Justice Department Guidelines: Commentary
May 14, 2016
The following text is an edited version of the Justice Department Guiltiness for Transgendered youths. Notable word and selections are in bold, my commentary is in blue with brackets. The Gentle Reader will note the abundance use of ambiguous words, such as "some", "many", "typically", "often" and "may". The form of the document is to pose a question, offer an answer and then offer appeals to authority in the form of examples from schools. We caution that appeals to authority are not appeals to reason.
We suggest that the most efficient manner to digest this commentary is to read the bold text, commentaries and the conclusion.
This resource is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted. The guide’s citation should be:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students (May 2016).
Each person is unique, so the needs of individual transgender students vary. But a school policy setting forth general principles for supporting transgender students can help set clear expectations for students and staff and avoid unnecessary confusion, invasions of privacy, and other harms. The education community continues to develop and revise policies and practices to address the rights of transgender students and reflect our evolving understanding and the individualized nature of transgender students’ needs.
This document contains information from some schools, school districts, and state and federal agencies. Inclusion of this information does not constitute an endorsement by ED of any policy or practice, educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy. In addition, this document references websites that provide information created and maintained by other entities. These references are for the reader’s convenience. ED does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. This document does not constitute legal advice, create legal obligations, or impose new requirements.
1. How do schools find out that a student will transition?
Typically, the student or the student’s parent or guardian will tell the school and ask that the school start treating the student in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity. Some students transition over a school break, such as summer break. Other students may undergo a gender transition during the school year, and may ask (or their parents may ask on their behalf) teachers and other school employees to respect their identity as they begin expressing their gender identity, which may include changes to their dress and appearance. Some school district or state policies address how a student or parent might provide the relevant notice to the school.
[NB-the reference to stereotypical attire and appearance.]
Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District issued guidelines (“Mat-Su Borough Guidelines”) advising that transgender students or their parents or guardians should contact the building administrator or the student’s guidance counselor to schedule a meeting to develop a plan to address the student’s particular circumstances and needs.
The guidelines issued by Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction (“Washington State Guidelines”) offer an example of a student who first attended school as a boy and, about midway through a school year, she and her family decided that she would transition and begin presenting as a girl. She prefers to dress in stereotypically feminine attire such as dresses and skirts. Although she is growing her hair out and consistently presents as female at school, her hair is still in a rather short, typically boyish haircut. The student, her parents, and school administrators asked her friends and teachers to use female pronouns to address her.
2. How do schools confirm a student’s gender identity?
Schools generally rely on students’ ... expression of their gender identity. Although schools sometimes request some form of confirmation, they generally accept the student’s asserted gender identity. Some schools offer additional guidance on this issue.
Los Angeles Unified School District issued a policy (“LAUSD Policy”) noting that “[t]here is no medical or mental health diagnosis or treatment threshold that students must meet in order to have their gender identity recognized and respected” and that evidence may include an expressed desire to be consistently recognized by their gender identity.
[Per the LAUSD: gender identity is arbitrary. The law of unintended consequences: The possibility that certain puckish students changing their gender identity every time they are called upon by a teacher.]
The New York State Education Department issued guidance (“NYSED Guidance”) recommending that “schools accept a student’s assertion of his/her/their own gender identity” and provides examples of ways to confirm the assertion, such as a statement from the student or a letter from an adult familiar with the student’s situation. The same guidance also offers the following example: “In one middle school, a student explained to her guidance counselor that she was a transgender girl who had heretofore only been able to express her female gender identity while at home. The stress associated with having to hide her female gender identity by presenting as male at school was having a negative impact on her mental health, as well as on her academic performance. The student and her parents asked if it would be okay if she expressed her female gender identity at school. The guidance counselor responded favorably to the request. The fact that the student presented no documentation to support her gender identity was not a concern since the school had no reason to believe the request was based on anything other than a sincerely held belief that she had a female gender identity.”
[Throughout the document, we see evidence of "stress" for transgender students. "Sincerely held" beliefs can either be correct or incorrect.]
Alaska’s Anchorage School District developed administrative guidelines (“Anchorage Administrative Guidelines”) noting that being transgender “involves more than a casual declaration of gender identity or expression but does not require proof of a formal evaluation and diagnosis. Since individual circumstances, needs, programs, facilities and resources may differ; administrators and school staff are expected to consider the needs of the individual on a case-by-case basis.”
