High school students return after weekend to find male teacher now living as a woman
Amanda Swager

Amanda Swager

The following comes from a March 27 Lifesite News article by Kirsten Anderson:

Southern California’s Chino High School is facing outrage from parents and students alike after school administrators decided to keep secret a teacher’s plan to undergo a sex change in the middle of the school year.

The teacher in question, 32-year-old Michael Swager, showed up at work dressed and made up as a woman the morning of March 16, after eight years of teaching chemistry at the school as a man. The teacher informed students that the 6’6”, 300 lb. man they once knew as “Michael” was now a woman, and told them they should call him “Amanda.”

School administrators had known for two years that Swager was planning to make the transition from male to female, but chose not to warn students or parents ahead of time.

“Chino High School is aware of the teacher’s decision,” the school said in a statement. “It is a personal and private matter for the teacher.”

Swager’s case is complicated in that the teacher was raised as a boy after being born with ambiguous genitalia, as well as a condition called Kallmann Syndrome, which blocks sufferers from going through puberty without chemical assistance.

Because genetic testing was not widely available in the early 1980s, Swager’s parents were forced to choose for themselves whether to raise their child as a boy or a girl. In the end, they decided the baby was a boy, and named him Michael, giving him hormone injections in his early teens to simulate male puberty.

All the while, however, Swager felt as if “he” was really a “she.” In high school and college, Swager avoided the hormone treatments and began dressing as a female. Later genetic testing would reveal that Swager did indeed possess two X chromosomes, not the X and Y combination that makes someone genetically male.


  1. This really is a sad case, but the school should have warned the parents to prepare them and their children. This is not a real “sex change” operation but corrective surgery. It would have kept this situation far more private for the teacher also as now everyone knows about it from others having been shocked by the sudden change. It even might have been better for all if this teacher had been quietly transferred to another school in the surrounding area when the total change was made if the teacher really wanted more privacy.

    • Tom Byrne says:

      I am a 35-year veteran teacher and I agree. This is too much for kids to take in. Give the person an honorable transfer. And why didn’t the teacher have enough sense and genuine compassion for her students to ask for one?

    • AnneT, the school warning the students and parents would have violated Swager’s medical privacy under HIPPA. Swager would need to give her permission.

      I am a co-founder of a health care IT firm, and I know this area of law inside and out. HIPPA violations create serious liability. While more than 10% of electronic health records (required for all medical providers under the 2009 stimulus package) have already been breached, the Obama justice department has largely ignored punishing these HIPPA violations for some reason (likely because the Obama administration doesn’t want to make Obamacare implemetation look even worse).

      While certainly it would have been better for all involved had Swager planned her appearance at school in a more organized manner, the school was in a bind after she simply appeared at work.

      Punishing her for this action would seem like “piling on” to someone dealing with a clearly difficult situation. Dismissing her from work might open up a sex discrimination suit among other legal alternatives.

      • Anne T. says:

        Jon J., please read my reply underneath Bob’s post on March 31 at 6:24 a.m. He and I already went over what you have discussed in this later post. It does seem the law needs to be changed so that students and parents are not faced with situations such as this and the teacher involved is left with his or her privacy, especially in other cases when the surgery is not of a corrective nature but just done to try — I said try — to change completely ones sex. I said try because no one can change their DNA, It is my belief and many others, including the John Hopkins Hospital that used to do sex change operations, that that type of surgery should not even be done — let alone paid for by the taxpayer since it is not corrective surgery as it is in the above article but just a mutilation of the person. That said, I am no longer going on this discussion.

  2. There are federal and state laws that prohibit school administrators from releasing a teacher’s personal and medical information. The principal may have advised Ms Swager about the best way to handle this situation with regards to informing the students, parents and the community; however, it is up to her as to how she announces this change. Parents can be outraged, but they need to do their “homework” before they start bashing the school or the principal. The HIPPA law applies in this case.

    • Well, Bob, in that case I believe the teacher should have prepared the parents and students for the sudden change or asked to be transferred to another school or area, or made the change over the summer vacation. Whatever, it is all out now and people should be compassionate toward this teacher’s predicament. It still does not give credence to having total sex change operations as those are just mutilations of a normally formed person, and many who have them regret it later, and there is no turning back.

  3. OneoftheSheep says:

    “When we are perplexed by certain situations and do not know what to do, we must raise our eyes to God from whom alone we can hope for enlightenment, inspiration, and help.” Saint Pius X

    Surely this is one of those perplexing times spoken of by the saintly pontiff. Lord, enlighten your people.

  4. Chino High School is a public high school.

    This particular case does sound medical, rather than sinful mutilation and disordered sexual desire. – “Later genetic testing would reveal that Swager did indeed possess two X chromosomes.”

    The 2014 California Democratic Platform is to have ALL taxpayers pay for ALL desired sex change operations and hormones for life – even when it has NOTHING to do with physical medical issues.
    Meanwhile in their platform they encourage the MURDER of the elderly and the physically and mentally ill – through euthanasia (code words death with dignity).

  5. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Why is this even a topic for a catholic website?

    • Quite simply because Catholics need to know Church teaching about these medical procedures, what is acceptable and what is not according to Catholic teaching. Corrective surgery is all right according to Catholic teaching but mutilating ones body is not; it is a breach of the Fifth Commandment against killing (murder in the Hebrew sense) and suicide. Of course ones culpability depends on ones state of mind and the situation, but none of these things should every be encouraged.

