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Gender non-conforming family called “Satanic” after being outed by school

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A parent from North Carolina, who is raising their 6-year-old children in a gender non-conforming environment, had their kids outed to the world when they enrolled them in a charter school. They’re now speaking out about what happened to them.

Mortellus, a parent of two twins, who are referred to as “Sun” and “Moon” to protect their identities, told Buzzfeed, “As a pagan household, and I myself a trans nonbinary person, my children have had the ability to grow up in a home where there just isn’t that idea of being restricted by binary.”

“Of course, it’s in the media, and they get a passing sense of it, but there is no pressure to conform. The twins are AFAB/AMAB (‘girl,’ ‘boy’), and Moon (not their real name) has been identifying as a ‘girl them’ for a bit, and pretty recently, Sun (not their real name) has identified as ‘she/her.’”

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The parents had toured a new charter school for their children and had asked the faculty about whether there were gender-neutral bathrooms. The faculty said that classrooms each had single-stall restrooms for the kids but that there weren’t yet gender-neutral family bathrooms.

“They both love all kinds of things in terms of play, clothing, and so on, so I wouldn’t say liking nail polish and playing dress up in whatever is relating to gender per se since they don’t have that binary understanding that most children are exposed to from an early age,” said Mortellus.

“While I don’t know what these terms and expressions might mean to them at this stage of development, I support whatever feels right to them.”

The interaction left Mortellus satisfied, but the kids’ gender identities were leaked to a parent. According to WSPA, a now-deleted petition circulated through the community, including on Facebook, demanding an end to the gender-neutral bathroom and the use of “pronouns.” An anonymous faculty member spoke out and complained about being “forced” to use the kids’ pronouns and opposed the construction of gender-neutral bathrooms.

This petition led to a board meeting where other parents complained, with one calling gender-neutral bathrooms a “safety issue,” another saying it’ll “confuse” kids, and another one referring to the family as having “satanic ideas.” Only one parent spoke out in support of the family.

“I felt nauseous. I felt sad. I battled with myself over what the right reaction was… but I settled on anger. They’d all put my children in danger, and the school had done nothing to make us aware,” Mortellus said.

Mortellus is now speaking out after being painted as a villain. They describe their interactions with staff as being without conflict and only casually broaching the topic of LGBTQ+ issues.

“There has been an assumption that I walked in the doors of the school like a cartoon villain shouting HERE ARE MY DEMANDS — but that’s not true at all.”

“I toured the school, chatting casually with staff and hoping to ensure that my children would get a good education and be afforded nothing more than what school policies already allowed and the same amount of support and protection that other children at the school enjoy.”

Mortellus explained how Christianity factors in, that many of the parents who criticized them having views rooted in religion. “Were the tables turned, what would you want for your family? You would, of course, want to live alongside my children, protected by the law, yet not restrained in your expression of faith.”

They also responded to claims that their kids are “too young” to explore their gender.

“In terms of simple child development, we know that children have a pretty strong idea of gender identity as early as three.”

“Society doesn’t really make a fuss about heteronormative binaries being ‘understood’ by children — because that fits within the hegemony — but when it is an outsider group like my pagan family with a different idea of morality, ethics, and the world generally, suddenly that understanding is villainized.”

Mortellus described the types of people their kids are and what they’re interested in – Sun’s a math whiz, and Moon wants to be an astronaut.

“The most joyful thing in the world to me is looking at either of those kids and just knowing that they’re living their best life and getting to explore who they are. So few people get that opportunity, and I’m so happy that they get to have it.”

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