High school science teacher Karen Scot has been awarded the Who’s Who in America’s Schools accolade over 10 times. She’s received the Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has seen more than 5,000 students pass through her classroom.
She was also known as Gary Scone up until this week.
The 56-year-old well-respected Yosemite HS teacher spent her spring break undergoing the final steps in a gender reassignment she knew deep down was right since an early age.
She told the Sierra Star:
“I was always transgender from my very first memories as a tiny child. I am just now finally becoming completely authentic as a person.”
And it wasn’t an easy path to find this confidence. Her whole life, Scot tried everything she could think of to reinforce the masculinity she thought she was supposed to have, playing college football, joining the military and training in martial arts. None of it felt right.
“It was all part of my subconscious trying to prove to myself I was not really the girl I was inside. There are a lot of people that will disagree and think I made a choice but I didn’t … It’s not a choice.”
The school district is standing by their award-winning educator, and is encouraging respectful dialogue among students, faculty and families. They’ll also provide counseling for those seeking a better understanding. In other words, the school will help to educate. Imagine that.
Principal Randy Seals said:
“This is a unique situation, one that challenges traditional ideas, philosophies, and belief systems for many people. We want to encourage parents and families to sit together to discuss the issues surrounding this situation with their children.”
Ultimately it really does come down to education. Whether you’re Wendy Williams or a high school sophomore, you can’t be expected to understand the complex physical and emotional challenges of being transgender until you cast off your judgements and listen, ask questions and listen some more.
And for those who feel annoyed (we see you in the Queerty comments) that transgender people are “lumped in” with the gay community, consider that it wasn’t so long ago that gays and lesbians faced the same level of misinformation, prejudice and stigma in mainstream culture. If we can’t stand with those who are misunderstood and support them in finding authentic identity, then what are we doing here?
Scot sums it up well:
“All transgenders’ want is the same thing any human being wants. We want to be part of the community and be treated like anyone else. Nothing special, nothing worse, because we care about other people and we do have feelings too.
We wish you the very best, Karen. Also if you give a pop quiz on your first day back, they’ll never see it coming.