Trans rights advocacy: City schools continue to provide support for students, staff

by abdulafeezoo
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In advocacy of trans right across New York City, education officials have continued to uphold and encourage support for trans students and staff.

New York City began putting guidance in place for transgender students nearly a decade ago, and continues to update and expand it, education officials said.

The city and state’s approach stands in stark contrast now to places like Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law in March prohibiting lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, and more than a dozen states that are considering similar proposals, part of a recent upswing in anti-LGBTQ legislation led by Republicans nationwide.

In Texas, a court paved the way last month for the child welfare agency to investigate parents for abuse if they provide gender-affirming care.

In New York, on the other hand, state guidance says that schools can determine whether to share a student’s gender identity with their family based on the student’s safety.

And while New York has protections in place, anti-transgender backlash still touches city schools, according to officials who worry about threats made to schools that incorporate gender identity discussions into the classroom.

While other parts of the country have seen a wave of new restrictions over teaching about gender identity, the nation’s largest school system has taken the opposite approach, adding an array of programs to support trangender and nonbinary students.

However, like most things within the nation’s largest school district, what happens across the city’s 1,600 schools often varies school to school and even classroom to classroom.

The city’s education department offers an LGBTQ+ curriculum to supplement existing history lessons, and it provides ongoing professional development opportunities for school staff, among other support for LGBTQ students, officials said.

There are Gender and Sexuality Alliance clubs at all grade levels that provide spaces for students to freely speak about their gender identities.

The department also provided direct funding to roughly 200 schools this year to establish identity-based electives.

“We are proud to support and accept all of our young people,” education department spokesperson Suzan Sumer said in an email.

“All NYC public schools are encouraged to provide resources and programs in support of LGBTQ+, non-binary and transgender students, staff, and community members.”

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