Over spring break, a 56-year-old male teacher at Yosemite High School named Gary Sconce will complete his odyssey of surgical and hormone-generated transition to become Karen Adell Scot.
The transgender teacher had been married and he is a father, reports The Fresno Bee. He has been a teacher for 30 years.
The Bee, which is already calling Sconce by his new surname, interviewed the science and multimedia teacher for the festive occasion.
He said he told his family last April that he has felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body ever since he was a little kid. Since April, he has undergone extensive hormone replacement therapy.
“It’s like getting out of dark solitary confinement in prison where you never saw the light,” Sconce told the Bee. “You can’t believe that you actually are free.”
He called his condition gender dysphoria.
“People say it’s like a mental illness but it’s not,” he added. “It’s being your authentic self after being a fake you.”
School district superintendent James Sargent has already notified parents about the impending change. In a letter dated March 19, he indicated that Sconce will be called “Ms. Karen Adell Scot” beginning on April 22.
Sargent also noted that California’s education code (specifically Section 220) prevents discrimination related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Sconce said he has no plans to change his teaching style after spring break. He told the Bee he plans to “run a conservative and disciplined class.”
In a letter to colleagues at Yosemite High, Sconce declared that “being transgender is not a choice,” and noted that he is undergoing “serious and painful physical changes.”
“Consider: I have lost my marriage of 35 years to a magnificent, brilliant woman, am going to lose my house.”
It’s not clear why he is losing the house.
“I have been shunned by those who used to be my friends, have been shunned by family, have had people try to cast demons out of me, have left my church of nearly 30 years, and have been scorned and laughed at by those who had for decades said they were my friends,” he also wrote. “Who would choose that?”
As the Bee notes, Sconce is a martial artist with an impressively virile past. He used to be a sheriff’s deputy. In college, he was a football player. He was also among the founders of a quasi-military student group called Cadet Corps.
Sconce is also a celebrated teacher. He has won numerous teaching awards including California Distinguished Educator and an Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Sconce said he chose the name Karen Adell Scot because his mother would have named him “Karen Adell” had he come out of the womb as a female, and because so many people mistake Sconce for “Scot,” anyway.
Yosemite High School is located in central California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, about 14 miles south of an entrance to Yosemite National Park.