BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. - Staff members within the Central Bucks School District are helping the district become more inclusive of transgender students.
Daniel Mautz, 16, says since elementary school things have been rough.
"I'm transgender male and bisexual," he said. "I remember coming home crying to my sister about how someone was telling me I was too manly or crying saying all I wanted to do was be a boy," he said.
Some educators in the Central Bucks School District will now be attending a "transgender inclusion training".
Daniel says he hopes things will get easier.
"Just knowing that wherever they are, no matter what classroom they're in, that they're going to be supported," he said.
In May, the Central Bucks School Board voted against sending Linden Elementary School Counselor, Dr. Steph Graziosi-Hibbs, to a conference about transgender inclusion training. At the following board meeting, officials reversed the decision and approved her to take the $1,000 course.
"This program offers 24 hours of in-depth training and the participants will learn (inaudible) about supporting needs of individual needs as well as consider how to make their schools a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all students," Graziosi-Hibbs said.
Parent Emily Lieberman and other moms heard about the initial issue with financing and started a GoFundMe.
"When I saw it was the counselor at my kids' elementary school, I was like well I take this kind of personally. I want the counselor at my kids' school to go to this training," Lieberman said.
The community donated more than $5,000 to fund conference expenses. Once the school district decided to pay for Graziosi, the community used the funds to send five more staff members.
The training is part of Widener University's "Affirming Schools for Transgender Students" program.
"I think it's really important to stand up for other people because you don't know when it's going to be your turn and you need somebody to stand up for you," said Lieberman.
Fourteen-year-old Lily Freeman says she identifies as a female of trans experience. She's encouraged by staff who want to attend the training.
"No matter what gender or sexual orientation, I want them to feel like they belong and I feel like when teachers understand, they are able to create that environment," she said.
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