Personal Perspective: Teachers Can Help Transgender Students

Personal Perspective: Teachers Can Help Transgender Students

It is important for teachers to advocate for transgender students in Centennial High School, for example with a statement of non-discrimination somewhere visible within their classrooms.

A statement of nondiscrimination basically states that the teacher the room is used by supports people regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and so on.

At the high school, I have noticed that few teachers have statements of nondiscrimination in or near their classroom, though sure a few do, many from my observations do not.

However, every person in the Centennial staff I have asked all claimed to be supportive in advocating or being an ally to transgender students.

A handful of teachers even said they would do whatever they could to support their students, and deemed themselves an ally for the queer and trans youth in the school.

It is important for teachers to have statements on nondiscrimination or some indicator they are an ally visible because oftentimes in a bad situation students don’t know who to go to.

Trans students are already facing the struggles of grades and education, the struggle of dysphoria and lack of supports only make this harder.

The constant correction of improperly used pronouns, and the cruel response some people have upon discovering someone is trans,  and the harassment and discrimination they sometimes face can be overwhelming. Teachers need to do what they can to ease this struggle for students.

I have found that in my own experience, trans identities are often treated as a choice, or some sort of political statement; however, identifying as trans, and making the choice to socially or medically transition is a very personal journey. Being trans is not a fun adventure, and it should be treated with respect. All people deserve the right of freedom of expression, and it should never be permitted for others to put people down for it.

If more teachers made an effort to use proper names and pronouns, and helped spread some kind of awareness or support in the classroom, things would become less challenging for trans students and they could redirect their focus to academics. Allowing trans students to move to more comfortable places (next to more accepting classmates), or removing unaccepting behaviors from the classroom are good examples of things teachers can do to be supportive.

Centennial teachers and staff, please keep trans students on your mind; CHS students, please be wary of the language you direct at your trans classmates.