An umbrella term used to describe all kinds of people who sit outside the gender binary or who’s gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. (Note that the term is not transgendered…it’s intentionally in the present tense, not the past tense. It’s a state of being.)
- Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or boy or girl.)
- People in the transgender community may describe themselves using one (or more) of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, and non-binary. Always use the term used by the person.
- You should address a person who is transgender like you would treat anyone else: with respect, dignity, and kindness. But here are a few things to remember:
- It is derogatory to use the terms “He-She,” “She-Male,” or “It”
- It is derogatory to use the term “transgendered” (past tense); this is who they are, not what “happened” to them
- If you are unsure of a person’s gender, nicely and sincerely ask them how they identify or what pronoun they’d prefer
- Transgender students and restroom use (Counselor Talk, September 2017):
Our transgender student goes to the nurse’s clinic to use the restroom
Here is an additional resource that states, “You have the right to use restrooms and locker rooms that match your gender identity, and you can’t be forced to use separate facilities. If you feel safer or more comfortable using a private space, or if you’d like to use a separate space for a short period of time, you can request that—but your school can’t force you or pressure you into using a separate restroom or locker room if you don’t want to.”
Currently there is only one state has specified “bathroom legislation,” Texas. Their law was passed in July of this year and has not fully been implemented yet. Almost all states have attempted to pass a law but they have been struck down in either committee, on the floor, or overruled by state supreme/appeals court. Without a specific state law, the federal law is what is the prevailing rule and that is Title IX, therefore you will not see anything referring to specifically Indiana. Protections for transgender students “did not spring into existence because of the Obama guidance; rather, the Obama guidance codified existing protections provided by Title IX. As a result, schools around the country continue to have a legal obligation to protect these students’ rights, including equal access to facilities consistent with their gender identity, even following the guidance’s withdrawal” (1). Additionally, “Schools are still barred from discriminating against students based on sex under federal law. Henegar says that if a transgender student is being treated differently than their peers by school administration – such as being forced to use a single-user bathroom – that could constitute as discrimination” (2). The most direct Indiana reference I am aware of is Indiana stating they will following the ruling of the Ashton Whitaker case where the a unanimous ruling by a district court panel ruled in the favor of the student in the ninth district (3).
- Indiana Youth Group Graham Brinklow at IYG is a wonderful resource and will give you great student-centered advice. Contact him at gbrinklow@indianayouthgroup.
org or 317-970-9586
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- ALGBTIC. They are a division of the American Counseling Association.
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This post was last modified by Kelly Dunn on June 18, 2018.
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