3. How do schools communicate with the parents of younger students compared to older transgender students?
Parents are often the first to initiate a conversation with the school when their child is transgender, particularly when younger children are involved. Parents may play less of a role in an older student’s transition. Some school policies recommend, with regard to an older student, that school staff consult with the student before reaching out to the student’s parents.
The District of Columbia Public Schools issued guidance (“DCPS Guidance”) noting that “students may choose to have their parents participate in the transition process, but parental participation is not required.” The guidance further recommends different developmentally appropriate protocols depending on grade level. The DCPS Guidance suggests that the school work with a young student’s family to identify appropriate steps to support the student, but recommends working closely with older students prior to notification of family. The guidance also provides a model planning document with key issues to discuss with the student or the student’s family.
Similarly, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidance (“Massachusetts Guidance”) that notes: “Some transgender and gender nonconforming students are not openly so at home for reasons such as safety concerns or lack of acceptance. School personnel should speak with the student first before discussing a student’s gender nonconformity or transgender status with the student’s parent or guardian. For the same reasons, school personnel should discuss with the student how the school should refer to the student, e.g., appropriate pronoun use, in written communication to the student’s parent or guardian.”
Chicago Public Schools’ guidelines (“Chicago Guidelines”) provide: “When speaking with other staff members, parents, guardians, or third parties, school staff should not disclose a student’s preferred name, pronoun, or other confidential information pertaining to the student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status without the student’s permission, unless authorized to do so by the Law Department.”
Oregon’s Department of Education issued guidance stating, “In a case where a student is not yet able to self-advocate, the request to respect and affirm a student’s identity will likely come from the student’s parent. However, in other cases, transgender students may not want their parents to know about their transgender identity. These situations should be addressed on a case-by-case basis and school districts should balance the goal of supporting the student with the requirement that parents be kept informed about their children. The paramount consideration in such situations should be the health and safety of the student, while also making sure that the student’s gender identity is affirmed in a manner that maintains privacy and confidentiality.”
[Since gender identity is arbitrary, we do not understand the insistence of the use of stereotypical pronouns.]
Privacy, Confidentiality, and Student Records
4. How do schools protect a transgender student’s privacy regarding the student’s transgender status?
There are a number of ways schools protect transgender students’ interests in keeping their transgender status private, including taking steps to prepare staff to consistently use the appropriate name and pronouns. Using transgender students’ birth names or pronouns that do not match their gender identity risks disclosing a student’s transgender status. Some state and school district policies also address how federal and state privacy laws apply to transgender students and how to keep information about a student’s transgender status confidential.
[The transgender status of students needs to keep private.]
California’s El Rancho Unified School District issued a regulation (“El Rancho Regulation”) that provides that students have the right to openly discuss and express their gender identity, but also reminds school personnel to be “mindful of the confidentiality and privacy rights of [transgender] students when contacting parents/legal guardians so as not to reveal, imply, or refer to a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
[Parents may be unaware that their child is transgendered.]
The Chicago Guidelines provide that the school should convene an administrative support team to work with transgender students and/or their parents or guardians to address each student’s individual needs and supports. To protect the student’s privacy, this team is limited to “the school principal, the student, individuals the student identifies as trusted adults, and individuals the principal determines may have a legitimate interest in the safety and healthy development of the student.”
The Mat-Su Borough Guidelines state: “In some cases, a student may want school staff and students to know, and in other cases the student may not want this information to be widely known. School staff should take care to follow the student’s plan and not to inadvertently disclose information that is intended to be kept private or that is protected from disclosure (such as confidential medical information).”
The Massachusetts Guidance advises schools “to collect or maintain information about students’ gender only when necessary” and offers an example: “One school reviewed the documentation requests it sent out to families and noticed that field trip permission forms included a line to fill in indicating the student’s gender. Upon consideration, the school determined that the requested information was irrelevant to the field trip activities and deleted the line with the gender marker request.”
5. How do schools ensure that a transgender student is called by the appropriate name and pronouns?
One of the first issues that school officials may address when a student notifies them of a gender transition is determining which name and pronouns the student prefers. Some schools have adopted policies to prepare all school staff and students to use a student’s newly adopted name, if any, and pronouns that are consistent with a student’s gender identity.
[Once again, we envision certain students changing their preferred name during class.]
A regulation issued by Nevada’s Washoe County School District (“Washoe County Regulation”) provides that: “Students have the right to be addressed by the names and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity. Using the student’s preferred name and pronoun promotes the safety and wellbeing of the student. When possible, the requested name shall be included in the District’s electronic database in addition to the student’s legal name, in order to inform faculty and staff of the name and pronoun to use when addressing the student.”
