The New York City Department of Education has introduced new guidelines to help schools respect transgender students and meet whatever unique needs they might have. The guidelines recommend that schools respect trans students’ gender identities and make facilities and activities as inclusive as possible. Here are some of the suggestions for protecting trans students:
- School personnel should not reveal student’s transgender status to other employees, students, parents, or other third parties; it could be an unlawful violation of a student’s privacy.
- Though permanent records can only be altered with a court order or new birth certificate, the school should otherwise use the name and gender preferred by the student.
- Students should be addressed by the name and corresponding pronoun that reflect the gender identity they consistently assert at school.
- Generally, students should be permitted to participate in physical education and sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity that is consistently asserted at school.
- In any activity where students are separated by gender, students should be permitted to participate in accordance with their gender identity.
- If trans students have specific privacy concerns, accommodations should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The guidelines could go far toward mitigating the bullying and harassment that trans students experience, creating an environment where they can safely explore their identities. California passed a law last year that similarly guarantees full inclusion for trans students. Conservatives attempted to challenge the law with a referendum, but failed to collect the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.