of classes for the other ones as lunchroom supervisor. And they’re starting to know who I am. So I’m getting the questions. Which is awesome. Because then they don’t ask her. And they like me, and so I can smush that into a ball of understanding, and then she doesn’t have any of that. So.
Alex: And you have the vocabulary, to tell them that she doesn’t necessarily have. Because you’ve had this training with you know, the equity people and stuff, you know.
Jessica: Like we’ve gone through it too, and you know, talking to all these other trans moms if they’re new to it and stuff. So you get used to it. So I’m doing it in a way where it’s not too outwardly whatever, I don’t want to get in trouble with any parents, but it’s like invaluable that they’re learning these things young. And they’re so…
Jonathon: There were.
Jessica: Yes, so it’s extremely important.
Alex: It’s making a difference to not only Stella, but to other people who are coming out in that school now too.
Jessica: And they love me there. And I’m always there volunteering. I always say yes for them. So it looks good on me. So when they discover different things about me, it doesn’t matter as much because they know I’m a good person, so.
Tara: Right, right.
Jonathon: You’ve been there to unthrow a lot of the little knots that come along. Like little girls looking at a boy in pink or whatever and being like “what’s up with that?” And you just being able to be on hand to explain.
Jessica: Yeah I’m right in there talking to them like, their best friends, because they are little sweet people who just want to know. So normally, if you just a little empathy, and “Wouldn’t it be terrible for you if someone just stuck you in a dress?” And they were like “Oh that would be weird, if I was in a dress.”
Alex: And it was so like, it was a moment of change for those kids too. because they really like Wolfgang, and you know, they know that he really likes uh, Frozen and stuff. But it’s Wolfgang. But now it’s Stella! And “Okay, you can come over and we can watch that movie now together.”
Jessica: Yeah she gets more like, when she was, when no one could define her, she just wasn’t invited anywhere. And when she became a girl, she started getting like one or two girly play dates. And you know, everyone from her class except for a couple who lost the invitations, came to her party this year. And it’s, it’s a whole new ball game.