Supporting Transgender and Transsexual Students in K-12 Schools: A Guide for Educators

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  • The Canadian Teachers’ Federation continues to support the right of all students, teachers, and parents to a safe, inclusive, and welcoming school environment. The learning atmosphere of a school is dependent on a broad environment of social interaction within a diverse community of human potential, individual growth, and deep commitment to engaged citizenry. Increasingly our pluralistic society recognizes that quality education requires more than mere tolerance. To move beyond tolerance, or the “putting up with difference”, we must engage our ethical, moral, and professional responsibilities in order to embrace and to learn from diversity and difference. We must see this as a critical opportunity for self and social improvement. This deep engagement ought to include a sustained conversation in our schools on issues related to human sexuality, gender equality, and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The stark reality is that there is still much work for us to do if we are to move beyond shallow notions of tolerance and envision the day in which we will build truly genuine school cultures based on respect and dignity that not only support, but also affirm and celebrate the full range of human potential and diversity. This CTF publication is the fifth in an educational series designed for teachers, administrators, and counsellors who are seeking information and guidance on these complex and increasingly important social issues. This current guidebook is intended to increase professional knowledge, understanding, and sensitivity around transgender and transsexual students who research indicates are amongst the most at-risk groups of students for bullying, discrimination, and violence in our schools today. The authors write with great skill and compassion as they recognize the important and life-changing role that inclusive educational environments can play in building the personal resilience of transgender and transsexual students and their families. This guidebook is a ground-breaking, leading-edge, and timely resource for all who understand education as a critical means for raising the quality of life and potential for all students who walk through our school house doors. No child should go to school in fear. Wells, Roberts, and Allan compel us to question our taken-for-granted practices and to open up our hearts and minds to ensure that a truly inclusive education becomes a practice of freedom, liberation, and hope that we live out everyday in our classrooms and schools across the nation.

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    © 2012 Gayle Roberts, Carol Allan and Kristopher Wells. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Roberts, G. Allan, C. & Wells, K. (2012). Supporting Transgender and Transsexual Students in K-12 Schools: A Guide for Educators. Canadian Teachers' Federation.
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