Madison Schools Step Up for Transgender Inclusion

Feb 23, 2018

While it may feel at times that an array of forces seem to be turning back gains made by Transgender and Non-binary students, there remains a large and growing group of professionals and institutions across the country dedicated to supporting their needs at school. One shining example is Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, WI. For years, MMSD has been working to systematically identify, codify and address the needs of their gender diverse students. Gender Spectrum has been a proud partner with them in this work, which has culminated in the district’s newly released resources for meeting the needs of these vulnerable youth. As schools Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham stated in the introduction to the new guidance document,

We have incredible transgender students, staff and families throughout our district. We will always support and be proud of our trans communities. We are also dedicated to creating inclusive and welcoming learning communities and we take seriously our responsibility to provide safe and nondiscriminatory environments for all students, including students of all gender identities. This includes our practice of allowing students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. We will not waver in our commitment to this and all other inclusive practices in our schools.

Anchored by this guidance document which features comprehensive information, practical tools and various best practices, the materials are the product of a strategic effort to weave gender inclusive approaches into the fabric of the district. This exemplary set or resources came about as a result of ongoing engagement with and listening to multiple stakeholders–teachers, administrators students, families, and local advocacy organizations chief among them. Moreover, Madison’s commitment to creating safe and supportive environments for their transgender and other Gender-expansive students demonstrates powerfully how such conditions are within reach of any schools or districts seeking them. Ultimately, their work represents a vision of gender inclusion that every educational institution can learn from and aspire to.