Gender Inclusive Puberty and Health Education: FAQs for Educators
Gender-inclusive puberty and health education is life-affirming for all students, and life-saving for some.

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Educators, school administrators, and other educational leaders may have questions or need more resources and support to implement the principles for gender inclusive puberty education. Gender Spectrum offers professional development for educators and others who work with children, youth and families. Click below to learn more about working with us.

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FAQs for Educators

Q: What’s the purpose of these principles?

By using the principles of gender-inclusive puberty and health education (PHE) in your classroom, you will help all students get foundational knowledge about gender, learn accurate information about gender and its relationship to human growth and development, and understand the diversity of pathways to adulthood and families. With a few adaptations to your current curriculum, these principles will help you create a classroom environment that affirms all students’ journeys through puberty, including transgender and Gender-expansive students who can suffer from serious health risks if they are marginalized in school. The principles are life-affirming for all students, and life-saving for some.

Q: Do I need to learn a new curriculum?

No. Your current PHE curriculum can be adapted to include the principles of gender-inclusion. Our guide includes suggested ways to adapt your language and approach to make your current curriculum inclusive.

Q: Will this meet my state’s requirements?

Yes. Incorporating the principles into your current curriculum will insure that you remain compliant with state or local guidelines.

Q: I’d like to adopt the principles but I’m not sure my administration will support me. What can I do?

Some organizations may be ready to adopt the principles immediately; others may want more background and support. Gender Spectrum can help: we have worked with hundreds of school districts, state education departments, and other educational and youth-serving organizations to build gender-inclusive environments. We have found that a great place to start is simply to ask, “How is our school accounting for the unique gender of all students?” Contact us for more information about our professional development work and how we can support you to make the case for this critical approach to PHE.

Q: I’m already teaching comprehensive puberty ed, do I still need these principles?

Yes. Very few current PHE curricula include a comprehensive approach to gender and gender-inclusion. Curricula that include a section on gender, for example, may still use unnecessarily gendered language or terms in other lessons. We recommend that educators review their current curriculum thoroughly with the principles of gender-inclusion in mind. We expect it will be helpful for determining where your current curriculum can be adjusted and how you can make adaptations that insure all students feel safe, seen and supported in your classroom.

Q: I already cover lesbian and gay sexuality in my classes, isn’t that enough?

No.  Binary notions of gender still frame many materials that reference LGBTQ people. Sexuality and gender are distinct and both need to be accounted for to insure that classrooms are inclusive of all students.

Q: What if I don’t have any transgender kids in my classroom?

Like each student’s journey through puberty, gender is uniquely personal to each of us and gender-inclusive PHE benefits all students. Further, as teachers we can never be sure that we know the Gender identity of every young person in our classrooms. It is virtually certain that you have students who do not conform to the rigid, binary ideas about gender that prevail in our society, and many who feel their experience is somehow off course. Each and every one of these students are supported by a gender-inclusive approach to PHE.  

Q: This is new to me – what if I do something wrong and look foolish, or if I make my transgender students feel uneasy?

Gender is evolving rapidly, and much of this is new to all of us! You can tell your students when something is new or uncomfortable for you — they will likely appreciate your openness and willingness to try. If your students use different pronouns or new terms for their gender identities, they can teach you, and help you make the classroom a safe place. The first step is to simply make an effort, and not worry about doing it perfectly. As long as you are clear that your intent is to be welcoming to all students and willing to learn new ideas, your students will follow your lead. What’s most important is that you model being open and accepting of experiences and language with which you are unfamiliar.