This transgender student gave a brave speech to combat transphobia at his school
One brave boy's speech on gender identity is helping to change the hearts and minds of the administration of the school he attends.
After one of his classmates recorded a viral plea about why she would fail out of Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, if she was forced to use the same locker rooms as transgender students, Ari Bowman appealed to leaders of the East Penn School District to view him as a human being with a unique set of problems and experiences.
"I knew that I was transgender before I knew gender was a word, but I didn't know how to express it and my mom figured out that I was transgender when I was in the third grade," Ari can be heard saying in a video posted to Facebook by his mother, Alisa Bowman.
Bowman then goes on to tell school officials about the negative reactions that stemmed from embracing his gender identity.
"In first grade the girls would not let me use the bathroom even though I had female genitalia," he said. "They only cared that I looked like a guy, and that made them uncomfortable."
This, Bowman says, is why the theory that transgender women might "expose themselves" to other women in bathrooms doesn't add up — despite attempting to use the women's bathroom in his youth to correspond with his female genitalia, younger students were still uncomfortable because of his masculine clothing style.
"[The first grade girls] didn't care that I had female genitalia," Bowman said. "They cared that I looked masculine and was male at heart and they didn't care about my body parts. What made them uncomfortable was my looks."
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bowman explained the he felt it was necessary to share his story because of all of the negative attention his classmate's viral video brought to transgender students.
"I felt it was necessary to share my story because I didn't want people to buy in to what this girl was selling transgender students to be," he said. "I wanted to show them what being transgender really was."