Melisa has been a teacher for the past 22 years. She teaches 12 different classes in different public schools around the city, with students from second to fifth grade.
Her students have always known her as José; now she is Melisa. Thin, very tall and with dazzling finger nails, she is proud of the acceptance she got from her daughters (aged 21 and 16) and the rest of her family.
But that was only the beginning of the process. What would the parents of her students say?
Enrique Samar, principle at one of the schools Melisa teaches at, said that the majority have accepted the decision. Only one mother resisted.
Haydeé Torinchik, a family psychologist, says that the school erred by leaving communication with the children essentially up to the parents. “You have to work from their heads, find out what they know and what they imagine, and answer questions in an adult way based on that,” Torinchik said. “Melisa is not hurting anyone, she is saying the truth, and the truth is respect.”