12-year-old Maddison (Maddie) Kleeman Rose had her story go viral earlier this summer. Upon using the girl’s bathroom on the first day of school, a group of parents took to Facebook to threaten the young trans girl.
The parents of her classmates used violent and transphobic rhetoric, which included encouraging others to physically harm Maddie.
The Vice interview
In an interview with Vice News Tonight on HBO, Maddie herself spoke about the experience for the first time.
When the family moved from Texas to Oklahoma three years ago, people didn’t know Maddie was trans. This changed in 5th grade when a teacher reviewed her old records.
Officials at the school introduced Maddie to the staff bathroom, which she was allowed to use. But this year, the start of 7th grade in a different building, Maddie didn’t know where the staff bathroom was. So she went to the girl’s room.
Trouble started this past April, even before the bathroom incident. Maddie and her father, Cory, went to the annual father-daughter dance together. The father of another student didn’t like this, and asked if Maddie was a boy.
‘I don’t care for it. I think it’s all stupid,’ Maddie replied when asked what she thinks of what’s been happening.
‘Who would do that to a 12-year-old?’
‘Everyone’s different,’ Maddie said. ‘No one’s the same. We’re all different and unique and special in our own way.’
When asked if she thinks kids understand being trans better than adults, Maddie replied:
‘Adults, some of those adults out there, they do get it, but they don’t support it. And that’s their choice. They can be hateful and rude about it, but they ain’t dragging me down.’
The Vice reporter took to the streets of Achille to hear where the community, including the school’s officials, stand. Considering the police told the Vice crew they’re not ‘welcome’ in the small town, and Maddie didn’t even come up in the first school board meeting since the incident, it’s clear the town isn’t ready to understand trans issues.
Surprisingly, the mayor of Achille is openly gay.
While the mayor urged people not to hold all of Achille responsible for the actions of a few residents, this simply isn’t enough.
‘The day of running someone out of town is gone,’ Mayor David Northcutt told Vice.
‘But she’s leaving town now,’ the Vice reporter retorted.
In the near future, the Rose family will be relocating to Houston, Texas to be near family.