Schools and Transgender People

“We Are Trans Parents–DC Gay Pride Parade 2012” by Tim Evanson of Washington, D.C., via Wikimedia Commons

The Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, executive director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES), writes in “Transgender People and Episcopal Schools: An Invitation to Discernment”:

  1. First and most importantly, a school needs to consider its mission and the role of transgender people in the context of that mission. We recommend that a school enter into a serious conversation on that matter of how the mission of that school leads that community in its response to transgender people in that school. The school’s board needs to be involved in crafting a policy and following appropriate communication protocol that gives shape and meaning to a school-wide response
  2. The place of transgender students in a school community raises a host of practical challenges, to be sure—bathrooms and athletic facilities, dress codes, use of pronouns, record keeping, to name a few—and while those practical matters should not overshadow the primary question of how gender expression and identity fits into the context of a school’s mission, the practical concerns should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. For instance, some transgender people prefer to use a private bathroom (single stall, nurse’s office, etc.) while others prefer to use the facilities of their gender identity. However, some of the practical issues can be handled proactively before a school has a transgender person. A school may well need to consider creating gender fluid options for school uniforms and/or dress codes, as well as the place of gender neutral, single staff bathrooms and means by which transgender student athletes can be a part of the school’s athletic program.

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