A procedure issued by Kansas City Public Schools in Missouri (“Kansas City Procedure”) notes that: “The intentional or persistent refusal to respect the gender identity of an employee or student after notification of the preferred pronoun/name used by the employee or student is a violation of this procedure.”
The NYSED Guidance provides: “As with most other issues involved with creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender students, the best course is to engage the student, and possibly the parent, with respect to name and pronoun use, and agree on a plan to reflect the individual needs of each student to initiate that name and pronoun use within the school. The plan also could include when and how this is communicated to students and their parents.”
The DCPS Guidance includes a school planning guide for principals to review with transgender students as they plan how to ensure the school environment is safe and supportive. The school planning guide allows the student to identify the student’s gender identity and preferred name, key contacts at home and at school, as well as develop plans for access to restrooms, locker rooms, and other school activities.
6. How do schools handle requests to change the name or sex designation on a student’s records?
Some transgender students may legally change their names. However, transgender students often are unable to obtain identification documents that reflect their gender identity (e.g., due to financial limitations or legal restrictions imposed by state or local law). Some school district policies specify that they will use the name a student identifies as consistent with the student’s gender identity regardless of whether the student has completed a legal name change.
[While students are free to change their gender identity, the state may not be so accommodating.]
The NYSED Guidance provides that school records, including attendance records, transcripts, and Individualized Education Programs, be updated with the student’s chosen name and offers an example: “One school administrator dealt with information in the student’s file by starting a new file with the student’s chosen name, entered previous academic records under the student’s chosen name, and created a separate, confidential folder that contained the student’s past information and birth name.”
The DCPS Guidance notes: “A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student does not need to change their official records. If a student wishes to go by another name, the school’s registrar can enter that name into the ‘Preferred First’ name field of [the school’s] database.”
The Kansas City Procedure recognizes that there are certain situations where school staff or administrators may need to report a transgender student’s legal name or gender. The procedure notes that in these situations, “school staff and administrators shall adopt practices to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of such confidential information.”
The Chicago Guidelines state: “Students are not required to obtain a court order and/or gender change or to change their official records as a prerequisite to being addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity.”
The Massachusetts Guidance also addresses requests to amend records after graduation: “Transgender students who transition after having completed high school may ask their previous schools to amend school records or a diploma or transcript that include the student’s birth name and gender. When requested, and when satisfied with the gender identity information provided, schools should amend the student’s record.”
Sex-Segregated Activities and Facilities
7. How do schools ensure transgender students have access to facilities consistent with their gender identity?
Schools often segregate restrooms and locker rooms by sex, but some schools have policies that students must be permitted to access facilities consistent with their gender identity and not be required to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or alternative facilities.
[Some schools distinguish between genders, although the text creates the impression that there a significant number of "enlightened" schools, we suggest the percentage of segregated restrooms is closer to one hundred.]
The Washington State Guidelines provide: “School districts should allow students to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity consistently asserted at school.” In addition, no student “should be required to use an alternative restroom because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.”
The Washoe County Regulation provides: “Students shall have access to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school, irrespective of the gender listed on the student’s records, including but not limited to locker rooms.”
[Once again, certain male puckish students will identify at school as a female.]
The Anchorage Administrative Guidelines emphasize the following provision: “However, staff should not require a transgender or gender nonconforming student/employee to use a separate, nonintegrated space unless requested by the individual student/employee.”
8. How do schools protect the privacy rights of all students in restrooms or locker rooms?
Many students seek additional privacy in school restrooms and locker rooms. Some schools have provided students increased privacy by making adjustments to sex-segregated facilities or providing all students with access to alternative facilities.
The Washington State Guidelines provide that any student who wants increased privacy should be provided access to an alternative restroom or changing area. The guidelines explain: “This allows students who may feel uncomfortable sharing the facility with the transgender student(s) the option to make use of a separate restroom and have their concerns addressed without stigmatizing any individual student.”
The NYSED Guidance gives an example of accommodating all students’ interest in privacy: “In one high school, a transgender female student was given access to the female changing facility, but the student was uncomfortable using the female changing facility with other female students because there were no private changing areas within the facility. The principal examined the changing facility and determined that curtains could easily be put up along one side of a row of benches near the group lockers, providing private changing areas for any students who wished to use them. After the school put up the curtains, the student was comfortable using the changing facility.”
Atherton High School, in Jefferson County, Kentucky, issued a policy that offers examples of accommodations to address any student’s request for increased privacy: “use of a private area within the public area of the locker room facility (e.g. nearby restroom stall with a door or an area separated by a curtain); use of a nearby private area (e.g. nearby restroom); or a separate changing schedule.”
