Elementary School Principal Praised After Coming Out As Transgender

In a heartfelt letter, Shannon Daniels opens up about her journey to authenticity.

A Massachusetts elementary school principal says she is “at peace” after coming out to students, parents and faculty as transgender. 

Shannon Daniels opened up about her gender identity to her community at Swampscott’s Stanley Elementary School in a Feb. 6 letter, USA Today reported

“After confronting a series of challenges last fall, I let myself imagine the possibility of being completely honest with myself and those around me,” Daniels’ letter, which can be viewed in full here, read. “I can now say it: I am transgender. For me, that means I identify as both a male and female, and I plan to move toward presenting myself and identifying as female.”

Calling the decision “intensely personal,” she added, “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.”

Prior to making the announcement, Daniels sought advice from Asa Sevelius, principal of Heath School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, who came out as transgender last year. 

Sevelius’s advice? “Stay awesome at your job. At the end of the day, the school community just wants you to show up and do your best for your students and teachers,” he said, according to the Boston Herald. “If you can do that, it’ll help people come along on your journey with you.”

Daniels said she will use her middle name, Shannon, as her first name because “it is used by both males and females, perfectly denoting my fluid gender identity.” Students, she said, should continue to refer to her as Principal Daniels, but the pronouns “she,” “he,” and “they” are all acceptable to use.

Though The Salem News pointed out that Daniels’ announcement was met with some pushback on social media, she has instead decided to focus on the support she’s received. One of her biggest advocates, she said, has been Swampscott Superintendent Pamela Angelakis, who praised her “courage, honesty and transparency” in a public letter



Transgender Military Photo Series by Jeff Sheng