September 16, 2016
This article originally appeared in Advocate Magazine.
The Michigan State Board of Education has taken a major step toward protecting the rights and safety of LGBT students in the state. Today, the board voted 6-2 to approve a new set of statewide policy recommendations for the inclusion and support of LGBT and students at K-12 public schools, including a slate of reccommmendations focused specifically on transgender students.
The document covers a wide range of topics, including supporting inclusion of LGBT content in classrooms, encouraging faculty to engage in learning and training on LGBT students, protecting students from harassment, and collecting data on LGBT students’ achievement. More controversially, the document also makes clear recommendations that transgender students be a allowed access to bathroom and locker rooms congruent with the their gender identity.
It also includes provisions for protecting the identities of transgender students by classifying their birth name and transgender status as protected information, strongly encouraging staff to respect students’ choice of name and pronouns, and protecting students who are not yet out in their home environment.