Photo of transgendered person sparks controversy

Photo of transgendered person sparks controversy »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- In March, a parent complaint about a photo of a transgendered person prompted officials at a Eugene school to take down a photo display about diversity and now the halls at the school are set to play host to the pictures and artwork once again.

The diversity display was up in Meadowlark-Buena Vista Elementary School for three days in March. The gallery of photos features mixed-race members of the community.

Some parents had issues with this photo of a transgendered female.

"Our kids are going to come across this in the community and they're going to ask questions, but we'd like to be the ones to discuss it with them at an age appropriate time," said parent Lisa Corbett.

Principal BJ Blake said the exhibit is about cultural diversity, not gender identity.

She said it was a mistake to put the photos up without telling parents. That's why she took it down when one complained.

"I was naïve," Blake said, "but I did not at all believe there were any issues  because I was seeing it from the lens: this is going to be good for our children."

Blake said the photos, now on display at Pacific University, are coming back.

"We don't always have to know everything about somebody or even understand them but we do need to respect them," Blake said. "That's why I'm keeping the picture in it."

Some parents say the controversy is overshadowing the exhibit's intentions.

"It seems like it's breeding intolerance and fear and discrimination and children are picking up on this regardless on whether they see it or not," said parent Amanda Bowden-Gil.

Blake did not know exactly when the pictures would be back, but said it would be before the end of the school year.

Each photo has a caption written by the person in the photo about the racial and cultural issues they've faced. The captions will be changed to be more age appropriate.