Transgender Inclusion

Common Barriers

What gets in the way of supporting and including transgender students? See some of the common barriers to transgender inclusion in schools.

Lack of Knowledge

Most educators and parents do not understand gender identity and, as a result, harbor stereotypes and misconceptions about what it means to be transgender. These misconceptions can lead to the adoption of policies and practices that are based on unwarranted fears and concerns rather than on the accurate information that should guide policy development. Such policy includes unnecessary surgical procedures, official identity document changes, hormone treatments, or case-by-case reviews that can restrict or preclude the opportunity for transgender students to play sports according to their gender identity.

Education and factual information is the key. All members of the school community should receive information and education about gender identities, school or district non-discrimination policies, the use of preferred names and pronouns, and expectations for creating a respectful school climate for all students. Try:

  • Providing training for school staff
  • Developing lesson plans/activities within the classroom
  • Creating district policies that support all students and are enforced in every school
  • Conducting meeting with parents
  • Sharing information via a newsletter
  • Identifying and enlisting parent allies

Lack of Preparation/Education

Even when schools adopt an inclusive policy that is consistent with Title IX and based on accurate information, failing to provide education about transgender identity and those policies and practices can sabotage enforcement. Educating parents and community members, as well as coaches and other school staff responsible for enacting policies and practices, is a foundational precondition to effective implementation of inclusive policies and practices.


Human Rights Campaign — Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools:

National Center for Transgender Equality — Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students: Your Rights at School: