New Research Study: Trans Inclusion in Schools

The team at Next Ed Research went to San Diego’s Pride events to learn about Trans Inclusion. Next Ed is interested in learning about how a program would be implemented to respect students at an all girls school. Leading up to the event we began contacting different entities around the San Diego area. SD Pride was our main resource and they provided us with different people within their organization to help us further our research. They referred us to the San Diego Unified school district which we hope to be in contact with in the near future. Next Ed research was referred to an activist by the name of Rowan. Rowan identifies as non-binary going by they/them pronouns. Those that identify as non-binary do not identify fully with binary genders. They felt much anxiety growing up going to an all girls high school and they want to change the school system by providing support and resources to students in regards to trans issues. They are known for their presentations on gender in the workplace. From their presentations we learned the more basic terms such as cisgender one that identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, transgender one that identifies with a different gender(s) than the one they were assigned, passing which occurs when one is viewed at the gender they are, and many other terms that will be included in our research. Their presentation also highlights the issues trans people face such as transphobia and the whitewashing of trans history. It is important to understand the history behind the movement in order to identify the people who have been struggling in their history. They have proven vital to our study and we look forward to working with them further on this project. 

Here is short video guide provided to us by Rowan about what pronouns are, why they are important, and how to use this new information to support and make your trans friends comfortable.

The LGBT Equity Center of Maryland has created online training videos that provide insight for those that wish to learn more about transgender and gender identity issues. There are many politically correct terms we can all use today. Through the use of this language it is possible to make everyone more comfortable in their own bodies. These are little things one may never consider offensive. These baby steps are important and may provide change and acceptance for those who identify as non-binary. 

Terms to Use to Avoid Sexist Language

Language to UseLanguage Not to Use
Chair or ChairpersonChairman
First year studentFreshman
Flight attendantStewardess
Police officerPoliceman

Mount Holyoke College shows how a university can use inclusive language to make all their students feel welcome. Through terms like equity, power, and diversity they are providing an exceptional diverse and inclusive learning community. They believe that mutual respect allows everyone involved to thrive and contribute to the flourishing of others. This respect allows students to grow and feel like they matter in their years at the school. They provide gender-inclusive restrooms everywhere on campus which shows their dedication to inclusivity. They also do not provide housing spaces designated by gender and instead is a lottery system. This allows all students to be treated equally instead of by how they identify. 

TransFamily Support Services provides information that guides transgender/non-binary youth and their families through the transition process. They try their best to help make it a positive process through family coaching, healthcare/insurance assistance, support groups, and education training. TransFamily Support Services provides their services with no costs. They provide training to schools, medical professionals, and the workforce. It is important to note why this research is vital it shows how the trans population is being impacted. In our project we hope to assist and prevent these events from happening. This is one step in a long process and every part of it will help someone in need. 

For the event we wanted to come up with ideas of how to approach people and get their attention so they would want to speak with us about our project. In the end we decided to create buttons to give to people after they answered the questions we made. This process was one of the more creative points of the project. Next Ed considered what it meant to be apart of the LGBTQI community and how we could show our support for them. We played with the idea of combining masculine and feminine identities. We pictured a person with half of their body being one identity and the other half being another. After much thought we decided to go with something on the simpler side due to the size of the buttons we were given to work with. We thought it would be a great idea to combine the gay and trans flag to show support for both communities. We made 3 buttons one of them states “Be You, Human” and two others state “Unleashing Voice”. We used hearts and roses with each half representing the different flags. The “Be You, Human” button has the word human multicolored with both flags. 

Leading up to the events at pride we created a list of 3 questions to ask people attending. The questions needed to be simple so that we could get information fast. The questions were as follows: 

“Why do you think it is important for schools to be inclusive of trans rights?”

“What is most important for trans students to feel comfortable in school? At home?”

“What policies are most important for trans students to feel safe?”

Through these questions we hoped to collect information for our project to understand what trans students need to succeed and feel safe in school. These findings could assist in creating a guide for schools to follow. 

The day of pride we ran into two teenage students from Sisu Academy that showed up to support the community. They were excited to help us with our research. It was amazing watching them get excited over the culture, to see them learn about the community and uncover why pride events happen. At the event we decided to change our plan of asking people questions because we did not want to interrupt their experience. We began to hand out buttons to people around the pride parade, people were genuinely excited to see our fun buttons. After 30 minutes of walking around the parade we decided to join in and walk in the parade. It was a fun experience for all parties involved and the students had a great time. After passing out buttons for sometime we noticed we were beginning to run low and we decided to pass buttons to people with trans flags and ask them if they could email any resources to us. 

From this process we learned that we need to come earlier and go inside the event to visit different vendors to get resources. Although passing out buttons was beneficial to an extent we did not get the information we were hoping for. It is our hope that we find other LGBTQI events to attend so that we can perfect our methods and get the information we need for our project. For the future of the project we are trying to get in contact with more partners around the area to get more information. We are continuing to speak with SD Pride and the San Diego Unified school district. If you are interested in being part of this research, please email [email protected]

Special thanks to Ashley Price from Syracuse University and Josselene Jimenez from CSU San Marcos for all your help during the event!

Written By – Jonathan Jimenez – Research Associate