KATY, Texas — A childcare center manager in Texas says that she was recently fired for refusing to refer to a little girl as a boy at the parents’ request.
Madeline Kirksey, a Christian, served as manager of Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center in Katy until late last month when she and another worker were terminated over the situation.
According to reports, the parents of the six-year-old girl had asked the center to begin referring to the girl as a boy and provided the new boy’s name that they were to use. The parents had also cut the child’s hair short so that she looked more like a boy.
While administrators at the center, an educational childcare facility for ages six through twelve, did not have an issue with the parents’ request, Kirksey did not feel comfortable with following through with it. She suggested that the other parents be informed, and expressed concern about speaking to the other children at the center about transgender matters.
Kirksey said that she thought the little girl herself was confused about her gender.
“One day, she wanted to be a girl [and] the next day she wanted to be a boy,” she told Fox26 News in Houston. “The other kids are confused as well, calling her a boy and she would start screaming, ‘I’m not a boy!’”
Kirksey soon received a letter advising that her employment was being terminated. It stated that “[w]hen requested by parent and management to call a transgender child by the child’s new name, Madeline does not follow instructions.” The letter also said that she also failed to tell another worker to leave the game room.
The center had distributed guidelines to workers to explain how they were to “handle transgender students.”
“The transgender student will tell you how best to handle themselves. Let them tell you what they want, and accommodate their desire for most appropriate pronouns, grouping (boy/girl), etc.,” the guidelines read in part. “If gendered bathroom and locker room usage is problematic, establish neutral facilities, available to all if possible, that the transgender student can safely use. But allow the transgender student to affiliate according to their own wishes, never by force.”
Another worker at the center told reporters that she was likewise fired for expressing her concerns about the matter.
Both the parents and the center have refused to comment on the matter to the media.