Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive identities are not something to be debated: Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive adults exist. Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth exist. We have always existed and we will continue to prevail. Leaders and lawmakers who have a responsibility to keep us safe and work in our best interests, whether by job description or sworn oath, are not. This guide was developed as a direct response to the onslaught of anti-transgender disinformation and legislation in the U.S.
Since the dawn of the “Gay Rights Movement,” transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive (TGNE) people have been silenced, erased, and de-centered from the discourse. Efforts to amplify our voices have left even the most seemingly devoted allies to still confuse gender identity with sexual orientation. Even using anti-racism and racial justice lenses to center the most marginalized voices has led to conversations filled with more questions than answers. We have taken the time to analyze what has already been created and have developed this guide as a map for youth-serving adults in schools to help TNGE young people find their way to safety, and hopefully to a joy-filled life.
This resource guide uses the theory of intersectionality – coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 – to refer specifically to the intersection of identities facing oppression. Crenshaw’s groundbreaking theory of intersectionality has been used to similarly highlight the ways other communities face intersecting oppressions, such as transgender and queer Black and Brown youth. This guide centers Black and Brown young people and provides general practices that support all TNGE young people in schools. The needs of Black and Brown youth are centered throughout the contents to best contextualize the broader socio-political context of gender and sexuality in U.S. schools.
This resource guide also serves as a working document to answer some preliminary questions about gender identity and sexual orientation through a racial justice lens, but it will not answer every question, solve every problem, or respond to every need. Our vision for this guide, and the adults supporting young people who use it, is that rather than search several places for resources, this guide can serve as a foundational starting point that quickly connects to other community vetted information and support.