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TransActive Gender Center provides a holistic range of services and expertise to empower transgender and gender diverse children, youth and their families in living healthy lives, free of discrimination.

Recommended Guidelines:

Supporting Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Students

Student Name & Pronouns

  • Students should be addressed by their preferred name and pronoun.
  • Students should not be required to obtain a court ordered name and/or gender change or to change their official records as a prerequisite to the above guideline.
  • This guideline makes allowances for inadvertent slips or honest mistakes in name/pronoun use, but recommends a "zero tolerance policy" for intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student's gender identity.
  • The preferred name and pronoun should be included in the electronic student records so that substitute teachers do not inadvertently use the wrong name or gender pronoun.

Restroom Accessibility

All students should be provided access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity as consistently asserted at school. Where available, a single stall/gender neutral restroom may be used by any student who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason. The use of such a restroom shall be a matter of choice for any student and no student shall be compelled to use such restroom.

Locker Room Accessibility

Under no circumstances should transgender students be required to use a locker room or changing facility that does not correspond to their gender identity. In situations that involve undressing in front of others, transgender students who want to use the locker room corresponding to their gender identity should be provided with the available accommodation that best meets the needs and privacy concerns of all students involved.

Such accommodations could include, but are not limited to:

  • Use of a private space in the general area (i.e., a bathrrom stall will a door, an area separated by a curtain, a PE instructor's office in the locker room).
  • A separate changing schedule (utilizing the locker room either before or after the other students).
  • Use of a nearby private space (i.e., a nearby restroom, a nurse's office).

Sports and Gym Class

Generally, students should be permitted to participate in gender-segregated recreational gym class activities and sports in accordance with the student's gender identity. Participation in competitive athletic activities and contact sports should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

Dress Codes

Gender-specific restrictive dress codes are inadvisable. If the school requires school-approved uniforms, students must be allowed to wear uniform items that most closely reflect their gender identity. It is discriminatory and a violation of the student's civil rights for school staff to enforce a dress code more stringently against a transgender or gender nonconforming student than other students.

Gender Segregation in Other Areas

As a general rule, school staff should avoid separating students by gender. Rather than splitting up boys and girls as a method to break a class into two groupss, teachers can use other criteria (e.g., January-June birthdays vs July-December birthdays). If students must be separated by gender, they shall be permitted to self-diferentiate in accordance with their gender identity.

Procedures for Handling Bullying

The school district policy on bullying should be public and clearly stated. In mny states, laws exist that require a district's policy to include:

  • A description of how a school and school district will respond after an act of bullying reported, investigated, and confirmed.
  • A statement of the consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person found to have committed an act of bullying.

It is important to recognize that acts of intimidation, harassment and bullying of transgender and gender nonconforming students can happen at the hands of faculty and staff as well as from their student peers.

Specific Affirming Steps YOU Can Take

  • Allow youth to self-define
    Use students' preferred names and pronouns and encourage your colleagues and other students to do the same.
  • Create an approachable atmosphere
    Model openness and acceptance and intervene when students "gender police" each other.
  • Value diversity
    Be expansive regarding gender expression and utilize curriculum materials that show bouys and girls challenging traditional gender stereotypes.
  • Talk with parents about student freedom of gender expression in your classroom
    Students are in school on average 1,260 hours a year and with their families for 7,500 hours a year. Affirmation modeled in the classroom comes quickly undone unless students' families support it.
  • Encourage administrators and colleagues to address gender-based bullying and harassment as assertively as other forms of discrimination and violence
  • Don't create groups or assign tasks according to gender
    Use creative methods - like drawing names from a jar - or establish a cycle to create groups and assign tasks.
  • Support gender diverse interests that students may have, regardless of whether they conform to societal gender expectations.
    Don't react negatively to a child's gender choice, comment or behavior.
  • Address name-calling and other incidents of harassment when they occur.
    Bullying and harassment, gender-based or otherwise, should never be tolerated.

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