(EDGE) A Swampscott, Mass. elementary school principal has come out with the surprising news that she is transgender, reports New England New Channel.
The principal, Shannon Daniels, sent out a letter on Swampscott Public Schools stationery to make her announcement. The letter, dated Feb. 6, testified to Daniels' decades-long struggle with gender identity before stating: "I can now say it: I am transgender."
Daniels went on to indicate that by "transgender," she doesn't simply mean she's a woman who has lived her life in the body of a man. It's more nuanced than that. As Daniels' letter explained, "For me, [transgender] means I identify as both a male and female," and though she let it be known that she's comfortable being referred to as both "he" and "she," as well as "they," she plans to present and identify "as female" from now on.
Daniels seemed to anticipate pushback, going on to write, "I know there will be questions, and I am aware of the likelihood that my transition won't necessarily be easy for everyone. I will do everything in my power to ensure that there is no negative impact on our school community."
The response thus far has been supportive, with Superintendent Pamela Angelakis sending out a missive of her own to parents in which she wrote, "I hope you will join me and the entire district leadership team in offering Principal Daniels our acceptance, understanding and support," the Boston Globe reported.
Various media sources referenced MassEquality.org in reporting that Swampscott has had a trans-inclusive non-discrimination policy in place for three years.
Daniels spoke at more length with local CBS affiliate WBZ-TV, saying, "I really feel most comfortable presenting myself in a female way," and going on to clarify that, "I feel really like calm, and sort of peaceful and really kind and sensitive."
Parents took the news in stride and seemed unworried that it would confuse or upset the school's students. "I just explained Principal Daniels looks like a boy but inside feels like a girl," one mother told the station.
Multiple media sources reported that Daniels - who plans to go by her gender-neutral middle name, Shannon - and her wife of 29 years have no intention of separating. To the contrary, "I feel closer to my wife now," she said.
Daniels and her wife are the parents of three children, ages 16-23.