SchoolAfter battling with a New Jersey school district, a transgender girl in New Jersey will finally be able to attend the middle school as herself.

School officials from Middletown Township Public Schools told Rachel Pepe, a 13-year-old transgender girl, that she would only be able to attend school if she appeared and acted like a boy.

After working with several LGBT groups, including Garden State Equality (GSE), Thorne Middle School will allow Pepe to attend the school of her choice as her true self.

According to a press release, GSE will work with the school district to provide LGBT sensitivity training to the administration and staff. Other groups, including Lambda Legal and the GLSEN Central New Jersey chapter will join as well.

GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen said in a statement, “We applaud Superintendent George for taking the right steps to affirm the health and safety of students. This is a victory for transgender students everywhere. This Middletown student and students like her are heroes for standing up for their needs. We’re excited that the community came together in dialogue to bring this situation to a happy resolution.”

For more information on coming out as transgender or supporting those coming out as transgender see HRC’s Transgender Visibility guide. You can also find additional transgender-specific workplace, healthcare and family resources at

Over the last decade or so, new conversations around gender have been emerging. Increased visibility of children and youth whose gender identities and expressions challenge conventional understandings is teaching us that gender is not as simple as what the doctor declares at birth. Read more about gender identity in HRC’s Gender Expansive Report here

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