BY LISA LEFF
SAN FRANCISCO -- Isaac Barnett took a bold step last year: He told teachers and classmates at his Kansas high school that the student they had known as a girl now wanted to be accepted as a boy.
His close childhood friend, who also identified as transgender, was ready to reveal his secret, too.
With the administration's blessing, a segment featuring the two friends talking about their transitions aired in the school's classrooms, alongside a basketball team promotion and a feature on the importance of the arts.
"I didn't get any questions or hate or put-downs or anything like that," said Barnett, now 18, adding that they called him Isaac immediately — a drama-free coming-out that would have been extraordinary in schools a decade ago.
With children rejecting the birth gender at younger ages and the transgender rights movement gaining momentum, schools in districts large and small, conservative and liberal, are working to help transitioning youth fit in without a fuss.
California this year became the first state with a law spelling out the transgender student rights in public schools, including the ability to use restrooms and to play on sports teams that match their expressed genders.
Another 13 states prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in schools. Dozens of districts, from Salt Lake City and Kansas City to Knoxville, Tennessee, and Decatur, Georgia, have adopted similar protections.