A family has been forced to relocate after their local community outed their eight-year-old daughter as trans.
Kelsey Waits from Hastings, Minnesota, was running for re-election for chair of the school board when a resident outed her daughter as trans on Facebook and accused her of child abuse.
Waits told CNN that her daughter was outed after the election for the school board grew strained, explaining that the COVID-19 pandemic amped up the pressure.
“I probably got about the same number of emails from parents saying ‘my child is not going to school if masks are required’ as ‘my child is not going to school if masks aren’t required,’” she told CNN.
“This community was very split and there were very strong feelings on both sides.”
Several residents organised against mask mandates in a Facebook group called Concerned Parents of Hastings. It was in the group that one parent posted a long complaint about Waits, eventually involving her child.
“She should be locked up for child abuse… Her younger ‘daughter’ is actually a boy,” the parent wrote.
Waits’ eight-year-old daughter, Kit, had been living as a girl since she was very young, but the family were not open with others about her being trans in order to protect her.
She explained to CNN: “This was my most precious secret. The thing I protected most and the thing I was most afraid of ever being used in a political way because for me, this isn’t political. This is my family, this is my child.”
Waits lost her bid for re-election to the school board, however she said the abuse and harassment did not stop, and the family chose to relocate from their home.
“That’s where we’re at right now. There are people that we know that are not safe for our kids in our neighbourhood,” Waits’ husband Chris added. “We can’t trust our kids alone at the bus stop waiting for the bus, not because of the kids necessarily, but because of the parents.”
My official response regarding the recent article from CNN. pic.twitter.com/pBkMBUYPyL
— Kelsey Waits (@KelseyWaitsMN) November 28, 2021
Waits said in a statement on her website: “Our child has begun to be misgendered by other children, they are experiencing increased fear and anxiety, my husband’s workplace has been impacted, and our family has been targeted with sustained harassment in a community we used to call home.
“Our sadness at the loss of our privacy does not mean that we will sacrifice control of our family’s story. We made the decision to go public with what’s happened to us in Hastings because we’re tired of others in our community misrepresenting our family and using private information about our child in their political attacks against me.
“Our hope now is that, by taking control of our story, we can humanise the kids and families who are hurt when adults use trans children as political pawns, and give hope and support to other families who aren’t able to fight back.”
The news comes as it was reported that LGBT+ kids in the US are “120 times more likely to be homeless”, due to intolerant families.
According to the National Centre for Transgender Equality, one in five trans people will experience homelessness at least once in their lifetime.
Julie Seaver, executive director of the Compass Community Center, said: “Our trans people are the most marginalised, the most discriminated against. They have the highest chance of being victimised, whether it be through employment, housing, and unfortunately, murder and death.’