Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

OPINION 'Trans-formal' education
by Bob Chikos
2020-02-05

This article shared 3068 times since Wed Feb 5, 2020
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


"The year started well, but substitute teachers were not told about Dave's name," my friend Pat told me. "My son was called a distinctly feminine name in a time and at a place where no one knew he was transgender. Without his consent. Without his permission. Without his control. He was outed. Everyone in that class knew. By lunch, the whisper network had grown."

Three months before this event, Dave had transferred to a new district; his former district did nothing about the LGBTQ bullying he had endured. In fact, when Dave reported the bullying to a staff member, the response was that Dave's gender identity—not the bullying—was the problem.

Dave's story is not unusual. Many transgender students around the country are unsupported in their schools. The statistics on the educational experiences of transgender and gender nonconforming students are alarming. According to the 2017 National School Climate Survey by GLSEN, more than 71 percent of LGBTQ students report hearing negative comments about gender expression from school staff. More than 40 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming students are prevented from using their chosen name and pronoun or are forced to use a bathroom or locker room inconsistent with their gender. Many are disciplined for actions that would not have resulted in discipline for straight or cisgender students, such as wearing clothing based on their gender identity. Students victimized for being transgender or gender nonconforming are almost three times as likely to have missed a day of school over the past month, have a lower GPA, lower self-esteem and higher rates of depression.

Fortunately, for students who attend schools with supportive staff, these discrepancies are all but erased. In 2014, my district held an all-staff training on gender. As a teacher, I learned a lot from that training. First, the number of transgender teens is much higher than I had believed. According to the Williams Institute of UCLA, about 0.7 percent of teens are transgender. The high school where I teach has 1,508 students. This means that, statistically, my school would be home to about 11 transgender students.

I learned from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children who are transgender understand their gender at an average age of 8.5 years—but typically repress those feelings for an average of 10 years. At this point, it became very clear to me that teachers of students at all age levels need to understand best practices regarding student gender identity.

I learned how to create a safe classroom through simple techniques: When I divide a class, I can use birthday month, hair length, shirt color and many other factors aside from gender. I can address my students by our school mascot, "tigers," rather than "ladies and gentlemen" to be inclusive of students who are gender non-conforming. One suggested change stuck with me: listing students' preferred names and pronouns on sub plans. If only Dave's teacher had known about that accommodation.

We also learned some ideas that required bigger changes on my part and the part of other teachers. It is as important to intervene when we hear LGBTQ-phobic slurs as it is when we hear racial slurs. School is oftentimes the only place LGBTQ students feel safe and a staff member may be the only adult they can trust.

Fortunately, Illinois is taking steps to ensure our students have affirming educational experiences. This year, the Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force released a report that outlines best practices for school districts. The legislature should pass their recommendations into law, as well as a staff training law similar to California's Safe and Supportive Schools Act of 2019. These actions would go a long way toward ensuring that students like Dave have an experience more like the students in my district, rather than the difficult one he endured at his high school.

Educators have a lot of responsibilities: preparing and delivering lessons, managing classrooms, addressing mental health concerns, preparing meals, transporting students to and from school. As a teacher, I know that it's nearly impossible to be all things to all stakeholders at once. But we can be a lifeline to our most important stakeholders: our students. Because Dave could be my student and Dave could be your student.

Bob Chikos teaches special education reading, math and pre-vocational classes at Crystal Lake Central High School in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow.


This article shared 3068 times since Wed Feb 5, 2020
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH Angela Davis, revolutionary
2021-10-24
By Victoria A. Brownworth - "You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time," said Angela Davis, 78, the country's most famous living revolutionary. She was born ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans women in sports, Grindr crime, 'Berlin Patient,' trans death
2021-10-24
Sports icon Billie Jean King, U.S. National Women's Soccer Team Co-Captain and World Cup Champion Megan Rapinoe, and WNBA stars Layshia Clarendon and Brianna Turner joined more than 150 fellow athletes in women's sports to support ...


Gay News

CTA proposes reduced fare changes
2021-10-22
During a time when the prices of just about everything seems to increase, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is proposing the opposite, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. The CTA has proposed slashing some fares to boost ...


Gay News

Author Margaret Atwood in anti-trans controversy
2021-10-21
The Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood has been called transphobic after she shared an article complaining about gender-neutral language on Twitter. According to PinkNews, the opinion piece—which Toronto Star columnist ...


Gay News

Celebrities support trans employees in Netflix walkout with video
2021-10-20
As the Netflix walkout in response to the company's continued support of Dave Chappelle's special The Closer was underway at the streamer's Los Angeles headquarters Oct. 20, a video that includes activists and Netflix talent alike ...


Gay News

Colorado becomes first state to require trans care as essential health benefit
2021-10-17
Colorado has become the first state in the country to include transition-related care for transgender people as part of the requirements for essential healthcare in the state, The Washington Blade reported. As part of the change, ...


Gay News

WORLD Plus magazine, The Guardian, Dutch princess, anti-trans ruling
2021-10-17
The largest circulated HIV publication in the country, Plus, unveiled its 25 Amazing People of the Year, per a press release. Just a few of the individuals are actor Billy Porter; Mandisa Nikita Dukashe: South African ...


Gay News

Attorneys general file pro-transgender brief
2021-10-15
A coalition of 20 attorneys general, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and New York counterpart Letitia James, filed an amicus brief in the case of Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, opposing the plaintiffs' efforts ...


Gay News

Chicago Plumbing Code allows all-gender multiple occupancy restrooms
2021-10-15
--From a Community Restroom Access Project (CRAP) press release - CHICAGO — The Community Restroom Access Project (CRAP) applauds passage Thursday by the Chicago City Council of the plumbing code modernization ordinance that will allow businesses and building owners to ...


Gay News

Dozens of celebrities, companies set to take part in Spirit Day on Oct. 21
2021-10-15
--From a press release - New York, NY, Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Today, GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced a preliminary list of celebrities, shows ...


Gay News

Brave Space Alliance's 'Out 'N Brave' panel on beauty, coming out
2021-10-14
By Cris Villalonga-Vivoni - Coming out is one of the most terrifying yet liberating experiences that an LGBTQ+ person must endure to achieve happiness. Brave Space Alliance (BSA)—Chicago's South Side, Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ resource ...


Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Pauli Murray, architect of history
2021-10-13
By Victoria A. Brownworth - (Note: The pronouns she/her are used in keeping with Murray's own writings, but Murray was a transmasculine and gender-nonconforming lesbian.) Some say Pauli Murray is the most important U.S. activist many have never heard of. An ...


Gay News

Trans employees plan Oct. 20 walkout at Netflix [UPDATE]
2021-10-13
Netflix's trans employee resource group is planning a company-wide walkout Wed., Oct. 20, to protest statements made by co-CEO Ted Sarandos regarding Dave Chappelle's latest comedy special The Closer, according to The Verge. "Trans Lives Matter. ...


Gay News

OP-ED The Black church was one of R. Kelly's enablers
2021-10-13
The long-awaited justice for R. Kelly's survivors finally came last month when a New York federal jury found him guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking. For nearly 30 years, underage Black girls and their families have ...


Gay News

Netflix suspends trans employee who tweeted about Chapelle special
2021-10-12
Netflix suspended a transgender employee who criticized the new Dave Chappelle stand-up special The Closer, writing on Twitter that Chappelle's jokes were harmful to transgender people and the LGBTQ community, NBC News noted. The company denied ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.