Supporting transgender students in SD#79: finding belonging in a school community
Youth that identify as transgender or gender variant are reported to have a harder time finding belonging in a school community. This study explored the experiences of these youth in several schools on Vancouver Island. Qualitative data collection was done through anonymous surveys, one-on-one interviews with youth, as well as through the collection of student-created art. Data analysis revealed four main areas where schools and school districts could further support transgender and gender variant youth: the creating of gender-neutral change rooms/locker rooms, gender-neutral washrooms, teachers using the students chosen pronoun and chosen name, creating an ideal gender-neutral place as a place for transgender and gender variant youth to have a safe space to simply “be”. This study suggests that creating a sense of belonging where transgender and gender variant youth can feel accepted and welcomed is an important factor in these students staying in school, as well as creating and maintaining student wellbeing.