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Amy Peabody Kentucky Department of Education

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1 Amy Peabody Kentucky Department of Education
Transgender 101 Amy Peabody Kentucky Department of Education

2 Transgender 101 Transgender students and staff (gender identity, not sexual orientation) Learn the law. Learn the etiquette. Remember the basics: if the question or comment is one you would not make regardless of the gender identity of the person/student, then it is one you don’t make for any person/student.

3 Transgender basics A whole new vocabulary: terms and definitions
- GENDER IDENTITY: A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the gender assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity that matches their assigned gender at birth. For some, however, their gender identity is different from their assigned gender. All people have a gender identity, not just transgender people. Gender identity is an innate, largely inflexible characteristic of each individual’s personality that is generally established by age four, although the age at which individuals come to understand and express their gender identity may vary based on each person’s social and familial social development. Gender identity is DIFFERENT FROM sexual orientation. - GENDER EXPRESSION: The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice or mannerisms. - TRANSGENDER: An adjective describing a person whose gender identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with an assigned sex at birth. Other terms that can have similar meanings are transsexual (a little different meaning, more narrow category of transgendered persons) and trans. - TRANSITION: The process (and period of time) in which a person goes from living and identifying as one gender to living and identifying as another. - GENDER NONCONFORMING: A term for people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as “feminine” boys, “masculine” girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous. This includes people who identify outside traditional gender categories or identify as both genders. Other terms that can have similar meanings include gender diverse or gender expansive. Gender is different from sexual orientation. Gender is an internal sense of one’s self with regards to being “male,” “female,” both or neither regardless of one’s physical sex. Although “gender” is commonly misused to refer to the sexual distinction between males and females, it should neither be viewed as a biological condition nor confused with a person’s attraction to sex/romantic partners. “Gender identity” is an inner sense that one is or belongs to a particular gender regardless of the actual physical body they inhabit. This is the individual’s innermost concept of self as “male” or “female.”

4 Transgender legal protections
U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Justice work together on these issues and complaint resolution. Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000c c-9) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681) provide protection from sex-based harassment, including harassment or discrimination based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes and sexual harassment. Transgender students have the right to use the restrooms and locker rooms of their identified gender.

5 Transgender etiquette
What do I call you? - Transgender and gender nonconforming youth use a number of words to describe their lives and gendered experiences. To list just a few examples, these students may refer to themselves as trans, transsexual, transgender, male-to-female (MTF), female-to-male (FTM), bi-gender, two-spirit, trans man, trans woman, and a variety of other terms. Terminology and language describing transgender individuals can differ based on region, language, race or ethnicity, age, culture, and many other factors. Generally speaking, school staff and educators should inquire which terms students may prefer and avoid terms that make these students uncomfortable; a good general guideline is to employ those terms which the students use to describe themselves. “Transgender” is an adjective, not a noun so it is more appropriate to say “transgender person” instead of “transgender”.

6 Transgender etiquette
What pronoun do I use? - Pronouns for the identified gender. What questions can I ask? - The questions you would ask of any person regardless of gender identity. What information can I share with others, including other students’ parents? - Only the information you can provide regarding any person/student regardless of transgender. FERPA restrictions apply.

7 Transgender etiquette
What should I require as proof that the student is not just kidding around? - Accept the student’s assertion of his/her gender identity and not require particular substantiating evidence. However, if district personnel have a credible basis for believing that a student’s gender-related identity is being asserted for an improper purpose, this basis should be documented and a written response should be provided to the student and, if appropriate, his/her parents or guardians. May want to ask the student if you can discuss with parent/guardian and seek conversation with parent/guardian to ensure protection and accommodation of student’s gender identity and practical issues (e.g., bathroom and locker room usage, student’s preferred name and any name change, student’s needs during transition to identified gender). What if I personally have a problem with this? - Just like any issue you personally disagree regarding (e.g., religion, sports, politics), we are all professionals and expected to give others the upmost respect and courtesy.

8 Transgender Why does this matter?
- Legal liability of school district for violation of law. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey illustrates the alarming extent of the problem: 78% of respondents who were out as trans while in K-12 school indicated that they had been harassed on the basis of their gender identity, with over one-third (35%) reporting that the harassment escalated to physical assault. The abuse could be so severe that it resulted in almost one-sixth (15%) leaving school to escape. Those who are able to persevere had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education, according to data from GLSEN2. Perhaps most alarmingly, 51% of NCTE survey respondents who had been bullied reported attempting suicide. All students deserve our protection and our concern. As stated by the USDOJ and USED OCR, all students have the right to go to school without fearing harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sex, including because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. A school’s failure to address and prevent harassment can have tragic consequences. If students aren’t safe, then they aren’t learning.

9 Transgender policies How should school districts handle protection of transgender and non-transgender students and their rights? - Revision of the policies NOW, the typical time for policy revision, is best. This provides the notice of the protection and rights of all students without drawing attention to schools’ handling of student transitions to an identified gender. This protects the privacy of the transgendered students while providing other students the notice of the possibility of transition and use of identified gender locker rooms and restrooms before the period of any student’s transition.

10 Transgender resources
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) California School Boards Association Model Policy and Policy Brief on Transgender Students

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