How to Handle Transgender Concerns with Caution

The issues surrounding transgender people are pretty novel, and you must approach them with caution. Flashpoints of these issues include changing names or the proper pronouns for addressing them, addressing restroom choices, dress codes, and staying in touch with recent legal interpretations.

You must deal with these problems if your school accommodates all students. The resources we’ll be sharing in this article will be handy in sorting out these situations.

  1. Living in the Shoes of Transgender Students.

“Harsh Realities,” a 67-page report released by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, reveals the disheartening challenges transgender students face in schools. An excerpt from the report says, “Most transgender youths attended schools with hostile school climates.”

Putting figures to these allegations, an estimated ninety-nine percent of trans-students have been on the receiving end of nasty remarks at school. Thirty-two percent of them have been within hearing distance when their teachers made homophobic or chauvinistic remarks and statements that indicate gender bias. This report was released in 2010, but the situation hasn’t changed very much since then.

  1. Assisting Transgender Kids in K-12 Cope with Transitioning.

The transgender community already receives enough unjustness from the government and massive backlash from the court of public sentiments. School Administrators must make the schools a safe space for these students and provide them with the necessary support.

Reading the “Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools,” a report compiled by the ACLU, NEA, and similar groups, is a great place to start. The 68-page document covers the basics of support for trans-students and analyzes the task of school officials during the transition period- public or private. It even goes further to comment on planning for transgender students’ welfare during overnight excursion trips, what ensues when parents are at loggerheads with their kids over gender choice and the current stance of the law on trans issues.

  1. Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board.

This is a case that has dragged on for so long, you could nickname ” a long walk to equal opportunities,” and you would be right. Gavin Grimm, a transgender person, former Virginia high school student, is locked in a legal battle against the school board for denying him access to the bathroom of his choice. Grimm, born as a female but now identifies as male, demands to use the male toilets.

At the Grammy award ceremonies in 2017, Actor Laverne Cox threw his weight behind the young lad and drummed support for him using the hashtag #StandWithGavin. His case was supposed to be the first transgender case heard at the US Supreme Court until a change in the Title IX protections underlying policy forced the case to be vacated. In August 2020, the Fourth Circuit ruled in his favor again.

  1. Gender Revolution Documentary.

In February 2017, a two-hour National Geographic documentary, Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric, was released. Originally aired on February 6 of that year and then made accessible for free streaming between February 14-21, this documentary is a must-watch for school administrators willing to put up changes for their transgender students. The documentary can still be found on the National Geographic website or their Youtube channel.

  1. Trump Withdraws Obama’s Appeal Challenging Guidelines on Transgender Students.

In 2017, the Obama’s administration, in support of transgender rights, proclaimed that the Title IX protections, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools, would protect transgender students. In response, more than a dozen states filed a lawsuit against the position, and the Federal District Court in North Texas issued a nationwide injunction to that effect in August 2017.

Obama’s government appealed the injunction and prayed that it be restricted to states that we’re party to the lawsuit,  but before oral arguments could begin, the new POTUS pulled the plug on the case.

  1. Student’s Rights.

Plenty of complaints about the restrictions on transgender rights at school have surfaced lately. How can trans students be protected while at school to avoid a clampdown on their rights? This website from The National Center for Transgender Equality is out to educate these students about their rights, which include Title IX protections and the Office of Civil Rights, domiciled under the federal Department of Education. Among the resources it parades is how the information on how FERPA relates to trans students.

  1. Harvey Milk High School.

Harvey Milk High School in New York City, named after the first openly gay elected public official in the US, is the first and only school established mainly for the LGBT community. This school runs in the public school system of New York, Milk’s birthplace, and where he spent his early life.

The Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy elementary school is in San Francisco, where Mr. Milk served on the City’s board of Supervisors. The academy says its objective is to improve student learning by cultivating a culture of tolerance and non-violence and celebrating diversity.

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