In the past several years, the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people to access bathrooms, locker rooms, and other gender-segregated facilities has emerged as a highly contested public and political issue. Efforts to restrict access by TGNC people to facilities aligned with their sex assigned at birth have often focused on children and schools.

These political debates have often included rhetoric that if TGNC students use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, it will endanger other students. Yet a growing body of new research demonstrates that transgender students are among those who have the most negative experiences and least safety at school. Research has documented extensive bullying based on gender identity or expression, with consequences for TGNC students’ academic performance, attendance, educational aspirations, and feelings of safety at school. A recent national study of LGBTQ youth found that 75% of TGNC youth feel unsafe at school due to their gender expression, relative to 32% of cisgender (that is, non-transgender) males and 23% of cisgender females, and that TGNC youth report feeling particularly unsafe in bathrooms, locker, rooms, and gym class.

In this video, a student shares how inclusive policies that support TGNC youth can help make schools safer and more affirming.