If you’ve been reading this blog for any reasonable amount of time you know that I am by no means perfect. That I make no claims to that. That I start most posts with disclaimers and that I still mess up all the time. Well to continue that trend I’d like to start this post by addressing some nuance that I left out of the last.
First, I am a ciswoman. This means that I was assigned female at birth and I identify as such. In case you are wondering my preferred pronouns are she/her. The first piece I wrote in this series was intended for an audience of cispeople which as far as I know is the majority of my audience. It was mostly intended as a starting point for cisgender teachers who have little to no experience with trans students. I was not as nuanced as it could have been.*
After I wrote it I spoke to Geo an art school student (here is their junior thesis go watch it. all the talent). While Geo made a lot of good point the one that stuck with me was this,
“It’s not just about perspective, its about authority. Who gets to decide what goes in the guide for how to educate trans students[?]”
Damn, well, not me. Which is why I am including a whole bunch of resources here. Resources I read before I wrote this piece and resources that will provide you with more nuance and better information. The short, sweet, and less good version is my first post. These places can help you learn more and do better. Which is always the goal in teaching (and like being a human), yeah?
Trans* Ally Workbook: Getting Pronouns Right & What It Teaches Us About Gender This cost $4. I paid for it. I think it is that important. They offer it for free if your organization needs it but come on people spend the $4 it is absolutely worth it. It is a really good starting point.
Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender in K-12 Schoolsis a first-of-its-kind publication for school administrations, teachers, and parents about how to provide safe and supportive environments for all transgender students, kindergarten through twelfth grade. This is free! It’s written by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. It’s super great. It provides a way way more in depth version of my post. And better, obvi.
GLSEN – The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network has a whole page of resources for you and for your students. Harsh Realities- The Experiences of Transgender Youth in our Nation’s School is particularly good.
The ACLU put out this brochure so that teens know their rights called Know Your Rights. It could be useful to give to a student. It includes important stuff like the laws involved, who to contact, and how to document problems.
Dan Savage got a letter about this from a school teacher looking to support a student and sent it over to Chris Hampton, youth and program strategist for the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project. Chris then provided a ton of resources here.
My big advice is to take this slow. Read the ones that jump out at you first. If you struggle with pronouns spend the four dollars on the first one. If are looking for resources for a student check out the ACLU.
The third piece of this series will come out next week and will be a lot more personal.
*I am working in the western world’s constructs of gender here which does not cross all cultural lines, more nuance.