Welcome Back to School! This time of year can be a very exciting time for many students. For many LGBTQ students, the start of the school year brings mixed emotions, including fear. In 2016, there were five anti-transgender bathroom bills. PROMO’s mission is not youth or school focused. Our priority is in our state’s Capital and occasionally at the National level too. What happens in Jefferson City guides the daily work at PROMO. Therefore, given the current school policy climate, we feel it is within our mission to provide guidance for parents, students, and teachers when it comes to their rights as a Missourian. Ultimately, we want Missouri parents and students to feel the full support of every LGBTQ person, ally, and organization in this state and to have the resources to advocate for yourself or the child in your care. You may feel lonely in your experiences, but you are not alone.
Over the last six months, we have received many requests for support around schools and gendered spaces within them. Parents are concerned for their children. Teachers and administrators are confused as to the legality of the issues. School nurses and social workers are trying to understand policies that will impact the children and young adults they encounter on a daily basis. People reach out to us, because they don’t know what to do. The President issued guidance for schools that was supported and reinforced by the US Departments of Education and Justice. If you, your child, or the child in your care are gender non-conforming or transgender and are a student at school or university that accepts public funding you have rights. Did you know that?
You have the right to use the bathroom or locker room that matches your gender identity. You have the right to be referred to by the pronouns of your choosing and the name that best reflects your identity. You have the right to dress in a manner that reflects your gender identity. You have the right to experience all of these things free of harassment and violence. You have rights. What happens when those rights are violated or denied? Please contact PROMO or the ACLU of Missouri, and we will help you investigate the next steps.
If you have issues at school and want to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights click here.
Here is a list of resources that may help you. Not all people are created the same. Please find the resource that works best for you, and if you know of any resources not listed here please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
⇒Resources for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming Students
Transas City in Kansas City
LikeMe Lighthouse in Kansas City
The Union in Kansas City
Growing American Youth in St. Louis
⇒Resources for Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Students
NATIONAL RESOURCES FOR TRANSGENDER STUDENTS
NATIONAL RESOURCES FOR LESBIAN, GAY, AND BISEXUAL STUDENTS
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS OF LGBT YOUTH
RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS
RESOURCES FOR ALLIES
Elizabeth Fuchs, Manager of Public Policy, started in the spring of 2016 with over 15 years of experience working in St. Louis’ LGBTQQIAA community. Born and raised in the beautiful city of St. Louis, Elizabeth obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) with a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. While a student, Elizabeth interned with then, SAGE Metro St. Louis now, SAGE of PROMO Fund, and upon graduation began employment at St. Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA). At EFA, Elizabeth worked closely with local organizations and state officials to examine how questions about gender are being asked at the state in relationship to the lack of HIV prevalence data for people who are living with HIV and identify as transgender. Her research is informing best practices for asking a two-part gender question, which she presented at the first Transgender Spectrum Conference in St. Louis and the 27th Annual HIV/AIDS and Social Work conference in New Orleans. Elizabeth’s is a passionate social justice practitioner, and proud to be in this role exploring the intersectionalities in life that effect our community members…all of us. She calls Soulard her home, Kristen Goodman her loving fiancé, and Frida and Saffron her for-legged children. She can be reached at email@example.com.