      I have noticed that since so many abortions have taken place in this country, there has been a rise in mutilations of the body, from massive tattoos on the arms, legs, face and hands of people to extreme piercings. it is almost as if the people are subconsciously punishing themselves for some reason.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        So Anne T., is this individual’s medical procedures what you call a mutilation? I ask that question honestly. Because there is a clear biological medical issue here, and this is by no definition of the word a mutilation. It is completely unclear to me where Catholic teaching sits on this kind of issue. Generally, catholic teaching would not be implicated at all in medical issues like these except that whenever sex is concerned, it seems to over-occupy the catholic press. If you found out that you were born with fused vertebrae, and you had discomfort from it, I don’t think catholic teaching would call surgery to fix the fused vertebrae “mutilation”, would it? If you used lasers or electrolysis to remove hair from places you’d rather not have it, would that be mutilation? Is the use of fillers to remove those lines we all have mutilation? Would we feel differently about it if it was because we had a job like a news anchor and were subjected to harsh lights all day?

        IMO, this teacher should be cheered on for being so open about what is clearly a private medical issue, but because of the external circumstances, her case is wide open for us all to discuss publicly. That discussion becomes its own kind of mutilation.

  6. Michael McDermott says:

    This most unfortunate individual deserves compassion for the trials and errors of their life, particularly decisions made by others in good faith – that turned out to be scientifically flawed.
    This does Not mean that ‘trans-sexuals’ can be Created via Surgical Mutilation or Hormone / Steroid Abuse – and it is Rong to Pretend Otherwise:
    Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Are Not Like Race: Why ENDA is Bad Policy

    Sexual orientation and gender identity are conceptually different from race, and beliefs about marriage as the union of man and woman are conceptually and historically different from opposition to interracial marriage.

    As I explain in one of the two reports I have submitted to the Commission (US Civil Rights), all citizens should oppose unjust discrimination, but the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is not the way to achieve that goal. ENDA threatens fundamental First Amendment rights.

    It creates new, subjective protected classes… Yet ENDA’s damage is not only economic.

    It would also threaten the freedom of citizens and their associations to affirm their religious or moral convictions, such as that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human.

    ENDA would treat expressing these beliefs in an employment context as actionable discrimination.

    ENDA does not protect equality before the law. Instead, it would create special privileges that are enforceable against private actors…

    ENDA is bad public policy.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      ENDA would treat employment discrimination against LGBT employees and candidates as actionable. Yes, that’s exactly what it would do and why it is needed. If there were no discrimination against LGBT employees, there would be no need for ENDA, and if there is no such discrimination by an employer, there is no action to be taken even under ENDA. So what is the problem?

      It’s a little bit like a building code: If you build a building with sound practices, you wouldn’t need a code to tell you you need studs spaced 16″ apart. But would you want to trust an architect that you will never meet, and live in a building that is liable to collapse because of lax codes or enforcement? No, I didn’t think so.

  7. Decaf Joe says:

    Maybe Professor Heshe can obtain a transfer to the Catholic Schools of San Francisco. With 8/10 high school teachers flipping the bird to the AB and still being able to collect fat paychecks, Heshe should be pretty safe there.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Professor Heshe? Don’t be so insulting.

    • Decaf Joe, your heshe is not only insulting, disgusting and completely offensive, it is also sinful.

      Ms. Swager HAS FEMALE CHROMOSOMES. She was unfortunately mis-assigned at birth and after 32 years has had corrective surgery.

      Your taunt aimed at this poor unfortunate is both infantile and completely unacceptable behavior any way you cut it. You, Sir, are a misearble excuse for a human being and should head straight for confession.

      • Decaf Joe says:

        You first JohnJ.

        [This person admits to living and being both as a man and a woman, both a “he” and a “she” the statement was made not as an insult but a colorful observation — in keeping with the point of this article — as to the impact on the children in the situation, and also himself].

        If it was offensive it would not have been posted by the Moderator.

        I’ll also pray for you on my way to confession this Holy Week as it sounds like you have a full plate too.

        Rather than raging at others, perhaps you might think of the impact of the children in this classroom and school, their families, or the impact of this person enwrapped in a web of popular culture gender-bending propaganda. The person is not a political gender tool but a human being.

        And that was the point of the comment, in addition to that of the disaster of the Catholic schools at ground zero for gender confusion.

        • Decaf Joe,

          You simply don’t get the situation.

          Here is is key paragraph, “Swager’s case is complicated in that the teacher was raised as a boy after being born with ambiguous genitalia, as well as a condition called Kallmann Syndrome, which blocks sufferers from going through puberty without chemical assistance.”

          Swager was BORN with “ambiguous” genitalia, that means there was a developmental problem such that the baby’s genitals had characteristics of BOTH sexes. Swager could not complete puberty without external hormone therapy.

          The article says genetic testing wasn’t widely available in the 80’s and so the parents chose to treat and raise Swager as a boy (read give Swager male hormones to complete puberty). However, Swager actually had XX chromosomes.

          This choice makes no sense, and seems to be covering up some horrible medical care. While genetic testing WAS rare in the 80’s, karyotyping (identifying the sex chromosomes) is very easy and was widely available in the 80’s). Karyotyping should have been done immediately at birth. The doctor who failed to order this simple test after seeing ambiguous genitals was a drooling idiot.

          Swager “felt” like a girl her whole life because, guess what, she IS a girl that got some terrible medical care. Her surgery CORRECTED a very bad situation.

          You, Sir, decided to heap abuse on someone who did not choose this painful situation.

          • Decaf Joe says:

            Hey JohnJ –

            Got to confession today and even prayed for you!

            Your turn. Don’t delay – more stuff is adding up.

  8. I am willing to bet that the adults involved in this controversy are far more disturbed by it than the students at the high school. They won’t pay attention to the matter for more than ten minutes and their adjustment will be far less difficult than their parents will have to deal with. For once a public school did the right thing, and the parents are making a lot more of it than they ought to.


    Pandora’s box has been opened and we are seeing the fruits. It is for us to judge whether these fruits are good fruits or not.

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