The DCPS Guidance recommends talking to students to come up with an acceptable solution: “Ultimately, if a student expresses discomfort to any member of the school staff, that staff member should review these options with the student and ask the student permission to engage the school LGBTQ liaison or another designated ally in the building.”
9. How do schools ensure transgender students have the opportunity to participate in physical education and athletics consistent with their gender identity?
Some school policies explain the procedures for establishing transgender students’ eligibility to participate in athletics consistent with their gender identity. Many of those policies refer to procedures established by state athletics leagues or associations.
The NYSED Guidance explains that “physical education is a required part of the curriculum and an important part of many students’ lives. Most physical education classes in New York’s schools are coed, so the gender identity of students should not be an issue with respect to these classes. Where there are sex-segregated classes, students should be allowed to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”
The LAUSD Policy provides that “participation in competitive athletics, intramural sports, athletic teams, competitions, and contact sports shall be facilitated in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity asserted at school and in accordance with the California Interscholastic Federation bylaws.” The California Interscholastic Federation establishes a panel of professionals, including at least one person with training or expertise in gender identity health care or advocacy, to make eligibility decisions.
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s policy states that all students should have the opportunity to participate in athletics consistent with their gender identity, regardless of the gender listed on school records. The policy provides that the league will base its eligibility determination on the student’s current transcript and school registration information, documentation of the student’s consistent gender identification (e.g., affirmed written statements from student, parent/guardian, or health care provider), and any other pertinent information.
10. How do schools treat transgender students when they participate in field trips and athletic trips that require overnight accommodations?
Schools often separate students by sex when providing overnight accommodations. Some school policies provide that students must be treated consistent with their gender identity in making such assignments.
[Some policies allow males to share overnight accommodations with females.]
Colorado’s Boulder Valley School District issued guidelines (“Boulder Valley Guidelines”) providing that when a school plans overnight accommodations for a transgender student, it should consider “the goals of maximizing the student’s social integration and equal opportunity to participate in overnight activity and athletic trips, ensuring the [transgender] student’s safety and comfort, and minimizing stigmatization of the student.”
The Chicago Guidelines remind school staff: “In no case should a transgender student be denied the right to participate in an overnight field trip because of the student’s transgender status.”
[Once again, certain puckish students are seeing this as a opportunity for mischief.]
Additional Practices to Support Transgender Students
11. What can schools do to make transgender students comfortable in the classroom?
Classroom practices that do not distinguish or differentiate students based on their gender are the most inclusive for all students, including transgender students.
[We suggest that males and females are inclusive terms, as they represent certain realities of human existance.]
The DCPS Guidance suggests that “[w]herever arbitrary gender dividers can be avoided, they should be eliminated.”
[What is “based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason” about gender?]
The Massachusetts Guidance states that “[a]s a general matter, schools should evaluate all gender-based policies, rules, and practices and maintain only those that have a clear and sound pedagogical purpose.”
Minneapolis Public Schools issued a policy providing that students generally should not be grouped on the basis of sex for the purpose of instruction or study, but rather on bases such as student proficiency in the area of study, student interests, or educational needs for acceleration or enrichment.
The Maryland State Department of Education issued guidelines that include an example of eliminating gender-based sorting of students: “Old Practice: boys line up over here.” New Practice: birthdays between January and June; everybody who is wearing something green, etc.”
12. How do school dress codes apply to transgender students?
Dress codes that apply the same requirements regardless of gender are the most inclusive for all students and avoid unnecessarily reinforcing sex stereotypes. To the extent a school has a dress code that applies different standards to male and female students, some schools have policies that allow transgender students to dress consistent with their gender identity.
Wisconsin’s Shorewood School District issued guidelines (“Shorewood Guidelines”) that allow students to dress in accordance with their gender identity and remind school personnel that they must not enforce a dress code more strictly against transgender and gender nonconforming students than other students.
The Washington State Guidelines encourage school districts to adopt gender-neutral dress codes that do not restrict a student’s clothing choices on the basis of gender: “Dress codes should be based on educationally relevant considerations, apply consistently to all students, include consistent discipline for violations, and make reasonable accommodations when the situation requires an exception.”
13. How do schools address bullying and harassment of transgender students?
Unfortunately, bullying and harassment continue to be a problem facing many students, and transgender students are no exception. Some schools make clear in their nondiscrimination statements that prohibited sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Their policies also address this issue.
