[There was a video here]
What are you doing with your April vacation, Yosemite High students? Beach reading? Killing some brain cells? That's nice. Your veteran science teacher, the former Army officer, plans to finalize her gender transition and return to the classroom as her "authentic self."
Last year Gary Sconce, 56, came out to his California family and friends as a woman trapped in a man's body. "When you aren't who you really are, it's like being smothered. It's like being rolled in a wave, if you've ever been rolled in a wave in the ocean where you can't find your way up, you don't know which direction you've been turned," Sconce told Fresno's KFSN-TV in the interview above. "My earliest memories were that even though my body was a little boy body, which I really didn't understand, I was a girl. I knew I was a girl."
Since coming out, Sconce has transitioned in most aspects to living as Ms. Karen Adell Scot. Except in one place: work. For 24 years, that's been Yosemite High School, where Scot teaches science and multimedia. She now plans to work and live as Scot 100 percent, beginning April 22, when YHS students return from spring break.
"Being transgender is not a choice," Scot wrote in a letter to Yosemite High employees earlier this week. "Consider: I have lost my marriage of 35 years to a magnificent, brilliant woman, am going to lose my house, and am spending (money) on serious and painful physical changes — including both medical and psychological services.
"I have been shunned by those who used to be my friends, have been shunned by family, have had people try to cast demons out of me, have left my church of nearly 30 years, and have been scorned and laughed at by those who had for decades said they were my friends. Who would choose that?"
In fact, Scot's efforts to avoid transitioning over the years sound like they were herculean:
For years, Scot said she participated in many traditionally masculine activities to prove to herself that she wasn't a female — to no avail.
She was once a sheriff deputy, helped found Yosemite High's Cadet Corps (a student military drill unit), played football in college and is a martial artist.
In other words, a "man's man"—acknowledging that manhood in this case was an unfulfilling performance for its performer. High school, perhaps more than anywhere else in our culture, is a bad trip of gender-based expectations and frustrations in even the best of times. Hopefully, Scot's students and the Yosemite community will use her difficult decision as an opportunity for a deeper understanding of those dynamics.