New York transgender guidance says schools should hide gender transitions from parents

Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters about end of session legislative bills after a swearing-in ceremony for Court of Appeals Associate Judge Caitlin J. Halligan at the New York Court of Appeals in Albany, N.Y., Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Hans Pennink/AP

New York transgender guidance says schools should hide gender transitions from parents

New guidance from the New York State Education Department says school officials should keep parents in the dark about their child’s gender identity if the student does not consent to inform them.

The guidance, released Monday, was billed as a “framework and legal update” to the state’s guidance for schools on how to support transgender students. The guidance contains detailed instructions on how schools should handle a student who identifies as transgender but does not wish their parents to know about their gender identity.

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The guidance says school employees “should be mindful that some [transgender and gender expansive] students do not want or cannot have their parents/guardians know about their transgender status” and that informing parents of their child’s transgender identity “can have severe consequences for the student.”

School officials, the guidance says, should develop a “Gender Support Plan” alongside the student. Staff should call a student by the name and pronouns that correspond with the gender identity that the student claims, but when speaking to the student’s parents, they should use the student’s legal name and biological sex.

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The guidance offers an example of a biologically male student named Kevin who wishes to use she/her pronouns and the name Kimi at school. School staff, the guidance says, should address the student by Kimi and use she/her at school but call the student Kevin and use he/him when speaking to the student’s parents.

The Trevor Project, along with several other organizations and agencies, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, Pride for Youth, the Northwell Health Center for Transgender Care, and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, were consulted in drafting the guidance.

“Safe and supportive schools play a vital role in creating an inclusive and nurturing environment where transgender and gender expansive students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially,” New York Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa said in a statement. “This update was thoughtfully crafted and is the culmination of a robust stakeholder input process to ensure our schools not only promote the well-being and social emotional health of transgender and gender expansive students, but also foster a sense of respect and acceptance that allows them to fully engage in their educational pursuits and be successful both academically and in life.”

Several school districts across the country have faced lawsuits over policies that require school staff to avoid telling parents if their child wishes to adopt a gender identity at school that is different than their biological sex. The policies have been condemned by parental rights activists, who say school districts are interfering with the ability of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.

Erika Sanzi, the director of outreach for the parent activist organization Parents Defending Education, told the Washington Examiner in a statement that the citations in the New York guidance are “wildly biased” and that the state was prioritizing a political agenda over the academic instruction of students.

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“The Department of Education is more focused on political causes and social engineering than educating students in academic subjects,” Sanzi said. “They cite wildly biased sources and are relentless in the push to deceive parents about what’s going on with their own children. There really is no justification for this framework.”

The Washington Examiner has contacted the New York State Education Department for comment.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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