This toolkit synthesizes the key tips and takeaways in the feature story “Being There for Nonbinary Youth” and provides links to the online resources for supporting transgender students.
After reading “Being There for Nonbinary Youth,” use this list of takeaways to reflect on what is most relevant to your school and the students you work with. As you make those connections, use the list of resources to deepen your learning and move toward implementation and action.
- What specific supports do transgender and gender-nonconforming youth need from their schools?
- Do our LGBT support and advocacy programs include and welcome transgender students?
- What can I do to create a more supportive environment for my trans students?
Eight Takeaways From “Being There for Nonbinary Youth”
- The experiences of LGBT youth vary greatly. Lumping LGBT experiences together is a mistake. For example, transgender and gender-nonconforming youth often face more hostility and bullying at school than their lesbian, gay and bisexual peers.
- Supportive school staff can make all the difference. One educator can make a difference—but the goal is building an inclusive and welcoming school. In Eli’s experience, his school counselor, psychologist, homeroom teacher and principal worked together to form a circle of caring adults who supported Eli’s transition.
- All students have the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. A transgender student should never be forced to use alternative facilities to make other students comfortable.
- Respect the names and pronouns transgender youth have chosen for themselves. If you don't know—ask. Model that respect in front of all students and colleagues.
- Mentorship is instrumental for trans students’ success. When possible, seek out or establish a trans-to-trans mentorship program for students. Adult mentors can serve as a crucial support system for trans students and provides adult models for what it looks like to live life as a transgender person.
- Curriculum and instruction play a big part in supporting trans youth. Including transgender figures and narratives in the curriculum helps ensure that trans students do not feel alone. Paying attention to and affirming non-gender-binary identities in student work is also very important.
- Always trust and defer to transgender youth. If you are a non-trans-identified adult, don't question what your trans student is going through. Follow their lead and provide your continued support along the way.
- Be aware of bias—your own and others'. Uncover any transphobia and personal bias you may hold. Learn to recognize and interrupt gender-identity-based bullying and harassment.
Eight Resources for Deeper Learning
- Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students
U.S. Departments of Justice and Education
- Supporting and Caring for Our Gender-Expansive Youth
Human Rights Campaign
- Support for Gender-Expansive and Transgender Students
- Bending the Mold: An Action Kit for Transgender Students
- Beyond the Binary: A Tool Kit for Gender Identity Activism in Schools
Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Transgender Law Center and National Center for Lesbian Rights
- Schools in Transition: A Guide to Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools
The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Gender Spectrum led the effort to produce the guide, joined by Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Education Association
- Model District Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students
GLSEN and National Center for Transgender Equality
- Recommended Reading List for Adults
TransYouth Family Allies