Today, the Trump Administration announced that it would rescind a vital guidance from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education (DOJ and DOE) regarding schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This crucial guidance was meant to ensure that transgender students are treated fairly in public and federally funded schools, including having equal access to sex-segregated facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms.
Here are 10 ways parents of transgender and gender non-conforming youth can show their love and support:
- Focus on your local school district–check to see if your school district has supportive policies and practices in place to support transgender students with enumerated policies that specifically say gender identity. Even if the DOE/DOJ Guidelines are revoked, school districts can still implement them as a best practice to support their students. We know that 75 percent of transgender students feel unsafe at school based on their gender expression (GLSEN 2015 School Climate Survey) and many schools and teachers still abide by their commitment to making schools safe and welcoming for ALL of their students. Parent advocacy and guidance can be a great catalyst for this process.
- Find other families with transgender and gender non-conforming students so that you have support and a shared sense of community. Many communities have transgender/gender non-conforming parent support groups.
- Encourage your local school to use Welcoming Schools books and lesson plans to create a gender expansive school that celebrates every child’s gender diversity and full human potential.
- Encourage your local schools to provide professional development for staff around gender expansive schools and best practices to support transgender and gender non-conforming students.
- Find two supportive anchor staff people for your child in their school and work with them to create a gender support plan for your child. Welcoming Schools has certified trainers available nationwide that can come in and train on both of these important topics.
- Read and share the Welcoming Schools Resources for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Student Rights.
- Encourage people in your local community in schools, libraries etc. to host an I Am Jazz reading to generate support and understanding for children of all gender identities.
- Encourage your student to join or start a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in their middle or high school. These groups can be a critical lifeline for LGBTQ youth and their allies.
- If you know a family in your school that has a transgender or gender non-conforming student, ask them how they are doing. Ask if there is any way you can support their child’s well-being or be an advocate in the school for them— be an ally!
- Raise awareness about the Gavin Grimm case that is going before the Supreme Court on March 28.
HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students. Welcoming Schools’ work is more important now than ever before. Learn more here.