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Episcopal School Welcomes Transgender Student

Thomas McLaughlin
Headmaster Thomas McLaughlin

With the news that a student will begin transitioning, the San Antonio school renews its commitment to inclusion.

It's a reminder that "Christian" doesn't have to mean "anti-LGBT": A Texas school affiliated with the Episcopal Church has issued a message of support for a transgender student.

A longtime student at St. Luke's Episcopal School in San Antonio will begin presenting as female after the holidays, and school administrators have taken the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to diversity and equality, reports local TV station KSAT.

The school's board of trustees met in November to reaffirm that policy, headmaster Thomas McLaughlin and board chair Peggy Pace said in a letter sent out to parents before Thanksgiving. The policy, adopted in 2011, states, "St. Luke's welcomes diversity and respects differences in ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds; the languages we speak; our sexes, genders, and ages; the traditions we observes; the structures of our families; our financial and educational resources; and the special needs and gifts that we have. Welcoming people with diverse points of view and being sensitive to the interests and traditions of others emulates Christ-like principles of living and enhances the quality of the entire St. Luke's experience."

The letter also notes, "As some of you may already know, we have a transgender student in our community. In light of the trustees' renewed commitment to inclusion, the administration will be working with the family on accommodations for the student over the next several weeks and we will keep you appropriately informed."

Making accommodations will not be difficult, Pace told KSAT, as the school already has single-stall restrooms throughout campus and private changing rooms for physical education classes.

Of the 241 families with children at the school, which offers classes from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, only three have removed their children in protest, McLaughlin told the station. "There have been some, based on this communication and the direction that the school is moving, that have concluded that this school may not be the right fit for them and their family," he said.

But inclusiveness is an Episcopal tradition and value, McLaughlin said. "As a 68-year-old Episcopalian school, we're standing in the company of Episcopal schools from around the world," he said.

The Episcopal Church has an official policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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