The NYSED Guidance stresses the importance of protecting students from bullying and harassment because “[the] high rates experienced by transgender students correspond to adverse health and educational consequences,” including higher rates of absenteeism, lower academic achievement, and stunted educational aspirations.
The Shorewood Guidelines specify that harassment based on a student’s actual or perceived transgender status or gender nonconformity is prohibited and notes that these complaints are to be handled in the same manner as other discrimination, harassment, and bullying complaints.
The DCPS Guidance provides examples of prohibited harassment that transgender students sometimes experience, including misusing an individual’s preferred name or pronouns on purpose, asking personal questions about a person’s body or gender transition, and disclosing private information.
14. How do school psychologists, school counselors, school nurses, and school social workers support transgender students?
School counselors can help transgender students who may experience mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. Mental health staff may also consult with school administrators to create inclusive policies, programs, and practices that prevent bullying and harassment and ensure classrooms and schools are safe, healthy, and supportive places where all students, including transgender students, are respected and can express themselves. Schools will be in a better position to support transgender students if they communicate to all students that resources are available, and that they are competent to provide support and services to any student who has questions related to gender identity.
[Posttraumatic stress is often associated with the effects of war and other traumatic events. It seems reasonable to conclude that transgender "may experience mental health disorders".]
The NYSED Guidance suggests that counselors can serve as a point of contact for transgender students who seek to take initial steps to assert their gender identity in school.
The Chicago Guidelines convene a student administrative support team to determine the appropriate supports for transgender students. The team consists of the school principal, the student, adults that the student trusts, and individuals the principal determines may have a legitimate interest in the safety and healthy development of the student.
15. How do schools foster respect for transgender students among members of the broader school community?
Developing a clear policy explaining how to support transgender students can help communicate the importance the school places on creating a safe, healthy, and nondiscriminatory school climate for all students. Schools can do this by providing educational programs aimed at staff, students, families, and other community members.
The Massachusetts Guidance informs superintendents and principals that they “need to review existing policies, handbooks, and other written materials to ensure they are updated to reflect the inclusion of gender identity in the student antidiscrimination law, and may wish to inform all members of the school community, including school personnel, students, and families of the recent change to state law and its implications for school policy and practice. This could take the form of a letter that states the school’s commitment to being a supportive, inclusive environment for all students.”
The NYSED Guidance states that “school districts are encouraged to provide this guidance document and other resources, such as trainings and information sessions, to the school community including, but not limited to, parents, students, staff and residents.”
16. What topics do schools address when training staff on issues related to transgender students?
Schools can reinforce commitments to providing safe, healthy, and nondiscriminatory school climates by training all school personnel about appropriate and respectful treatment of all students, including transgender students.
["Appropriate" is a vague word. If one addresses a woman as "Ma'am", it is possible to be correct and told that is not appropriate (it should be "Miss").]
The Massachusetts Guidance suggests including the following topics in faculty and staff training “key terms related to gender identity and expression; the development of gender identity; the experiences of transgender and other gender nonconforming students; risks and resilience data regarding transgender and gender nonconforming students; ways to support transgender students and to improve school climate for gender nonconforming students; [and] gender-neutral language and practices.”
The El Rancho Regulation states that the superintendent or designee “shall provide to employees, volunteers, and parents/guardians training and information regarding the district’s nondiscrimination policy; what constitutes prohibited discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying; how and to whom a report of an incident should be made; and how to guard against segregating or stereotyping students when providing instruction, guidance, supervision, or other services to them. Such training and information shall include guidelines for addressing issues related to transgender and gender-nonconforming students.”
17. How do schools respond to complaints about the way transgender students are treated?
School policies often provide that complaints from transgender students be handled under the same policy used to resolve other complaints of discrimination or harassment.
The Boulder Valley Guidelines provide that “complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on a person’s actual or perceived transgender status or gender nonconformity are to be handled in the same manner as other discrimination or harassment complaints.”
The Anchorage Administrative Guidelines provide that “students may also use the Student Grievance Process to address any civil rights issue, including transgender issues at school.”
[NB-that "some schools" and "certain schools" are, in fact, only referencing a handful of school policies, out of several thousand. The effect of these ambigious words is to create the impression to the reader that the number of schools with transgendered policy is greater than it is.]
18. What terms are defined in current school policies on transgender students?
Understanding the needs of transgender students includes understanding relevant terminology. Most school policies define commonly used terms to assist schools in understanding key concepts relevant to transgender students. The list below is not exhaustive, and only includes examples of some of the most common terms that school policies define.
