Guidance

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I’ve been trying to schedule a meeting with the administration of E’s Middle School all summer.  Scheduling something with 5 or 6 school administrators over the summer has proven to be a challenging task.  Still, I need to talk to them.  I knew that they had been at the staff training at Concord back in February, so they were educated and on board.  I had seen them at different events from time to time and I could tell they were well aware of E, knew me, and were eager to support us.  Yet as the start of school approaches, I want to make sure we are all continuing to be on the same page.  I want to make sure they remember that E will be using the boys bathroom and locker room and discuss what locker room behavior it typical at the school.  I know these issues are on their minds too.  One topic that they may not be thinking of, but is a biggie, is E’s name on his records.  I want to make sure that every time E’s records are accessed – by a teacher, administrator, substitute etc. – his gender and correct name are clearly indicated.

This past spring, I witnessed a very awkward exchange between E and a substitute teacher in the Library.  The substitute was working off a class list that had E’s former name on it.  She was calling out for E, using his old name.  E kept raising his hand, saying “I’m E (current name.)”  This gut wrenching verbal dance went back and forth a few times. The poor sub was obviously confused by what was going on. The poor kids, who all lived through E’s transition, were all paralyzed by having a teacher insist on the wrong name for E.  And poor E, just quietly affirmed himself over and over to her until she finally just gave up.

I do not want this to happen again.

So I was hoping to meet with the Middle School earlier in the summer, but it just didn’t work out.  This week, we were able to lock down a date.  In a stroke of perfect timing, also this week, the Human Rights Campaign, in conjunction with several other organizations, released a Guide To Supporting Transgender Students K-12.   There, on page 20, was a whole section entitled “Student Records and Student Information Systems.”  A guide on this exact topic.  A guide!  I was thrilled.   In the arena of having a young trans kid, there are very few guides and we parents are often left to figure this stuff out on our own, with the help of a few courageous souls who are experts in this brave new world.

I want to share that guide with you here, along with some other resources that I have discovered.  Whether or not you have a gender expansive or trans kid in your life, education is so important to social progress. I invite you to reply with resources that you have found helpful as well.  And, of course, please check out the amazing trailblazers on my Blog Roll.

Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools

I was so happy to work with Simmons College on their Trans*forming The Dialogue Project.  They have put together the following list.

Gender and Sexuality: Defining Key Terms for Everyday Use

These five short videos are a brilliant “Gender 101” and helped me so much in my early stages of understanding.

Jean Malpas on Gender Variance

 

Trans Student Educational Resources

Gender and Sexuality Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Ackerman Institute Gender and Family Project

Gender Spectrum

2 thoughts on “Guidance

  1. Hi, I’m a sophmore in high school who is socially transitioning to male with the consent (but not support) of my parents. I’d love to know how exactly you disclosed to teachers and how much they need to be told before the start of the school year. Your child is so lucky to have you to help him through this; best of luck to all of you.

    1. Ari, thanks so much for reaching out to me. There are so many factors that affect a kid’s social transition at school and each situation is unique. E was transitioning in the middle of the school year in elementary school, so we had a very open dialogue with his teachers and administrators, but that may or may not be right for you. I encourage you and your parents to read through the materials I reference in this blog post and know that you don’t have to do this alone. Check out the organizations I link at the bottom of the page and they may be able to coach you through the process with a deeper understanding of your own personal wants and needs. All the best to you Ari.

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