Gender-Inclusive Schools and Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students
Creating inclusive spaces for transgender and non-binary youth means allowing all students to thrive regardless of gender identity or expression.
Gender enters the classroom constantly when ...
A teacher asks boys and girls to line up separately to go to recess.
A drama teacher assigns students roles in a play based on gender.
A parent brings in pink cupcakes for girls and blue for the boys.
Gender does not only impact transgender and non-binary students at school; all students have and express gender differently.
If a teacher asks for “a strong boy” to help to lift a box, the teacher just told the class that only boys can be strong. If a principal hands out pink pencils to girls while boys receive blue, will the girl that likes blue be afraid to ask for a different color? Why not allow all students to pick the color they want? Educators need the opportunity to develop the consciousness to end gender stereotyping at school..
Transgender and non-binary youth are already a vulnerable population.
In the past year, 87 percent of transgender youth were verbally harassed at school.
Only 4 percent of gender-expansive youth report feeling “very happy,” compared to 27 percent of cisgender males.
Teachers and school staff members are protective agents for students.
Schools have an obligation to empower, embrace and welcome transgender and non-binary youth. Without feeling safe and supported at school, students may feel isolated, find learning difficult, face health challenges, or even consider or complete suicide.
As school communities work toward creating environments that embrace and welcome transgender and non-binary students, all students benefit as educators encourage youth to be themselves without limitations based upon gender.