Gender identity refers to a person’s deeply felt internal sense of being male or female, regardless of their sex assigned at birth. (Washington State Guidelines)
Sex assigned at birth refers to the sex designation, usually “male” or “female,” assigned to a person when they are born. (NYSED Guidance)
[Yes, usually male or female'; this creates the impression that many people are not given the usual designations.]
Gender expression refers to the manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice or mannerisms. (Washoe County Regulation)
Transgender or trans describes a person whose gender identity does not correspond to their assigned sex at birth. (Massachusetts Guidance)
Gender transition refers to the process in which a person goes from living and identifying as one gender to living and identifying as another. (Washoe County Regulation)
Cisgender describes a person whose gender identity corresponds to their assigned sex at birth. (NYSED Guidance)
["Cisgender" is a new term to describe traditional gender identity. We note multiple uses of "technical jargon".]
Gender nonconforming describes people whose gender expression differs from stereotypic expectations. The terms gender variant or gender atypical are also used. Gender nonconforming individuals may identify as male, female, some combination of both, or neither. (NYSED Guidance)
[Stereotype: "to believe unfairly that all people ... with a particular characteristic are the same." This commentator does not believe, but knows, that the presence of "a particular characteristic" indicates "male".]
Intersex describes individuals born with chromosomes, hormones, genitalia and/or other sex characteristics that are not exclusively male or female as defined by the medical establishment in our society. (DCPS Guidance)
[Of all the "information" in these guidelines, this is the only one that does not depend on "feeling" to determine gender, but the reality that in a very small percentage of cases, people are born with certain genetic issues that cannot be defined with the standard definitions of male and female.]
LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning.” (LAUSD Policy)
Sexual orientation refers to a person’s emotional and sexual attraction to another person based on the gender of the other person. Common terms used to describe sexual orientation include, but are not limited to, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Sexual orientation and gender identity are different. (LAUSD Policy)
[Men who identify as female and have intimate relations with men are now deemed to be heterosexual.]
19. How do schools account for individual preferences and the diverse ways that students describe and express their gender?
[Descriptions are diverse, since there are no objective standards for a frame of reference.]
Some students may use different terms to identify themselves or describe their situations. For example, a transgender male student may identify simply as male, consistent with his gender identity. The same principles apply even if students use different terms. Some school policies directly address this question and provide additional guidance.
The Washington State Guidelines recognize how “terminology can differ based on religion, language, race, ethnicity, age, culture and many other factors.”
Washington’s Federal Way School District issued a resource guide that states: “Keep in mind that the meaning of gender conformity can vary from culture to culture, so these may not translate exactly to Western ideas of what it means to be transgender.
Some of these identities include Hijra (South Asia), Fa’afafine (Samoa), Kathoey (Thailand), Travesti (South America), and Two-Spirit (Native American/First Nations).”
The Washoe County Regulation, responding to cultural diversity within the state, offers examples of “ways in which transgender and gender nonconforming youth describe their lives and gendered experiences: trans, transsexual, transgender, male-to-female (MTF), female-to-male (FTM), bi-gender, two-spirit, trans man, and trans woman.”
The DCPS Guidance provides this advice to staff: “If you are unsure about a student’s preferred name or pronouns, it is appropriate to privately and tactfully ask the student what they prefer to be called. Additionally, when speaking about a student it is rarely necessary to label them as being transgender, as they should be treated the same as the rest of their peers.”
[But they are not the same as their peers; we note the use of stereotypical language.]
Cited Policies on Transgender Students [Omitted.]
Select Federal Resources on Transgender Students [Omitted.]
Our attempt to comment on this document has been "challenging", but not the beneficial type of challenge that can be ascribed to understanding Plato or learning Egyptian hieroglyphs, but the challenge typically associated with "busy work". We knew from the onset that vague terms and appeals to "feelings" would be present, while reason and the reality of the human experience would be absent.
Since guidelines for transgender youth will be subject to changes and revisions, we have not spent enough time, or expended enough effort, to document all inconsistencies, lapses of reason and reasonable implications of these suggestions found herein. Being unfamiliar with our legal system, we do not know if the Justice Department typically issues "suggestions"; we, in our naivete, would expect the department to quote the objective legal statutes, not their proposed guidelines.
However, we do hope that the unbiased Gentle Reader will accept our efforts as type of "primer" or an introduction to what type of arbitrary and capricious, and potentially puckish, world Modern Liberalism aspires towards and expects from our youth.