Over the past several days, there’s been a lot of political discussion about the question of which bathroom transgender students can use.
On Friday, NBC 5 met a Denton family for whom the issue is deeply personal. Their son was born a girl, but transitioned to living as a boy when he was seven.
They don’t want to show his face yet, or use his new name, but they say their story shows that choosing different bathrooms can work.
Take a walk in one Denton second-grader’s sneakers and you’ll see a glimpse of growing up transgender.
He was born eight years ago as Gracie Briggle, and spent his toddler years pig-tailed and dressed in pink.
“Around the age of two, maybe two and a half, one of his very first sentences to me was, 'mom I’m a boy. I like Spider-Man and I’m a boy,'” said his mother Amber Briggle.
The Briggles let their child cut his hair short and wear what he wanted, but everyone still called him a girl, including in the bathroom line. Then halfway through first grade, his mom noticed a change.
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“He didn’t feel comfortable using the girls’ bathroom anymore, but he didn’t know if he was allowed to use the boys’ bathroom. So, he would just hold it all day and he couldn’t concentrate, his grades were slipping, he was acting out. It was just heartbreaking,” said Briggle.
She called the school and says they quickly changed the bathroom he could use.
“Once we solved the bathroom problem, there have not been any incidents at school with him, with his peers, with the teachers, with the parents, with the school board,” said Briggle.
In fact, she says his reading scores jumped three levels in three weeks. Now, seeing President Obama’s new directive telling public schools to let transgender kids use the bathroom of their choice, Briggle is overwhelmed.
“God, I just wanted to cry last night when I was reading it.”
She’s calling it a major step for transgender rights and she says it’s a conversation we need to have now.
“What bathroom is my son going to use when he’s a full-grown man?” Briggle said. “At the age of 20 is he suddenly going to walk into the women’s room when he has facial hair, and a deep voice?”
Looming questions for both a mother, and a country.
The Briggle family’s school is in the Denton ISD. A district spokesperson told NBC 5 they don’t have an official policy on this issue and deal with any situation on a case-by-case basis.
Other major districts contacted in the DFW area had a similar response.