Trumbull Schools Presentation

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Sense of Safety in Schools:

  THS Statistics:

-According to the 2021 GLSEN National School Climate Survey that asks LGBTQIA* Youth to discuss factors that contribute to their sense of safety in school, these are the top negatives they experience:

Hearing biased remarks, including homophobic remarks, in school;
• Feeling unsafe in school because of personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation, gender
expression, gender, or race/ethnicity;
• Missing classes or days of school because of safety reasons;
• Experiencing harassment and assault in school and online; and
• Experiencing discriminatory policies and practices at school.

-While the following are supportive resources:

• GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexuality Alliances) or similar clubs;
• Supportive and inclusive school policies, such as anti-bullying/harassment policies and transgender
and nonbinary student policies;
Supportive school staff; and
Curricular resources that are inclusive of LGBTQ+-related topics.

Reference: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network

Sexuality and Gender Identity:

In our society we are used to a gender binary- you are either male or female. Usually people are assigned a sex at birth, which we interpret also as their gender identity and presentation. For example, you are assigned Female at birth, and your gender identity is woman. We have many assumptions about what that means and we start responding to babies right away! In different cultures and throughout history this gender binary did not always exist or looks very different. Many people do not feel they fit within this binary and don’t feel they are “male” or “female,” despite the sex and gender identity they are assigned at birth and assumed to be.

Transgender: A person whose assigned sex at birth does not match their internal sense of their gender identity. Not all, but many trans people experience dysphoria, which means an intense uncomfortable feeling of “wrongness” in one’s body. Dysphoria can be relieved by things such as name changes, social changes like hair, clothing, hormone blockers or therapies to alter secondary sex characteristics more masculine/feminine, gender affirming surgeries, and affirming behavior from those who interact with the person.

Non-Binary: A person who does not feel their gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth, and falls outside of the gender binary of “male” or “female.” There are many different types of non-binary identities such as agender or gender fluid. There is no right way to be, look, or act non-binary.

The rest of the LGBTQ alphabet:

What is genderfluid? What does it feel like to be genderfluid?

How Can Schools Be Supportive to Students with Gender and Sexual Differences?

  • Familiarize yourself with different types of people presenting with different genders and sexual identities- meet them and get to know them, watch videos or shows, follow online social media pages, etc.
  • Use affirming language – respect pronouns, refer to all people neutrally unless you know their gender
  • Understand that to be a member of the LGBTQIA* community is stressful in many ways, and many people have traumatic experiences or vicarious traumatic experiences that impact their mental health. Many of our youth do not have a safe home environment.
  • Help the student navigate situations that may cause dysphoria such as: using bathrooms that feel safe, using the locker room that feels safe or finding an alternative changing location, and avoid separating based on boys/girls binaries during classroom activities.
  • Correct others who might misgender the person and share helpful information.
  • Work toward an understanding that a range of gender/sexuality differences and all differences are within the realm of normal human diversity, and should be celebrated!


  1. This student doesn’t look trans or non-binary. They look like a boy/girl but are telling me they are trans or non-binary. I’m confused?
    • Gender identity is not the same as gender presentation! What someone chooses to look like (gender presentation) does not necessarily reflect how they feel inside. For example, someone may know they are transgender but it might not feel safe for them to look like their true self. Someone else might enjoy looking femme but identify as agender.
  2. It’s hard to change pronouns for a student I have known for a long time. I have continued to call them by their same name and pronouns I have always used and they don’t correct me or anything, they don’t really seem to care or respond. I guess I don’t need to change anything?
    • Not true! It’s actually really hard for trans and non-binary people to correct others when they are misgendered. It feels like a burden, and they are usually internally feeling very distressed. Sometimes asking them about it can help, and if you put in the effort to use correct name and pronouns that person will feel supported by you! Even one person can make a huge difference.
    • Practice practice practice! It can help to say three things about a student who has changed to help your brain remember. For example: Max has a green logo on their shirt. I gave them an A on their last homework assignment. They have short brown hair.
  3. I notice no one else has changed pronouns for a student after they came out. What should I do?
    • Talk to the student and talk to your colleagues to make sure correct name and pronouns are being used.
    • Example: “Hey, I remember you shared that you are going by Max now. Is that still the case? Are your pronouns still they/them? I noticed not a lot of people are respecting that change. Is it okay if I remind other students or teachers about this?”
  4. Are kids claiming trans or non-binary identities because it’s trendy or they see their friends or people on tik-tok doing it and want to fit in?
    • This is a really common and understandable misconception. Studies show that the higher prevalence of “out” trans and non-binary people leads more youth to feel safe enough to come out themselves, so it might seem like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon when in fact they do experience gender and sexuality differently. Because it’s often unsafe to come out, it’s important to believe someone even if you have your doubts. If you are concerned about a student, you can talk with their social worker and a referral for counseling can be made to further assess how someone feels.
    • It’s also within the realm of a healthy and normal response to try on different things to see what fits! It’s very common that gender expansive folks will, for example, come out as gay before realizing they are transgender, and then they may change their name and pronouns a couple of times to see what feels right! Almost none of us make immediate and permanent decisions about who we are then never change and that goes for gender and sexuality as well.
    • Reference:


Role play the following scenarios and how you would handle each situation. Feel free to discuss with the group as you go along. For each scenario, identify what is happening, how the student might feel, and what you should do as the teacher.

Scenario 1:

-You are talking to a student who recently came out as trans and non-binary and has changed their name from Hope (she/her) to Max (they/them). You forget and accidentally use their old name and pronouns when another student interrupts you to ask you a question about their project. 

Scenario 2:

-Max from scenario 1 is in your class and you overhear some students having a conversation and laughing in earshot of Max. You don’t hear everything, but you hear the students say, “right cause she’s supposedly trans now,” and another student says “What parts does she have? Maybe she’ll change in our locker room now, you’d like that wouldn’t you!”

Scenario 3:

-You are in a PPT meeting for Max (Max is not present) and each teacher and administrator as well as Max’s parents are going around the table talking about their grades and school performance. You notice that no one in the meeting is saying Max or using their pronouns (they/them). 

Resources for LGBTQIA* Students Presentation

-Diversity in classrooms:

-The LGBTQIA+ “Alphabet” meanings:

-Pronoun Practice:

-TED Talk on Anatomy :

Resources for Teachers and Students:

  • Scarleteen:
  • Trevor Project:
  • GLBT National Help Center:
    • Free and confidential telephone and e-mail peer-counseling, information and local resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. 
    • Hotline: 800-246-PRIDE

Thank you for attending!

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