be proud of you

Vancouver Sun:“I want to feel comfortable in my body, I don’t want to deal with people asking me if I’m a guy or a girl,” she says. “I tried so many times to be a boy, just to make other people happy. I’m concentrating on myself now.” Shamai started dressing as a man, although never at his parents’ home, but when his parents got separated, a few months before he turned 21, “they told me they didn’t want to see me anymore,” he says. “I left home, and decided to start transitioning. They couldn’t understand it.” Although other family members have told him that he is valued in their family life together, he has not been in contact with his parents for more than three years. “I still miss my family, around holidays or whatever,” he says. “You want somebody to be proud of you. Family times I really want to call my mother and say, ‘I have this great job, I have relationships.’ “I realize I was never what my mother wanted me to be. I wanted to try to make her happy but I haven’t had a chance to say, ‘I’m not a girl but I’m still successful!'” (Gender identity crisis can be the beginning of a long, lonely journey).

Wikipedia: A gender identity is the way in which an individual identifies with a gender category, for-example as being either female or male, or in some cases being neither. Basic gender identity is usually formed by age three and is extremely difficult to change after that. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a social identity in relation to other members of society. In most societies there is a basic division between male and female genders, that are understood to be determined by biological sex, but in all societies some individuals do not identify with the gender that is otherwise associated with their biological sex. Some societies have so-called third gender categories which that can be used as a basis for a gender identity by persons who are uncomfortable with the gender that is usually associated with their sex (Gender identity).

RELATED READING: Why Canada should protect gender identity
GENDER IDENTITY: Your Rights and Responsibilities
What Is Gender Identity Disorder?

common occurrence for lgbt students

Miami Herald Typepad:Palm Coast, FL – The ACLU of Florida today announced an agreement in negotiations with the Flagler County School District in the case of Luke Herbert, a Flagler Palm Coast High School student who was harassed for being gay by both students and one of his teachers. Herbert, a 15-year-old freshman, had been bullied and threatened by fellow students at school and on Facebook and was physically attacked at school by another student who regularly taunted him with anti-gay slurs. Although Herbert reported several instances of bullying and harassment to school officials, the bullying and harassment got worse. “I reported the bullying to the administration but it never seemed to change anything. I felt alone and it made me stop wanting to go to school,” said Herbert. “My breaking point came when one of my teachers started telling anti-gay jokes and mocking me in front of the entire class.” As a result of being tormented by his peers and teacher, Herbert stopped attending classes and faced the possibility of failing the ninth grade. At that time, the ACLU of Florida intervened on Herbert’s behalf. “What happened to Luke is inexcusable, but unfortunately is an all-too-common occurrence for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students,” said ACLU of Florida LGBT Advocacy Project Attorney Shelbi Day. “Schools have an obligation to ensure that teachers and students understand that bullying and harassment of any student is prohibited and to act swiftly and appropriately to address it when it occurs” (ACLU reaches agreement with Flagler County Schools to address harassment of LGBT students).

Flaglerlive: Jokes about sexual orientation, like bullying over sexual orientation—which has led to a spate of killings in recent months (see the Ellen DeGeneres video below)—have yet to have the same level of inadmissibility as racial discrimination, even in law and regulations: it’s only late last year that the federal government abandoned its discriminatory don’t-ask-don’t-tell rule in the military, and many states, Florida among them, only recently enacted constitutional prohibitions on gay marriage. The state-sanctioned double standards have consequences: Luke’s case is not isolated. “It’s a big problem, really throughout Florida and across the United States,” Day said Thursday evening. “Kids who are bullied and harassed are done so at the highest rate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or physical characteristics.” Media attention over the last eight months or so, resulting from a string of gay teen suicides, has gotten more people’s attention. But, Day said, “it’s tragic that something like a child’s death has to occur before people start paying attention.” Luke’s actions set out other options “so that kids don’t feel so desperate so they turn to something like ending their own life.” Missteps aside, Day said, the school district finally “stepped up in a very meaningful way, we certainly applaud them for the comprehensive action that they’re committed to taking” (Bullying of Gay Student at FPC Leads to Teacher’s Public Apology and Policy Change).

OHRC: “Sexual orientation” is a personal characteristic that forms part of who you are. It covers the range of human sexuality from gay and lesbian, to bisexual and heterosexual orientations. Sexual orientation is different from gender identity, which is protected under the ground of “sex.” (SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Your Rights and Responsibilities).

RELATED READING: Is This The End Of Luke Herbert’s High School Bullying Nightmare?
The Gaily News: Fla. teacher to publicly apologize for mocking gay student
Bully Teacher to Publicly Apologize