Accommodations are underway for transgender students living in Massachusetts.
Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education made it the law that transgender students should be allowed to play on the sports teams and use restrooms according to their gender identification.
According to the Huffington Post, the new directives read:
“These students, because of widespread misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about their lives, are at a higher risk for peer ostracism, victimization, and bullying. Some students may feel uncomfortable sharing those facilities, but this discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”
The decree was enacted to help schools follow Massachusetts’ 2011 equal opportunity law, protecting those residents of transgender persuasion.
Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition said in a statement:
“Research shows that transgender and gender non-conforming students suffer higher rates of verbal harassment, physical harassment, and physical assault in school.”
Gunner Scott acknowledges that there “is a lot of misunderstanding about transgender students and that some schools may not have the internal expertise to address all issues of concern as they arise.”
The bathroom issue still troubles some local school committee members. According to the Stoughton Journal, Brockton School Committee member Thomas Minichiello said:
“I don’t have daughters. But if I did … I don’t think I’d feel comfortable having a boy going in the bathroom when my daughter is there.”
Certain steps and education will definitely be necessary to ensure the full accommodation of transgender students and their parents. This is definitely good news for transgender students.
How do you feel about Massachusetts accommodating transgender students?
— Elizabeth Liedel (@E_Liedel) February 19, 2013