Gender Identity 101
Many details remain to be worked out, but the Hillsborough County School District took an important this step toward improving its accommodation of transgender students.
School administrators took part in a training day Monday. The event covered federal law and legal precedents, district policy, terminology and statistics on bullying and suicide among young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ).
The Tampa Bay Times was not allowed to attend but, under the public records law, we were provided with this detailed PowerPoint.
Presenters included De Palazzo of Broward County, whose school system has been proactive in protecting the rights of LGBTQ students.
What does all of this bode for the coming year?
For starters, every school will have at least one universal restroom that students can use for privacy reasons that include, but are not limited to, being transgender. Accommodations will be made in locker rooms too.
Some of the protocols - for example, how the student arranges to use that restroom - remain to be figured out. The district sent a survey to each principal and asked that each school identify a Title IX coordinator who will be the point person in these efforts.
In the meantime, administrators were given basic information about the sensitivity that is asked of them. For example: A student might be "out" regarding his or her sexual orientation or gender identity at school, but not at home. It is important, therefore, to protect the student's privacy when speaking with parents. It is also important to use the name and pronoun the student prefers.
And, because rates of bullying and suicide are high among LGBTQ students, school employees will be instructed in how to refer students for mental health and social services when needed.