Yosemite High School teacher undergoing gender transformation

Families in the foothills are reacting to news of a high school science teacher with plans to unveil his new gender identity after spring break.
March 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Families in the foothills are reacting to news of a high school science teacher with plans to unveil his new gender identity after spring break.

When 24-year Yosemite High School science and multimedia teacher Gary Sconce returns from spring break on April 22nd -- he says he'll return as his true, authentic self: a woman by the name of Karen Adell Scot.

Karen Adell Scot: "When you aren't who you really are, it's like being smothered. It's like being rolled in a wave, if you've ever been rolled in a wave in the ocean where you can't find your way up, you don't know which direction you've been turned."

The 56-year-old husband, father and award-winning teacher told ABC30 over the phone, that when he came out to his family last April, he told them he's always felt like a woman trapped in a man's body. And since then, has been undergoing hormone replacement therapy to transition to the person he was intended to be.

Karen Adell Scot: "I was born transgender. My earliest memories were that even though my body was a little boy body, which I really didn't understand, I was a girl. I knew I was a girl."

Just in the last week the process has gone public. In a letter to the Sierra Star on March 19th, Yosemite Unified School District Superintendent James Sargent, wrote to the parents of all 650 high school students to inform them of Sconce's gender identity transformation.

In it, he quoted California education code 220, which states no person shall be subjected to discrimination including in regards to their gender, gender identity or gender expression. And said both the principal and school counselors would be on hand to answer any questions.

Yosemite Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Jim Monreal said, "Our commitment is to respect the rights, the feelings of all of our students within the campus, the parents of our students, the members of this community."

News of the gender change is causing all sorts of reaction from the community, including from some of Sconce's former students.

Natalie Choin said, "Some parents are pulling their kids out of classes and things like that and some of the staff is uncomfortable, which I don't understand because if you work with someone that long, they're not a different person, they're the same person just a different gender now."

Jeffrey Turro added, "My feeling is if they come out and bring a community engagement and bring out community kids to discuss it, maybe bring out psychologists to discuss the changes you go through and why someone goes through that, it might be easier on the community up here."

Sconce says the process has been scary and emotional, but necessary to feel fulfilled in life. He says he's currently going through a divorce with his wife. And once it's finalized, he'll legally change his name to Karen Adell Scot.


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