Young people who are perceived as gender nonconforming, or who identify as trans or gender queer, regularly face harassment and abuse at school, in group homes, and other settings. Transgender Law Center has worked with many individual students and families to advocate for their right to have a safe place to learn. We also help young people organize and advocate to stand up for their rights: for instance, for the last few years we have co-sponsored the annual Queer Youth Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Additionally, we regularly advise schools and other institutions that contact us with questions about their legal obligations or best practices with respect to trans or gender variant youth.
Transgender Law Center provides information and assistance to help parents and legal guardians navigate the challenges that can arise when a young person is transitioning, including accessing medical care like puberty blockers or hormones, filing for a legal name or gender change, and making sure that the school is respecting the student’s gender identity.
- Beyond the Binary: A Tool-Kit for Gender Identity Activism in Schools: this publication, co-created with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, provides students and their allies with practical and accessible tools to support their efforts to make schools safe and welcoming for all students regardless of gender identity. Generously funded by the Gill Foundation
- Quick Steps You Can Take to Move Your School Beyond the Binary
An executive summary of Beyond the Binary
- California Safe Schools Coalition: Model School District Policy Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students
Transgender Law Center is committed to making our schools safer for transgender and gender nonconforming youth. Through partnerships with groups like GSA Network, we are working with young people to improve the laws and policies that effect them. We work with the California Department of Education to make sure the great laws we have actually mean that students are free from harassment and bullying, have equal access to facilities and programs, have their names, pronouns and gender expressions respected, and are able to thrive.
On the federal level, in 2011 we submitted comments to the United States Commission on Civil Rights for their hearing on peer violence. We discussed to barriers transgender and gender nonconforming youth are facing in schools across the country. That testimony is available here.
There are many ways to get involved in our student safety work. Join us at Transgender Advocacy Day and the Transgender Leadership Summit to learn more about your rights and how to educate policy makers, teachers and administrators. Share your story with us so we can use it in our advocacy by emailing us.
California Education Committee, LLC v. Jack O’Connell
This lawsuit was filed in 2008 by anti-LGBT organizations who sought to overturn California’s nondiscrimination laws that protect students from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Among other things, the lawsuit claimed that the nondiscrimination law had led one school to permit a transgender middle school boy to use the boys’ locker room, which the anti-LGBT organizations claimed violated the privacy rights of a non-transgender boy who had to share the locker room with him. Along with our co-counsel – the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the Law Office of David C. Codell – we filed an amicus brief supporting the laws and arguing that the supposed privacy claim was baseless. The Sacramento Superior Court issued a decision in June 2009 upholding the nondiscrimination statutes and dismissing the lawsuit.
Youth Related Blog Posts:
- UPDATED: Joint statement in response to Hercules High School incident March 4, 2014
- Breaking: Attempt to Repeal the School Success and Opportunity Act Fails February 24, 2014
- CROWNED! First Black Transgender Homecoming King February 10, 2014
- Progress: Transgender Student Facing Battery Charge for Defending Herself Enters Restorative Justice Program February 6, 2014
- Maine Supreme Court Supports Opportunities for Transgender Youth January 30, 2014