They claimed that allowing the child to be transgender constituted discrimination against them for their Christian beliefs – and as a result, took both of their sons out of the school to educate them at home on the Isle of Wight.
Reaction to them from the general public was swift and clear. People took to social media in droves to express how horrific they thought the couple’s views were.
But the interview really hit home for Mienna Jones from Hertfordshire – the proud mum of Dexter, a six-year-old transgender boy.
She told Metro.co.uk that although Dexter’s school and classmates have all been open and accepting, the issue with the Rowes was evidence that there is still a lot of work to be done.
‘Dexter’s school and classmates have all been absolutely amazing,’ she said. ‘The school has been incredibly supportive of Dexter, and the main thing for them is to protect his mental health. The most important thing for them is that Dexter is happy. The school – I can’t fault them.’
Mienna said Dexter was around two-and-a-half years old when she first started he was changing in noticeable ways – although she says she didn’t think he was ‘transgender’, because he couldn’t communicate that to her himself.
‘About two-and-a-half, that’s when I noticed that things were changing,’ she explained. ‘But I didn’t think, “he’s transgender”. I just thought he liked boy’s thing’s and boy’s clothes because they’re more comfortable. But by the age of four-and-a-half, I was sure that transgender was what he was.’
Sure that the changes were significant, Mienna took him to the Tavistock Centre to get a medical opinion.
‘Even at Tavistock, they didn’t say he was transgender, they said he had gender identity dysphoria. I wouldn’t be able to say on Dexter’s behalf that he is transgender.’
It was only when he was a bit older – around four-and-a-half – that he told his mum he was a boy, and that he wanted to be known as Dexter.
Fortunately, Dexter’s transgender identity has been greeted with ‘nothing but love and support’ from his school, his family and his friends – for whom it simply makes sense.
Mienna said: ‘It made sense to the kids because Dexter only ever had male friends and wore male clothes. For example, the school sometimes had a thing where it would tell the children to form two lines – one for boys and one for girls. Dexter would always go to the boys’ line. He would also refuse to use the girls’ toilets at school. He very much looked like a boy too, he’s always liked having short hair for example.’
Because of this, Dexter’s classmates were unfazed when they were told that he was no longer to be known by his birth name Callie, and that he was now Dexter.
‘When the teachers eventually addressed the school and said “Look, Callie’s a boy now”, one of the kids just replied: “Well we knew that – can we carry on playing now?”’ She said.
‘People may very well like to think what they like, but they have been great about it to us. Dexter’s a very likeable child anyway. Fortunately, he doesn’t come home and say “so and so said this to me”.
‘Children don’t question how you are. They like you or they don’t like you – it’s as simple as that.
‘Obviously not everyone will like him, but then if so, that’s down to his personality, not because he’s transgender.’
But things are evidently quite different for the transgender classmate of the Rowes’ son. Mienna is concerned that that child, through no fault of their own, has now been thrust into the limelight in a very public dispute.
‘I think it’s sad for this little child in the Isle of Wight, because they have been outed now,’ she said. ‘It breaks my heart. They [the Rowes] can’t comprehend how difficult life is already for that small child.
‘They are using religion as an excuse, in my opinion, to say “this goes against my Christian values”. But that’s not what Christianity is about – Christianity isn’t about excluding anybody.‘When I saw the TV interview with the Rowes, I felt sad and shocked that they are still that ignorant, and I felt really sad for their children, because – I believe – their parents are hiding behind the barrier of religion to spread ignorance.
‘I was shocked by their lack of acceptance. They, as adults, don’t really know what they’re talking about.
‘They have not thought about that child. They have not thought about that child, and how wonderful that child would have felt finally going to school in a dress. It is so difficult – you don’t choose to be transgender. You just are.