Transcript for Parents, school administrators talk with Caitlyn Jenner about transgender issues: Part 3
Reporter: Caitlyn Jenner has agreed to show up at a backyard barbecue. We've gathered together people on all sides of a national controversy. Whether transgender students should get to choose their bathroom and locker rooms. Some of these parents say yes. Others say they have deep concerns about that and feel they don't often get to express their views. You want me to tell my story? Reporter: Yeah, do. This is holly, who tells the group about the day her son, a ninth grade student, came home from school after someone was in the locker room. The first thing he said was, "Mom, I've got bad news." And he said, "She's always been a girl. She's never been a boy. And now, all of a sudden, she comes back for the second semester, and says she's a boy, and she's using the boys' locker room. Reporter: Holly is a devout Mormon. There are certain things that the religious community holds dear, and modesty and privacy, that's -- that's one of those things. They are never, ever, going to be okay with their daughter in an open locker room changing. In that locker room, they're never going to be okay with that. Reporter: Beth agrees it's about modesty. She is a Christian who says that religious people often feel unfairly judged. That they are haters and bigots. Reporter: Theresa and her husband Bo say it's not just the parents. Theresa coaches girls' high school athletic teams. One of my juniors said, "Coach, I don't know if I can handle it. I don't know if I can handle it." And there's always this fear of something new, something unknown. Reporter: Carliss says this sounds familiar. And my white college basketball team, they didn't want to dress with me. I would go and dress somewhere else. Reporter: But Corrin thinks this is different. You can't go into a locker room one day and say, "You know, I'm going to be African-American today. And tomorrow I'm not." If history has taught us anything, it's that separate is not equal. That's scary to me. Reporter: Jenny and others here think that separating out transgender kids is just unkind. I have a son and a daughter. My daughter's seen my son naked a lot of times. She's not traumatized. Shouldn't be a threatening thing. That's what I was told last year. That the kids need to get over it. That they need to get comfortable. I didn't say get over it. Reporter: And then, the most famous transgender person in the world arrives. Caitlyn, nice to see you. Reporter: We had told the group she might come. You were one of my heroes growing up. You and I are both Republicans, by the way, that's a great thing, and we're both men of faith -- -- women in the faith, excuse me. I mean, that's -- It's okay. Pronouns. I don't get upset about all of that. It's fine. I get it. Let me ask you this question, 'cause you are a person of faith. From your standpoint, as far as faith, how do you see this issue? I think that pope Francis said it best, god loves us all. Reporter: And then she surprises the group about which people have attacked her the most harshly. Out of all of the negative mail I got, especially at the beginning, was from people of faith. That is horrible, especially coming from people who profess to believe in god. Reporter: Holly says that has to change. And notes when she went public asking for separate stalls for kids in locker rooms -- I also was a recipient of unspeakable hate mail and death threats. It was just absolutely horrible. I think that we need to come to a point where we say, "We're not going to agree on everything, but for heaven's sakes, quit bullying." Reporter: And then there is someone who weighs in saying it's possible to find common ground across this national divide. He's Dr. David vannasdall, superintendent of the arcadia public schools in California. And says the real issue is privacy for all kids and that means practical solutions. The second we were able to get all the attorneys out of the room and remind ourselves what we do best. Reporter: His schools have nearly 10,000 students. A few years ago, after parents and teachers decided to talk together, the school now has some gender neutral bathrooms which he says are freely used by all kids. And across the country, in the locker rooms, some schools use inexpensive curtains for those who are transgender and those who are not. We're going on six years, multiple students that are managing themselves with our behind-the-scenes support without impacting any students. It's been very successful. Reporter: And do you have any parents objecting? No. No, we don't. Reporter: And vanasdall says the students have responded with friendship for their transgender classmates. Which should tell us adults something that they care more about what's in the heart than the anatomy. Reporter: From this backyard, a lesson in respect for a contentious and polarized nation. The person sitting in the front has taken hits from all sides. On her TV show, her transgender friends are horrified by her Republican politics. Republicans, your people, they don't like us. Here's the deal. Yes, I did vote for trump. Reporter: She says she believed Donald Trump was personally inclusive and that he would surprise everyone on lgbt issues. Here at the convention. I will protect our lgbtq citizens. Reporter: And when president trump saw her at his inauguration -- He wanted me to come play golf with him. Reporter: But, just 34 days into his administration, she was shocked. He revoked an Obama directive designed to strengthen federal protection of transgender kid on their bathroom choice. This administration for me, it was extremely, extremely disappointing. Here's the dealbreaker with the Republican party. And the dealbreaker is, you mess with my community, you don't give us equality and a fair shot, I'm coming after you. Reporter: Back at our barbecue, it's time for Caitlyn to say good-bye. Thank you. Reporter: But when I tell the group, I'm heading off to interview parents of transgender kids, some of them decide to come with me to the nearby coffee shop. Nice to meet you. Reporter: Dr. Vannasdall is greeted by a woman who says her transgender son was in one of his schools and thanks him for his open heart. We start by hearing family stories. Jody told about her little girl who knew something was not right at the age of 3. People think at 3, it's just not possible. My kid, at 3, said, "Everyone thinks I'm a girl, and I'm not." And then I said, "However you feel is fine." And then Penelope said, "No, I don't feel like a boy, mama. I am a boy." That's as clear as it gets. Reporter: Parents Danielle and Stephen say like a lot of people, they were rocked when their 9-year-old boy started asking about a sex change. And I remember walking out and going into our bedroom and going, "Oh, my god. Like, oh, my goodness." Reporter: Marsha confides she used to believe that being transgender was a choice. Until her daughter said she was a boy and fell into a terrible depression at not being understood. Marsha says think of these kids just trying to use a bathroom. Somebody called security on him. And so they took him out. And they put those twist ties on, you know, those zip ties on him until he could prove that was the restroom that he was supposed to go into. I'm sorry that you're uncomfortable. I don't want you to be uncomfortable. But I don't want my baby to kill herself. Reporter: And Gina says for every parent, nothing is more compelling than your anguished child. Suicidal. Extremely depressed. Was hurting himself. Reporter: Finally finding happiness. When he learned about being transgender, it was like this light went off in him. That's what he was. Reporter: She's happy now? For the first year in about three or four years, she wanted to have a big birthday party. He is a karate champion. You know, he goes to karate tournaments twice a year and wins. He loves math. He's probably the giddiest kid in the family, talks the most. Reporter: One parent from the barbecue asks how she can help. What can our children do to be more supportive of your children in the school scene? I think, I mean, that's the greatest place to start is meet them. Meet the people who aren't like you. And get to know them as people, as human beings. I so appreciate all the people who are here that want to hear these stories. Because, as a mother, this is the kind of hope that I get, that's what bridges this gap. You have a choice to operate from fear, and that sends you one direction. Or to operate from possibility, hope, and opportunity, and that
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