Mom says her transgender first-grade daughter is making her way

Katie Flesch hopes all transgender people — including her 7-year-old daughter, Elizabeth — will be accepted as a population and that all the issues roiling about gender identity won’t be a problem for her child in the future.

"As soon as Elizabeth was able to express herself, I knew there was something different about her," Flesch told WHIO on Wednesday night. "I wasn't able to identify what it was … until, it's been a little over a year now that she told us she was a girl."

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Elizabeth, born Landon, has a twin, Logan. They were genetically born boys. Elizabeth transitioned at the start of the school year. Now, as their first-grade year is winding down, Flesch said she wants to be up front about Elizabeth to dispel misconceptions and misunderstandings about transgender people. But she’s still worries about bullying.

She lauds the principal and staff at Rolling Hills Elementary for helping her celebrate who Elizabeth is --  and who she isn’t.

In first grade, Elizabeth began asserting that she was a girl, Flesch said. At that point, Flesch said she took Elizabeth to doctors, got a diagnosis and had a different kind of conversation with the principal than one she had at the child’s kindergarten year. That year, Elizabeth sported a Hello Kitty backpack and pink shoes. Flesch said she spoke with the principal to make sure Elizabeth wasn’t being bullied.

"It’s not about genitalia," she said, "it’s about your brain. Just like I was born with a girl brain, Elizabeth was born with a girl brain. She just happened to get the wrong body."

Flesch said she done much research and has found that the issue is chromosomal.

"It’s an issue about heart. Everybody needs to look deeper into their own heart. It’s about fear."

Flesch said she does wish things were easier for Elizabeth and other transgender people. "It’s not a choice we pressed upon them or that their parents can turn them into. I can’t even get my kids to eat broccoli. There’s no way I could get my little boy to wear a dress."

Elizabeth announced her identity before all the recent issues surrounding gender-identity issues.

On May 13, the Obama administration told U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

Wednesday, 11 states sued the Obama administration in a bid to overturn that directive.

This school year, Elizabeth used a faculty bathroom and is happy with that solution for now, her mom said. If and when she decides she wants to use the girls restroom or locker room, Flesch hopes the school will be accommodating.

"She’s a perfectly normal child," Flesch said. "Her body doesn’t match her heart and her brain. And there’s nothing wrong with that."

"There comes a point where you just have to say, hey, she's a girl," the child's mother told us.  Kate Bartley WHIO-TV ...

Posted by WHIO on Wednesday, May 25, 2016