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10 Challenges Transgender and Queer Students Face in Schools

Many transgender and non-binary students experience difficulties in schools.

Freepik/flag photo created by Freepik
Source: Freepik/flag photo created by Freepik

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights have seen significant progress in recent years in many countries. For many LGBTQ students, being open about their sexual orientation and sexual identity on campus no longer have the same stigma and repercussions as they might have experienced in the recent past.

However, many challenges remain for LGBTQ students as they navigate their school and social environments, including whether to “come out” in class, how to respond when a fellow student or instructor makes homophobic remarks, how to respond when being treated as “different” or “strange”, how to deal with negative gossip, and how to cope with bullying, to name just a few examples.

In particular, for transgender and non-binary (gender-queer) students there continues to be significant difficulties on a regular basis regarding how to conduct themselves in various campus environments and scenarios. There may be heightened stress and anxiety over certain decisions that may lead to rejection, ridicule, hostility, or institutional persecution.

Below are ten challenges transgender and non-binary/genderqueer students often encounter on campus, with references from my books How to Let Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions and How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People . Depending on the individual and her/his/their circumstances and environment, the number and degree of challenges will differ.

1. Whether to use the “women’s” or “men’s” restroom due to lack of gender-neutral facility or inadequate signage.

2. Whether to use the “women’s” or “men’s” gymnasium.

3. Whether to use the “women’s” or “men’s” shower.

4. Whether to apply to live in the “women’s” or “men’s” dormitory.

5. Whether to participate on “women’s” or “men’s” sports teams.

6. How to identify themselves on documents when the gender section only provides two options: “male” or “female”.

7. Whether they will be allowed to apply for grants and scholarships intended for “women students”.

8. Whether they will be allowed to use student services such as the “women’s center”.

9. Whether they will be allowed to use student medical services such as the “women’s health clinic”.

10. How to respond when identified and called with the incorrect pronoun, either mistakenly or deliberately, by college staff and fellow students.

For tips on how to handle homophobia and sexual identity, sexual-orientation-related stress, see references below.

© 2021 by Preston C. Ni. All rights reserved worldwide. Copyright violation may subject the violator to legal prosecution.

References

Ni, Preston. How to Let Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions. PNCC. (2014)

Ni, Preston. Are You Highly Sensitive? How to Gain Immunity, Peace, and Self-Mastery!. PNCC. (2017)

Ni, Preston. How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People — 2nd Edition. PNCC. (2006)

Ni, Preston. How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult Teenagers. PNCC. (2015)

Ni, Preston. How to Reduce Anxiety & Increase Certainty in Difficult Situations – A Practical Guide. PNCC. (2016)

LGBTQ Student Resources & Support

https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/lgbtq-student-support/

LGBTQ Student Resources & Support

https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/lgbtq-student-support/

LGBTQ Support Services

https://www.healthiersf.org/LGBTQ/

Trans Student Educational Resources

https://www.transtudent.org/

5 Things You Can Do to Support Your LGBTQ Students

https://www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/5-things-you-can-do-support-your-lgbtq-students1809.html

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