Some studies shows six out of 1, students experience transgenderism. About one out of teachers are transgender. Wells says his office gets calls and emails from parents and schools across the country at least once a day asking for advice. A few years ago, he helped a child swap sex roles while in Grade 2 at a Catholic school in rural Alberta. Story continues below Some students and their families choose a more secretive approach, switching schools or even moving to other provinces, so they can start fresh, he says.
Others transition over the summer and return to school in the fall identifying with their new sex. Brave students, like Wren, proudly announce who they used to be — and who they are now. Growing up, he hated wearing dresses. He liked Spiderman and dressed up as comic book hero The Thing one Halloween.
When he was five, he had his mom take him to a hairdresser to cut off his long, brown locks. She would often ask: They thought it was a phase.
Then they thought their child might be gay. But as Wren got bigger, so did the sadness and frustration. Kauffman says it finally hit home when Wren was about nine and Kauffman was tucking her six-year-old child, Avy, into bed one night. Her youngest child had seen it all so clearly and, now, she did too. Kauffman later told Wren: Kauffman hopes other parents realize how important it is to really listen to their children.
After about a year, they were ready to tell his school. Wren was in Grade 5 at Belgravia School, where students occasionally gathered in sharing circles to talk about life events such as the separation of parents or a family death. He took his turn to tell his classmates that he was now living his life as a boy. Some kids had questions, but they were all supportive, Kauffman says.
The following year, Wren transferred to Victoria School of the Arts. At first, he was private about his actual sex, but after a few months he told friends and shared his story with his class. There are a couple of older transgender students at the school, but Wren is by far the youngest.
Wren has started monthly drug injections to pause female puberty. His school is part of the Edmonton Public School Board which, in , became the first in the province to develop a policy to protect gay, lesbian and transgender students and staff from discrimination based on sexual orientation.