The New York City Department of Education has issued a list of guidelines regarding best practices for meeting the needs of students who are transgender. NYC Dept of Ed. deals with the country's largest school district.
Under the new guidelines, schools are encouraged to use transgender students’ preferred names and gender pronouns wherever possible. Additionally, the guidelines state that transgender students should not be required to use a locker room or restroom that conflicts with their gender identity. The guidelines also assert that transgender students should be allowed to participate in most sports activities according to their gender identity. Plus, the district has included procedures for handling harassment against transgender students.
But the guidelines fail to take a clear position with respect to competitive and contact sports. And they do not clearly require schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other sex-segregated facilities that match their gender identity.
The guidelines, which suggest school officials to pursue additional, individual efforts towards ensuring safety and equality for trans students, were praised by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) as a strong beginning, with work left to do:
“We are pleased to see the Department of Education issue guidelines that support transgender students in the New York City school system and applaud its commitment to take incidents of anti-transgender harassment seriously,” said TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman. “This is a big step in the right direction, but transgender kids face unique challenges in school that require more. Officials need to ensure that transgender students have the same opportunities as all students that allow them to thrive. That means treating them as the boys and girls that they are, including letting them use bathrooms that match their true identities. Anything less stigmatizes them as the only boys and girls who are forced to use separate facilities.”
To read more on how the guidelines can be strengthened, read the full story at The Rainbow Times.
GLAAD's Senior Media Strategist, Tiq Milan, spoke to New York's PIX 11 about the policy change. Take a look: