Educators Organize Transgender Education Summit in Wake of Kedarie Johnson Murder

Nov 15, 2017

The murder of a gender fluid teenage in Burlington has brought attention to the treatment and resources available for transgender students and their friends and teachers in Iowa. Iowa Safe Schools is hosting the first Transgender Education Summit in Iowa on November 17th in Des Moines, and Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools Nate Monson says that its hard to get an estimate on how many trans students are attending public school in Iowa. 

"One survey that I saw says that 50% of millenials believe that gender if fluid, and that there is fluidity to gender and sexuality," he says. "We'll ask 'what gender do you identify as?' and you see about 1-3% report transgender. We think it's pretty unusual when a school doesn't have a transgender student."

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Monson joins host Charity Nebbe. Joby Holcomb, a managing partner of Synergy Clinical Services in Des Moines, and Jess Orcutt, Director of Transcend, a support group for parents and students in North Iowa, also join the conversation. 

Orcutt is the mother of a transgender student from Charles City. She says the best thing a parent can do for a trans child is to be supportive. 

"Be supportive. That's the number one piece of advice I can give parents. Starting out on this path is not easy, and having the support of your parents makes it so much easier," she says. "Members of the LGBT community who thrive are the ones who have support. It can make or break a student starting out on that journey."