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Transgender and Gender Diverse Students:

Building Understanding and Support

Presented by: Sara Tinklenberg
This following presentations were used as
resources in developing this training:
Understanding a Supporting Transgender Creating a Supportive School Community
and Gender Diverse Students in Schools for Transgender Students

Todd A. Savage, Ph.D, NCSP Carol Kampa, Assistant Principal

Leslie Legenstrom, Mom, Author and Sara Peltier, LICSW, School Social Worker
Presented to district school social workers in
Presented at the Special Education Law & 2016.
Leadership Conference

March 16, 2017

Being Trans
Why this training?
All students have the right to learn and succeed in a safe and supportive
school environment.
Sex: Biology, female/male.

Gender: Social construction that is culturally-mediated, girl/woman, boy/man.

Gender Identity: Lived/defined by the individual.

Gender Expression: How people communicate their gender to others.

Gender Role: Culturally-mediated ways people live out gender,


Sexual Orientation: Ones primary psychological, social, emotional, and

erotic attractions to other people.
Cisgender: Gender identity matches the sex and gender one was assigned at

Transgender: Gender identity does not match the sex and gender one was
assigned at birth.

Gender Diverse: Broader category that captures the range of gender

Transgender Youth
80% of TG-identified adults knew they were different before leaving
elementary school
Less than 4% of TG-identified persons realized they were TG after the age
of 18
Average age of trans-spectrum self-realization: 7.9
Average age of learning the words to communicate feelings: 15.5
Transitions pre-puberty are social in nature; some persons may seek
medical transitions around puberty or later
Hyan, Roff, & Trier (2012)
Policy and Rights
Minnesota Human Rights Act - 1993

The MN Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in education (See: Minn. Stat.

According to a 1993 amendment, schools are prohibited from differential treatment towards
students on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, which was defined by
the Minnesota Legislature as including those who "have or are perceived as having a self image
or identity not traditionally associated with their biological maleness or femaleness"
Through the use of this terminology, MHRA prohibits discrimination against trans* students in
all aspects of education. This would include differential treatment of students who do not fit the
gender role usually assigned to persons with similar anatomy.
Policy and Rights
Title IX Amended/Office of Civil Rights - 2014

In April, 2014, the office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education issued
official guidance which makes clear that transgender students are protected
from discrimination under Title IX. Title IXs sex discrimination prohibition
extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to
conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts
such complaints for investigation.
Policy and Law
Safe Schools Anti-bullying Bill - 2014

Clear definitions of bullying and intimidation

Enumerated protections for students who are most likely to be bullied or
harassed because of their actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, disability,
sex, age, national origin, immigration status, marital status, family status,
socioeconomic status, status with regard to public assistance, academic status,
physical appearance, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression
Training and resources for students, staff, and school volunteers on bullying
prevention and intervention
Specific procedures that school staff must follow when bullying incidents are
reported, including the use of remedial responses that emphasize restorative justice
to correct prohibited behavior
School Issues
From GLSEN National Climate Survey:

31.8% of LGBTQ students missed at least one entire day of school in the
past month because of climate and 10% missed four or more days in the
past month
96% heard negative gender expression remarks
86% heard negative trans-specific remarks
64% heard negative gender expression remarks from adults
55% verbally harassed at school
60% LGBTQ sexually harassed at school.
School Issues (cont.)
49% LGBTQ electronically bullied
58% did not report incidents
64% who did report indicated that school staff did nothing in response
66% experienced anti-LGBTQ policies and practice
51% prevented from using declared name
60% required to use restrooms or locker rooms based on gender
assignment (GA) at birth
22% prevented from wearing clothes considered inappropriate based on
Supports for Individuals
Schools in Transition - first of its kind
publication providing guidance to schools to
ensure safe and supportive environments
for transgender and gender diverse
students (link)

From website: Gender Spectrum - Wide

variety of resources available from
understanding gender to building gender
inclusive schools.
Support for Individuals
Gender Support Plan (link)

Serves as a guide to assist schools in coming to a common

understanding of a students gender identity and how the school will
be accountable in the process of supporting the student
Ideally, developed collaboratively with the student in question (if
appropriate), family members, and school personnel
Addresses confidentiality, privacy, safety, names, pronouns, records,
facility use, participation in the full range of the educational process,
and other considerations.
Supports for Schools
Ready, Set, Respect! Elementary Toolkit (link)

The kit provides a set of tools that will help you

prepare to teach about respect and includes lesson
plans that can help you seize teachable moments.
The lessons focus on name-calling, bullying and bias,
LGBT-inclusive family diversity and gender roles and
diversity and are designed to be used as either
standalone lessons or as part of a school-wide
anti-bias or bullying prevention program.
Supports for Schools
District and School Transgender and Gender Diverse Readiness Assessment
Form (Savage, Springborg, & Lagerstrom, 2016) (link)

Developed by school-based mental health professionals in collaboration

with the parent of a transgender child
Provides information about a districts readiness to accommodate and
support gender diversity as well as an individual school buildings
readiness to do so
Intended to be completed by a team of school-based personnel
Ensuring a Safe and Supportive School Environment
Professional development for all people working within a school
Policy Development
Non-discrimination policies
Anti-harassment policies
Other school policies (field trip, restroom, etc.)
Be proactive in communicating the schools policies
Be proactive VS reactive
Legal, ethical, moral considerations
What next?
Age appropriate books in classrooms and
Be an advocate!
Read the resources
Reach out if you are unsure/want support
Additional Resources

OutFront Minnesota

PFLAG: Twin Cities Chapter

Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition

Transforming Families

St. Paul Public Schools Out for Equity