How to support LGBTQ students: New York education officials update guidance

How to support LGBTQ students: New York education officials update guidance

As some states pass anti-LGBTQ legislation, New York state education officials have moved in the opposite direction, issuing new guidance on Monday on how schools should support transgender and gender-expansive students.

The 42-page document includes a slew of information for schools, including the correct terminology to use for gender identity, or how to support students who are coming out at school or want to transition. It has information on students’ privacy rights — including in relation to their parents — and research about LGBTQ students’ experiences at school. It also outlines the laws that prohibit discrimination against students on the basis of their gender.

Many of these laws were created after the state’s initial guidance from 2015, said Kathleen DeCataldo, assistant commissioner of the state education department’s Student Support Service office. One of those laws is the GENDA Act, which in 2019 added gender identity and expression as a protected category to New York’s Human Rights Law.

The document also includes more information and resources for schools than the 2015 guidance. For example, the guidance released Monday includes 26 words schools should know in relation to LGBTQ students, such as misgendering. The older document had just eight words.

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