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ifteen-year-old Alex McClendon was the classic new kid in town, When the lanky 5-ft. 5-in. freshman sashayed into Georgian CountryDay School in Carrollton, Ga., heads turned to gaze at her blond coif and perfectly made up face. Beyond the look, the popular Alex had a flair for style. Nothing could come between her and the Calvins that were her daily uniform.  Nothing except the board of trustees at her private school, who "invited" Alex to withdraw.
It wasn't just her pierced tongue that rankled, but something she had taken greater pains to conceal: the fact that she is technically and biologically a he.
He was born Matthew McClendon, and "Alex" is just a preferred middle name, like the preferred female persona he has worn for the past two years.
After an initial double take, Alex's peers didn't pay much heed to their cross-dressing classmate. But Alex

engendered quite an outcry from others in his conservative rural community. Parents of kids in younger grades complained that Alex was negatively influencing their children. After a closed-door session, the school demanded that Alex either start dressing like a boy or leave.
Alex, who says he is not gay but "95% girl," chose to leave.  Dozens of classmates -- biological boys included  argued that the school was violating Alex's rights and donned hair bows in solidarity.  But the protest was little comfort for the teen. "It really took a lot of guts for me to be confident enough to be who I am, and then this happens," he says.  Alex, whose future
plans include home schooling and a sex-change operation, says he originally went to private school to get a better education. This wasn't the lesson he expected.

SOURCE: TIME Magazine, Nov 9, 1998


ritish Education Secretary David Blunkett will send guidelines to the nation's teachers and school administrators telling them it is their duty to stamp out anti-gay bullying.
Surveys have found that victimisation based on sexual orientation occurs in 80 percent of British schools.
One British daily said the new rules mean "that those who abuse classmates with terms such as 'poof,' 'queer' and 'lezzie,' or resort to physical attacks, can expect to be disciplined."
Margaret Morrissey of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher

Associations is not impressed with the move, however. "I defy the government to stop children calling each other names and we need to be very careful that a lot of time and money isn't wasted trying to do the impossible," Morrissey said. "When I was a girl we used to be told 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me' and told to get on with it. That's what we did. I think we're becoming softies nowadays."

Oct 26, 1998 (c) Rex Wockner

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