Support for Transgender and Transsexual Youth in Schools
Conference given by Julie Montpetit and Anne Marie Da Silva
Trans people can experience higher levels of unemployement, homeslessness, job discrimination, harassment, physical violence and sexual assault. This can lead to drug and alcohol abuse; increase rates of STI’s as well as there are higher rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts. Trans youth are the most at risk for severe forms of bullying and violence. However, it’s not for being trans. It’s because of the discrimination regarding being trans.
The locations in which trans youth feel unsafe are locations that are not well supervised and that have heavy traffic. For example, this can include identified changing rooms, washrooms and hallways or stairwells.
Signs to watch out for regarding the harassment or bullying of a trans student:
- Those who avoid other students
- Those who skip school
- Those who are invisible: Ex – hide away during the most crowded time (breaks, beginning/ end of school, lunch)
- Those who are vigilant and constantly monitoring other student’s behaviours
- Those who are prepared
Gender variances are behaviours that are stereotypically linked to a specific sex. There are different degrees of gender variance:
- None: no discomfort between sex and gender
- Low: some discomfort between sex and gender
- High: Persistent, ongoing and intense discomfort between sex and gender
[For those who are unfamiliar with the concepts of sex, gender identity, gender expression and attraction, I strongly recommend you click the here to learn more about these concepts using the GenderBread person! 🙂 ]
There are 6 misconceptions regarding trans people
- We know what causes transsexualism
• There is no cause. It has always existed. Now, it is just more accepted and therefore, much easier to talk about.
- People choose to be transgender or transsexual
• It is not a choice. It’s just part of their being, of who they are.
- All transgender individuals want to change their natal (birth) sex
• Not all people who identify wish to change their gential organs.
- It’s just a phase
• It’s not a phase. It’s the parent’s role as well as the school’s to support them at all times.
- All children who exhibit cross-gender behaviour are transsexuals
• No. Just because a little boy plays with a Barbie doll doesn’t mean he will feel female and vice versa for a little girl. It won’t “cause” them to identify as trans. It’s OKAY to experiment as children.
- Transsexual youth can be cured
• No they can’t because there is no cause. Therefore, we don’t talking about cause nor cure.
Montpetit and Da Silva feel that education regarding LGBT should start in schools. More specifically, that it should start in elementary schools by reading books. The younger the better! This is very easy to do because students read many books in primary and secondary school. Therefore, it would be great to include some LGBT books that are obligatory. Here’s a list of books for students in primary and high school that deliver a positive LGBT message.
If you’d like more information, you can also visit the website of La table nationale de lutte contre l’homophobie et la transphobie des reseaux de l’education. It will give you access to the English and French resources from this year’s seminar. You have access to folders, guides, literature, teaching materials, policies, legislation and action plans, research as well as multimedia resources! 🙂
To read more on all of the seminar’s conferences, click here for the main article!