Tru Wilson has many of the typical interests of girls her age: she is inspired by confident pop stars like Katy Perry and envisions being either a singer or a fashion designer when she is older. Yet at eleven years of age, she already speaks like a seasoned activist. Tru is part of the vanguard of a transgender youth movement whose participants are standing up for their rights in schools all over North America.
Tru and her family filed a human rights complaint against the Independent Catholic School Board of Vancouver after her former school refused to accommodate her request to be treated as a girl. She also moved to the public school system.
Subsequently, in July 2014, the Catholic School Board updated its policy, stating that students and their families can formally request to be accommodated. A case management team consisting of doctors, teachers and a pastor will come up with a plan for each student. This could include using a student’s chosen name, gender pronoun, and uniform. Students could be permitted to use the washroom that matches their gender identity or be given access to a private washroom. This was a first for any Catholic school board in North America.
This precedent-setting change in policy has left Tru deeply satisfied. She says: “It’s going to make a big difference because when another kid goes to school and says that they are transgender, they’ll get the love and support that I didn’t have … and they won’t have to go through the rough times that I went through when I was in that position. That makes me really happy.”
And Tru also has some words of wisdom for those kids. “Don’t pay attention to the people who think that you’re weird,” she says. “Pay attention to the people who actually accept you. Just stick up for yourself … Believe in yourself and you can do incredible things.”
Tru already has.