Celebrating Transgender People in the Classroom

Post submitted by Charles Girard, HRC Welcoming Schools Coordinator

This Sunday, transgender people and their allies will gather in communities across the country for Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on November 20. The day serves to commemorate the transgender lives that were lost during the prior year due to anti-transgender violence.

While Transgender Day of Remembrance may not come in up in the classroom, Welcoming Schools encourages educators across the country to use this event as an impetus to discuss gender in schools and classrooms. Here are a few ways that educators can let their students know that they welcome and celebrate all genders in their school communities:

  1. Use lesson plans that discuss gender

Welcoming Schools has plenty of lesson plans that will keep your students engaged while they learn about gender. Use children’s books to examine gender stereotypes, or use Willow Smith’s song “I Am Me” to allow students to create their own songs and stories about themselves. Welcoming Schools also has book recommendations for students that discuss and understand transgender children and adults.

  1. Use our checklist to develop a gender-inclusive school

Does your school dress code state that only girls can wear skirts? Do you line up students by gender? Do you know how to interrupt gender-based bullying? Our checklist can give you some ideas about ways to improve your school’s gender climate.

  1. Learn how to respond to student’s questions about gender

What can you say if a student says that pink is only for girls? How do you respond if students tease a boy for liking to dance? Welcoming Schools recommends that teachers practice responding to put-downs and questions about gender for when these comments come up. Check out our sample responses.

  1. Invite us to your school

Welcoming Schools has facilitators across the country ready to train your staff to improve your school climate with training, resources, and lesson plans. Find out why one teacher recently told us “this was the best professional development I have ever received” and contact us today.

HRC Welcoming Schools is a comprehensive approach to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools with resources and professional development in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.

This week, HRC marks Transgender Awareness Week, dedicated to the progress, continued challenges, and unfinished work in the fight for transgender equality. Throughout the week, HRC will dedicate each day to urgent and important issues facing the transgender community, including support for youth and families, workplace equality, access to life-saving and inclusive health care, and combatting violence against the transgender community. The week concludes with Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 when the community comes together for vigils around the country to honor those lost in the past year. Learn more at