A Massachusetts principal came out as transgender on Tuesday in an impassioned letter to the Stanley Elementary School community, located about 15 miles north of Boston.
In the letter obtained by the Boston Globe, Principal Shannon Daniels reveals to parents and faculty that she's struggled with her gender identity for decades.
"I did my best to suppress those feelings for over 40 years, and while I was successful to a degree, I never felt completely happy or at peace," she begins. "I got to the point that I thought I would never be able to reveal my true self. Frankly, the prospect of doing so was terrifying.
"That has changed."
Daniels informs parents about forthcoming changes in her appearance. "As I nurture my identity, I will most likely be presenting myself differently. While my decision is intensely personal, I realize I play a public role in the community. I know there will be questions, and I am aware of the likelihood that my transition won’t necessarily be easy for everyone."
While her students should still call her Principal Daniels, she will be going by her middle name, Shannon, and she'll answer to "he," "she," and "they."
"An Irish name meaning 'wise river,' it is used by both males and females, perfectly denoting my fluid gender identity."
Daniels also included talking points parents could use when discussing the change with students:
"There are many different ways boys and girls express themselbes. It is important that we accept everyone as they are.
Principal Daniels may look and sound different, but inside Principal Daniels is the same caring person.
This doesn't change the fact that Stanley School is a great place to be and learn."
The district's superindentenat promptly sent out a follow up letter, showing her overwhelming support of Daniels' profound life change. "I applaud Principal Daniels and admire the courage, honesty, and transparency that comes through in the letter you received."
Daniels is excited for this new chapter of her life, where she'll be able to be who she truly is. "I sincerely believe that the ability to live my life openly and authentically gives me great serenity and will make me a more sensitive, empathetic, and effective leader. I feel tremendous gratitude for being part of the Stanley family."