In recent months, debate over bathroom access has brought the issue of accommodating transgender students to the forefront of mainstream culture. This discussion, however, has yet to take a large place in the FIRST community. With up to 1.5% of students being transgender, teams should be aware of how to make a team environment where all are welcome, no matter their gender identity. This post will hopefully offer some useful advice.
Here are a few tips to help your team be accommodating to these students:
Offer LGBTQ literacy training at the beginning of the year or season:
LGBTQ literacy training teaches team members how to conduct themselves in a way that creates an open and safe team environment. This training explains commonly used terminology and also common mistakes to avoid.
This training can be conducted by a team member, coach, mentor or someone knowledgeable in the community. The training should ideally be followed by a review of expectations to ensure that everyone on the team is aware
GLSEN has some great resources for LGBTQ literacy training:
Make preferred gender pronouns a part of your team: he/she/they/ whichever pronoun they prefer.
Correct pronouns are an important part of making anyone feel welcome. They can simply be a part of team introductions. This simple step goes a long way to making your team a safe space for everyone.
Make your bathrooms accessible
In addition to being a major health concern, access to bathrooms consistent with one’s gender identity is essential to help students avoid unnecessary anxiety and feel comfortable on your team.
For more information on accessible bathroom facilities: www.lambdalegal.org/know-your-rights/transgender/restroom-faq
If your team tracks gender statistics of your team members, offer alternative options.
Some students may identify as genders outside of the man-woman binary, such as agender, genderqueer or genderfluid. To accommodate these students, the question can simply ask students to write in their gender in a provided space.
Treat trans students as any other student
If a team member transitions to another gender identity, or confides in you that they are transgender, offer them all of the support and accommodation they need, but remember that they are still the same person they were before.
I hope this post was helpful in making your team and FIRST a safer space for everyone to pursue STEM.
This blog was written by Cole Brabec of FRC Team 1710. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule.
Be a guest
Do you want to be a guest blogger for FIRST Ladies? You can write about a topic of your choice! Please email us the completed blog and track your creation using this link: