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Supporting the Rights of Transgender Students and Their Families

By Heather Godsey, BSN, RN posted 02-24-2022 17:10


The Oregon School Nurses Association fully endorses the NASN Position Statement on LGBTQ students, and applauds their recent signing of the national Human Rights Campaign letter that condemns, and calls on legislators across the country to reject, the spate of harmful anti-LGBTQ+ measures being proposed in state legislatures. In light of the proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ legal proposals, and the recent decisions made by Texas’ Governor Abbott, which place transgender students, their families, and the healthcare professionals who care for them in Texas (including school nurses) in a position that prevents appropriate medical care for a protected class within the student population, OSNA reaffirms that protecting the rights of transgender students and their families in accessing necessary healthcare is imperative to helping these students grow, thrive, and feel safe, supported, and authentic within their educational setting and beyond. The Texas requirement that school nurses and educators report parents who seek appropriate, evidence-based healthcare for their transgender students to the authorities (to be investigated as child abusers) is a violation of their rights and will cause harm to transgender students and those who care for them.

OSNA echoes the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents; that ALL children and adolescents should receive care to promote optimal physical, mental, and social well-being, regardless of gender identity or expression; additionally that transgender students should have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space, with family-based therapy and support available to recognize and respond to the emotional and mental health needs of parents, caregivers, and siblings of youth who identify as transgender. Any discrimination based on gender identity or expression, real or perceived, is damaging to the socioemotional health of children, families, and society2.

Oregon school nurses remain committed to our professional duty of supporting and empowering ALL students, every day, to promote their health, well-being, and academic achievement. The welfare of our nation’s transgender students and their families should never be jeopardized based on personal ideology, but should be guided by the informed assistance of healthcare professionals. Decisions regarding appropriate care for transgender students should remain with the student, their family, and their interdisciplinary healthcare team.

For more information and resources on supporting transgender students and families, please see the following resources:

  1. NASN Position Statement on Supporting LGBTQ Students
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics Position Statement on Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents
  3. U.S. Department of Education - Title IX and Sex Discrimination
  4. Oregon Department of Education - LGBTQSIA+ Student Success Plan
  5. Oregon Department of Education - Resolution Encouraging Solidarity and Support for Student Identities