As transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and allied student researchers leading this project, we know gender inclusion impacts everyone. It impacts us. We are proud to be working on this gender inclusion project because it will help gender diverse students be able to thrive and focus on their education without feeling unsafe. We want our research to be an outlet to not only unmute gender-inclusive voices but to amplify them as well.
What is a gender inclusion policy?
A gender inclusion policy is a policy that articulates a district’s planned approach to accommodating the needs of transgender and gender-nonconforming students and outlines steps of an action plan to address and remove gender inequities within a school or school district.
Our work spans across districts 625 (Saint Paul Public Schools), 152 (Moorhead Schools), 196 (Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Schools), and 11 (Anoka Hennepin Schools). We’ve pushed out survey and interview requests to students and staff with our central focus being towards transgender, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary students. In total, our sample size amongst students, staff, and parents reached 164. We have organized through social media, making connections with high school GSAs and school administrations, and more in order to expand our initiative.
A quick glimpse into our data shows that 76% of all students surveyed through the districted reported a negative experience as a trans, gender-nonconforming, or gender non-binary student. Additionally, across all trans, gender-nonconforming, or gender non-binary students surveyed throughout the districts, 79% feel that they are not represented in their school.
It’s clear that change is needed and you can help us propel inclusivity by reading, listening, and sharing our zine and podcast! We have created them to encapsulate this information that can serve as a guide for anyone looking to implement a gender inclusion policy in their district!
We want to acknowledge the land that we did our research and outreach on. Specifically, we want to talk about the Indigenous and native people here in the metro area Southern Minnesota, where the districts we’ve worked in are located. Minnesota, called Mni Sota by the Dakota people, is the homeland of the Dakota and Anishinaabe people. The United States and Minnesotan governments carried out a settler colonialist project through genocide, forced removal, and ethnic cleansing on this land. We acknowledge this is still the Indigenous land of these people, and we encourage everyone who is reading, listening, and supporting our work to do their own research on whose land you reside on, as well as take actions of solidarity in your communities to support Indigenous people. One helpful resource in Minnesota is the Native Governance Center, and we encourage you to check them out for more information and solidarity resources. Another place to check out is the Stop Line 3 movement, where you can help support water protectors in Northern Minnesota who are working to save the land that we all live on.
Shout Outs: Thank you!
Whether it be through an interview, survey, etc, student voices are the backbone of this project. For the teachers, thank you all just as much. The insight and opinions of staff and faculty were a valuable part of our research and allowed us to establish conclusions with data on both ends of the spectrum. Keep in mind, real change cannot be made without the support and willing action of our teachers. Finally, we’d like to recognize all the hard work and dedication of our team! Without all of you, this project would not be what it is now. So let’s toot our own horns, incredible job y’all! You can find out more about our team members and their projects on our Podcast and Zine tab on the website. If you want updates on our work or just info about Outfront and Youthprise, there’ll be a link to their websites and social media handles below.
Outfront MN Website: https://www.outfront.org/
Youthprise Website: https://youthprise.org/
Outfront Instagram: @outfrontmn
Outfront Youth Instagram: @outfrontyouth
Welcome to Gender School: Smash the Cis-tem with OutFront MN! Follow us through our episodes directed and carried out by queer youth as we dive into how gender inclusion policies in MN schools could make their environments more trans and non-binary inclusive.
Take a listen!
Meet the Podcast Creators
Bisandi is a junior at Eastview High School, and she’s flexible with her pronouns! They’re passionate about equality among youth, specifically gender equality in schools. They hope to amplify the voices of fellow students in their work and within the project, one of their biggest goals is help create a safer environment for LGBTQ+ and other minorities in schools. They also hosted the final episode of the podcast, episode #3, and are excited for people to learn more about the project and research!
Kai uses he/they pronouns and is a activist working for the inclusion and rights of trans, non binary and GNC people, especially youth. He hosted podcast episode #2 and they are excited for you to learn more about gender inclusion policies.
Tori uses She and They pronouns and is a queer youth advocate for Trans and GNC inclusion and liberation! They hosted podcast episode #1 and are excited for people to listen and learn about gender inclusion in MN schools.
What are zines?
Zines are magazine-like self publications, which are usually printed in small batches, and created by a single person or a small group. They can be used to educate, entertain, and more.
More about Gender Inclusion: A Year In Review
OutFront MN zine, Gender Inclusion: A Year In Review, you’ll uncover, learn, and navigate all things gender inclusion! Our zine walks you through all the pockets of our data including a summary, student school and life environment, safe spaces and clubs, sports and facilities, staff and parent input, as well as student voices. You can also find a glossary with helpful terms defined if needed. And lastly, our zine gets wrapped up with a call to action to mobilize support. From visually appealing graphics to hard cold numbers, we hope you can learn something new, self-reflect, and start conversations with others.
Meet the zine creators!
Elliot (he/they) is a senior at Hopkins High School. As a queer person, he advocates for LGBTQ+ equity, especially in schools. They hope that learning more about gender inclusion policies will inspire students to make change in their own school districts, creating safer schools, not only for current students, but future students as well.
Yasmin is a junior at Mayo High School. She wants to continue shifting the narrative and show school districts that they need more policy that gears toward the protection and acknowledgement of minority student issues. She’s eager about moving the needle in gender inclusion work. From effectively searching for data to the collection of stories, she hopes that this work can help make a lasting impact for students.
Will is a junior at Champlin Park High School. Their passion for LGBTQ+ equity pushes him to use their voice to make change. Will is so excited to be working on this Gender Inclusion Project, and he hopes it will impact on others, even if it’s just starting the conversation. He hopes that audiences will enjoy themselves while learning about all things gender inclusion.
Accessing the Zine
Purchase a Copy: Coming Soon!
More Resources for LGBTQ+ Youth
Saint Paul Public Schools Gender Inclusion Policy
The Trevor Project
Text START to 678-678
Trevor Lifeline 1-866-488-7386
Trevor Project: Coming Out Handbook
Trevor Project: How LGBTQ youth can cope with anxiety and stress during COVID-19
Trevor Project: Supporting Black LGBTQ Youth Mental Health
Trevor Project: Black and LGBTQ: Approaching Intersectional Conversations
Two-Spirit & Indigenous LGBTQIA Mentors, Elders & Grandparents Support Circle
OutFront Resources for the Community
Check Out SHIFT's "Queering Community Health" Podcast here! Some of our team is even featured! https://www.shiftmn.