When students at a California high school came back to class after Spring Break, they were in for a surprise. Their science teacher, Mr. Gary Sconce, showed up as Ms. Karen Scot—in an auburn wig and flowered dress.
According to an article in NBC News, the 56-year-old grandfather taught at Yosemite High School for 24 years before recently outing his "true" female self.
“I will not return as my male persona ever again,” said Scot. “I stand in front of the class and I’m so filled with joy.”
Of course, what was a celebration for the teacher has been met with some controversy, despite the school's support.
“I see this as an assault on the minds and morals of our children,” wrote neighbour Kathi Bales in a local paper. “It blurs the lines of what is right and wrong.”
While students and parents were obviously shocked by the transition, the vast majority were accepting of Scot's move toward authenticity.
"She'll still be the same excellent teacher that she is," said the parent of a former student.
"Being transgender is not a choice," Scot wrote in a letter informing colleagues and officials of her intention to begin the medical and social transformation.
Californian law prevents discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Students were offered counselling. Scot had planned a quiet, gradual transition, but had been "outed in a horrible way.”
What do you think of Scot's decision to return to school as a woman?
Another student who braved a gender change at school.
Props to the UK Girl Guides for bringing the organization into the 21st Century. The charity announced its new "free being me" body confidence badge, to help promote a healthy body image, in conjunction with Dove's self-esteem project.
According to an article in Metro, the Guides will offer courses designed to "unmask beauty myths, expose airbrushing and challenge unhealthy body talk," after findings revealed just how poorly girls perceive themselves.
Recent surveys by the Guides suggest that one in five girls in elementary school have been on a diet, while 38 per cent of girls between 11 and 21 admitted to skipping meals in order to lose weight.
The best part of the program is that it is peers, girls between 14 and 25, who will be leading their younger Guides and Brownies—some 400,000 of them—to change their thinking through inspiring posters, videos, and T-shirts.
To get the badge, girls have to spread the good word in their schools and communities.
The new badge sits well alongside those of community action, independent living, and world issues. (Guides have come a long way since awarding badges for homemaking and milking cows!)
What do you think of the new badge? Are the Guides still relevant today?
Forget prom and homecoming. Purity balls are a special celebration sweeping across most of the U.S. and almost 20 other countries, in which girls symbolically offer up their virginity for safeguarding by their fathers.
According to an article in Parentdish, the ceremonies typically involve girls as young as seven in white gowns pledging to hold off on having sex until marriage.
As a symbolic gesture, the dads present their daughters with "purity rings" during the balls, which conclude with a father-daughter dance. A far cry from how this teen planned to lose his virginity.
Apparently, the ceremonies have their origins in the 1980s. A documentary on the subject depicts a pastor telling one of the girls, "So you keep this [ring] on your finger and from this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend."
Err, what? Abstinence is clearly still synonymous with morality in some religious communities. And in many traditional weddings, fathers still "give away" their daughters.
So, is this phenomenon super creepy, verging on incestuous, or simply part of an ongoing religious custom? Does the purity movement, by extension, imply that sex is a 'dirty' deed?