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Address transgender and nonbinary students' needs

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“In the state of Pennsylvania, students who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12  reported alarming rates of harassment (74%), physical assault (23%) and sexual violence (9%). Harassment was so severe that it led 11% to leave a school in K-12 settings or leave higher education.”

- National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 2013

 

To the end of creating a healthy, wholesome, and respectful learning environment within the community of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, it is the belief of we the undersigned that provisions should be made to recognize and respect the varying identities of the entirety of our school’s population. Specifically, we request that the needs of our school’s transgender community, including those of gender non-conforming  and non-binary identities, be formally and thoroughly addressed.

 

We, the undersigned, hereby call upon the administration of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts to amend school policy and/or institute new policies to further inclusivity of the transgender community therein. This policy should include:

 

  • A protocol for getting to know and respecting each student’s gender identity and preferred personal pronouns and names (ex: upon meeting a student/students, faculty members ask their preferred name/pronouns/gender and make a note of it for future reference)

  • Requirement of faculty to recognize students’ identities and utilize correct pronouns and names (ex: a student whose preferred pronouns are they/them/theirs and preferred name is Awen should be referred to as such)

  • Requirement to allow and provide for the potential fluctuation of said identities/pronouns (ex: a student whose birth name is Noriko and pronouns are she/her but later decides they prefer the name Barney and the pronouns he/him/his and notifies their teachers of this change should be referred to as such thereafter)

  • Requirement of faculty to use gender-neutral pronouns (they/them/their) when speaking of students whose preferred pronouns they do not know

  • Requirement of faculty to avoid bisexist language when teaching/addressing students (ex: phrases such as “both genders/sexes”, “either gender/sex”, “the opposite gender/sex”, or “he or she”; alternatives to these would be phrases such as “all genders/sexes”, “any gender/sex”, “another gender/sex”, and “they”.)

  • The permission of all students to use their gender’s restroom and/or changing room, regardless of its relation to their assigned or perceived gender (ex: a transgender male student using the men’s restroom)

  • The permission of students to wear their preferred performance garb regardless of their anatomy (ex: a transgender female student wearing a dress rather than a tux for a school choir concert or an assigned-female-at-birth nonbinary student wearing a tux rather than a dress)

  • The designation of at least one (1) gender-neutral bathroom in the new school building for students who are transitioning and/or gender-variant students who do not feel comfortable going into a male or female bathroom

 

For more information regarding transgender rights issues and terminology, we recommend the following websites and organizations:

 

http://srlp.org/resources/trans-101/

  • from the Sylvia Rivera Law Project

 

http://transgenderlawcenter.org/

Transgender Law Center

 

http://transequality.org/Resources/TransTerminology_2014.pdf

 

  • from the National Center for Transgender Equality



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