Gender Support Plan

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According to UCLA School of Law, around one in every five people who identify as transgender are aged 13-17. Many are only known by their given name and biological sex. Students who aren’t known by their chosen name and gender identity are often uncomfortable in the classroom. To make transgender students more comfortable at Stafford High School, a Gender Support Plan (GSP) is offered. 

The current GSP provides customizable plans for scenarios like overnight trips and situations where the student feels unsafe. The plan also provides accommodations such as private changing areas. “It was like, ‘On field trips, what bathroom do you want to use, which locker room do you want to use?’ If you don’t feel safe, what are you able to do?” Said Kidd O’Hara, a sophomore with a GSP.

When a plan is put in place, the student’s teachers will be notified and told what they should be calling the student; teachers and notified staff are expected to use the correct name and pronouns.

While the GSP has a basic outline, it’s curated by the family and school to fit every student’s individual needs. During this process, things like dress code or which district- and school-based staff should be made aware are both taken into account. “The plan has to be followed. Our teachers are wonderful to work with, but we follow this–this plan in place,” said Assistant Principal Benjamin Diggs. Whether or not the student is openly out about their gender identity is also considered. If a student isn’t openly out, guidance can be provided by the school to help that student open up about their identity.

For students under the age of 18, consent from at least one parent or guardian is required to get a Gender Support Plan. If a student is looking for a GSP, their counselor needs to be notified so a meeting can be scheduled – the meeting itself can take about an hour. Afterwards, the family will edit the plan where needed. Once a plan is in place, it takes about a week for things to change for the student. “It can take a couple of days – I would imagine up to a week as we go through this process and to notify,” said Diggs.

While this is the current GSP, if the ‘2022 Model Policies On the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools’ bill is passed, it’s likely to change.