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A Little Girl Wrote About Being Kind to Trans People. It's Taken a Toll on Her.

trans essay.jpg
Sharon McCutcheon
At the center of the story are questions of what a 10-year-old can or should say in school. The case could be on its way to the Supreme Court.

As a fourth-grader, Rumeur wrote about how to treat transgender people. Her school argued that writing about transgender issues was not age-appropriate.

So far, two courts have agreed.

Now 12, Rumeur is still trying to figure out what message to take from her experience.

Before we say anything else about Rumeur, know that this is a story that she wanted to tell. Know that her parents support her. And know that the story of her essay, the legal cases it has led to, and the mention of Rumeur's name have already appeared in other published stories.

Know also that we're not going to use her last name, nor her mother's, nor are there any photos of the family, because despite the attention her story has gotten, Rumeur is still a child — albeit one who has gotten a lot of adults angry.

The thing is, two years after writing her essay (as part of a school project in Spartanburg), she still can't quite figure out what about her essay has made so many people so upset; nor why it cost her the friends she had up until the day she wrote it.

What follows is a coming-of-age story, about a little girl who spoke her mind and met the world at large because of it. It's also the story of some legal wrangling that could be on its way to the Supreme Court; and a story about what is considered appropriate to talk about among preteen schoolchildren.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.