Father of Transgender Son Urges Schools & State to Move Quickly on Nondiscrimination September 14, 2017

Every day, Dan Kusch counts himself lucky that his local New Hampshire school district has been so supportive of his son, Gus, who is genderfluid—meaning he doesn’t identify as male or female, but exhibits traditional characteristics of both. While many people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth express themselves by wearing androgynous clothing, Gus’s inherent sense of gender is something fluid, in between or outside of male or female.

He wears his hair long, and dresses in more feminine clothing. He’s fielded the occasional taunt from a classmate, including the question, “what are you?” But Gus, confident in who he is, just shrugs it off with that perennial teenage catchphrase: “Whatever.”

“By and large our community and school have been extremely affirming of Gus,” Dan says. But, he says, there’s more that needs to be done—and not just for Gus.

“Folks in Gus’s school have been so great to say we need to put these policies in place for Gus. But the school district also knows it already has many gender-creative kids in it at all age levels. This isn’t just about Gus. It’s about making a gender-safe school district for everyone.”

That’s why he’s happy to report that the school district just began the process of codifying its nondiscrimination policy—with overwhelming school board support—and that it has been well received by the community.

“Folks in Gus’s school have been so great to say we need to put these policies in place for Gus. But the school district also knows it already has many gender-creative kids in it at all age levels. This isn’t just about Gus. It’s about making a gender-safe school district for everyone.” —Dan Kusch

Currently, 16 school districts in New Hampshire have explicit policies to protect transgender students—but those policies are also under attack, most recently in Candia, where anti-transgender scare tactics pushed the Candia School Board to repeal its transgender-inclusive protections.

Gus is currently protected from discrimination in school—thanks to supportive district officials—but when he leaves school grounds, that isn’t the case under current state law.

Updating New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination to protect transgender people wouldn’t have an effect on school policy—districts would still be responsible for setting their own policies.

But still, Dan worries that if New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination isn’t updated to protect transgender people in housing, employment and public accommodations, it’ll put the brakes on Gus’s future, just because of who he is.

“He has a lot of hopes and dreams. He’s only a few years away from his first job, and the idea that he might not be received as an applicant, or not chosen for an interview because of bias is heartbreaking.”

“He has a lot of hopes and dreams. He’s only a few years away from his first job, and the idea that he might not be received as an applicant, or not chosen for an interview because of bias is heartbreaking.”

That’s why Dan is working hard to pass #TransBillNH this year—and he’s urging all other parents, educators, and anyone who cares about expanding freedom for their fellow Granite Staters to join him by signing the Freedom New Hampshire pledge.