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Transgender Students and Policy in K-12 Public Schools: Acknowledging Historical Harms and Taking Steps Toward a Promising Future

Transgender and nonbinary (collectively referred to here as “trans”) students are ill-served by most school environments. They experience challenges trying to navigate institutions that, at best, are poorly designed to support them and that often work against them. Although some districts and states have developed laws and policies to improve students’ experiences, many are either ill-conceived, ineffectively implemented, or reinforce restrictive and inflexible structures regulating gender. This brief explores these issues in depth and puts forth recommendations for policy and practice to create spaces in which transgender youth can fully engage with school.