As a faculty member in the School of Education at William & Mary, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Counselor Educator, and the parent of two transgender teenagers, I believe this policy is essential to the physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being of transgender youth. A 2020 survey of transgender youth indicated the following:
My own child came home from school today extremely distressed at being misgendered by a substitute teacher because he wore makeup. For those who cannot understand the experience of having you personhood denied by others, please try to image how it would feel if you were continually referred to by others as a gender other than the one with which you identify. Moreso, imagine how it would feel if the person you loved most in the world (your child) lived in a world where every day they were told they were sick, damaged, wrong, unnatural, mentally ill, and the many, many other messages that they get from a cisnormative culture daily.
This policy can make a difference in preventing harm to our children. We can make a difference in protecting our youth and ensuring their right to a safe and supportive educational environment.
Please put this policy in place so that all children are guaranteed the safety to learn and grow in a supportive and safe environment; so that they know that their lives matter!
Dr. Noelle St. Germain-Sehr