Support for Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Students
Hello, I hope you and your loved ones are well. My name is Dr. Jeff Moe and I am writing in support of the proposed inclusive policy related to transgender and gender non-binary students in Virginia. In my professional life I am a scholar on gender identity and sexual orientation identity issues in counseling and development, and I hope that you know the science deeply supports inclusive and affirming policies for transgender and gender non-binary students, adults, and families. School systems that are safer for transgender and gender non-binary children, adolescents, and youth are safer for all students regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Recent studies indicate that the average life expectancy for transgender women of color is approximately 35 years old; this is a result of the life long marginalization, discrimination, oppression, and violence that this multiply marginalized community faces starting in childhood. Transgender and gender non-binary youth are more likely to be the victims of violence in their families, schools, and communities. They are also more likely o experience homelessness as a result of being rejected by their primary caregivers; the risk profile for transgender and gender non-binary youth to experience at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) including bullying and violence in school is clear. Schools where the faculty, staff, and administration are affirming and inclusive towards transgender and gender non-binary youth not only experience overall reductions in bullying and truancy, but also experience enhanced academic success. There is no evidence that transgender inclusion has any negative impact on other students in a school; schools that can work through the potentially difficult conversation to create safe spaces for transgender and gender non-binary students are better academic institutions. The proposed policy is evidence-based, ethical, and in the spirit of our American values of diversity, inclusion, and affirmation of minority rights.
Jeff Moe, Ph.D., L.P.C.