Local transgender student speaks on how presidential order impacts kids like her

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BOULDER, Colo. — Shannon Axe went to a school district in Colorado that did not allow her to use the restroom she identified with. She now lives in the Boulder Valley School District, which does.

She and her mother said President Barack Obama’s order will actually help save lives of these children.

“We just have to let people be proud of who they are and live their lives they want to live,” said Axe, 16.

Axe and her mother say she identified as a girl at age 3.

“Just by coming out for the first time, I actually felt what true happiness was by just being myself,” Axe said.

“This president’s order can keep children alive,” said Karen Axe, Shannon’s mother.

In fact, more than half of transgender kids like Shannon Axe will attempt suicide at least once before their 20th birthday.

“It impacted her emotionally, it impacted her academically, impacted her health, everything,” Karen Axe said.

“I am able to share the story and help educate people and help people understand that we are just human beings wanting to live our life like any other human being,” Shannon Axe said.

Mom and daughter say the president’s order will help fight prejudice and discrimination.

“Transgender children look different in the home we have different experiences as parents and people make judgments on us based on what they know of their experience with children,” Karen Axe said.

Colorado passed an anti-transgender discrimination law in 2008 that includes all school districts.

“Kids and I personally get to be proud of who I am and get to use the bathroom I want to use and not have other people saying ‘I can’t do this, you can’t do this’ because of what they believe in,” Shannon Axe said. “I should be able to be who I am.”

“I’ve see it over and over and over: Acceptance takes kids, suicidal kids and allows them to thrive,” Karen Axe said.

Besides Boulder Valley Schools, where Shannon goes to school, Denver, Cherry Creek and Jefferson County schools said they are in compliance with Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

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