Family Equality Council is committed to creating a world where all of our families receive the recognition, protection and respect they deserve. School experience is vitally important to children and parents, and we are committed to helping families address these issues and be proactive with strategies. Check out the tools below and jump-start a more inclusive environment at your school today!
Creating Transgender Inclusive Schools
In May of 2016, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education released federal guidance to schools across the country to help educators and school administrators create safe and supportive environments for transgender students. Recognizing that this can be a challenging topic for parents to navigate with their children, other parents, and school staff, we have assembled this resource to assist parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and students in creating safe and welcoming school environment for transgender students and their families.
In this guide, we break down the federal guidance and provide background on why it was issued, including challenging some common misconceptions about the guidance. We then look at topics surrounding inclusion of transgender students in schools including:
- how to talk to your children about what it means to be transgender including a list of common terminology,
- tips on how to frame conversations with your children about gender and gender identity broken down by age category,
- how to approach a conversation on a classmate’s transition, and
- topics and tips on talking to other parents and your child’s school about gender and gender identity.
Finally, we look at how to advocate for change within a school that may be resistant to adopting the federal guidance.
It is our hope that this can be a vital resource as parents, advocates, teachers and students begin to navigate the new federal guidance, and that it will help you better understand the issues and challenges that may be present as schools move to adopt transgender inclusive policies and practices.
Tools and Resources
Letters to Elementary and Middle Schools
We've collaborated with our friends at Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to develop letters that you can personalize to help get educators the resources they need to create a safe, supportive and inclusive schooling environment for all students and their families. Taking these 3 simple steps today will help you promote change for your school!
Step 1: Customize one of our letters (or write your own letter), selecting an educator or administrator that you already know or will be interacting with regularly, like your child's teacher or principal.
Step 2: Email or hand-deliver the letter to your school's educators and administrators - be sure that you include a printed copy of the appropriate guide (or an electronic link to it) - either the Ready, Set, Respect! toolkit for elementary schools or the Safe Space Kit for middle/high schools."
Step 3: Follow-up with your school to ensure that they are implementing inclusive school practices. Don't forget to reach out to Family Equality Council or GLSEN if you need help!
Snap It & Send It
Do your school's forms need to be updated to better reflect today's families?
Learn about our Snap It & Send It program to see what you can do to advocate for change to those forms, promoting inclusion of all families.
Something as simple as including books featuring diverse family constellations can make students with parents who are LGBTQ feel comfortable and more welcomed at their school. Our Book Nook program offers suggestions of inclusive books for students of all ages!
Emily McGranachan, East Coast Regional Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island & Vermont
Kim Simes, Director of Regional Programming, email@example.com: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota & Wisconsin; And interim coverage of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington & Wyoming
Tatiana Quiroga, Southern Regional Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, D.C., Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia & the six inhabited U.S. territories - American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands & Wake Island
History UnErased - an organization that prepares every educator to teach every child about the vital role LGBTQ history and people have played in the United States and the world.
Involved, Invisible, Ignored - a study produced in a partnership between GLSEN, COLAGE and Family Equality Council that examines the experiences of LGBTQ parents and their children in our nation's K-12 schools.
GLSEN School Climate Survey - This is a tool developed for students, educators and advocates to assess the safety and overall environment of their local schools or communities using surveys of students.
Claim Your Rights - a factsheet developed by PFLAG & GLSEN with guidance on reporting bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Gender Spectrum - helps to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens.
Gender Diversity - increases the awareness and understanding of the wide range of gender diversity in children, adolescents, and adults by providing family support, building community, increasing societal awareness, and improving the well-being for people of all gender identities and expressions.