The School Counselor's Role in Supporting and Advocating for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Children and Adolescents

The School Counselor's Role in Supporting and Advocating for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Children and Adolescents

Rebekah Byrd, Emily Donald
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7319-8.ch007
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Transgender and Gender-Expansive children and adolescents are resilient, capable, and amazing and deserve to work with school counselors who build upon their strengths. School counselors who espouse fluid, multilayered, and complex conceptualizations of gender and affectional identities are best equipped to meet the needs of TGE children and adolescents. Therefore, it is essential that school counselors be well-versed and knowledgeable about the identities of those with whom they are working, as well as welcome ongoing growth in areas such as self-awareness.
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Concepts And Terms

It is imperative that school counselors work to be well-versed in the meaning of terms TGE youth may use to self-identify. GLSEN (2020), in their document on key concepts and terms, define transgender as “An umbrella term describing people whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth or by society” (p.4). Gender Spectrum (2019) defined gender expansive as

An umbrella term used for individuals that broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms. Gender-expansive individuals include those with transgender and non-binary identities, as well as those whose gender in some way is seen to be stretching society’s notions of gender. (para. 1)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Gender Non-Conforming: A term used to describe a person whose gender expression or identity does not conform to the binary or the gender assigned at birth (or by society).

LGBTGEQIAP+: An updated acronym used to describe individuals identifying as lesbian; gay; bisexual; trans*, transgender and Two-Spirit (2S; Native Identity); gender-expansive; queer and questioning; intersex; agender, asexual and aromantic; pansexual, pan/polygender, and poly relationship systems; and other related identities.

Transgender: An umbrella term used to describe individuals whose gender assigned at birth does not match their actual gender identity.

Cisgender: A term used to describe someone whose gender assigned at birth (or by society) is congruent with their gender identity and expression.

Non-Binary: An umbrella term used to include individuals who may not identify with the gender binary of man or woman or masculine or feminine; someone who identifies as non-binary may or may not identify as trans, and nonbinary may include genderqueer, genderfluid and agender under this umbrella as well.

Advocacy: The act of understanding, supporting, and taking a stand for a group of people, a cause, or an idea.

Gender Expansive: An umbrella term used to describe individuals who extend a culture’s commonly held beliefs about gender as it relates to a fixed binary. This can include, but is not limited to, gender expression, identities, perceived gender norms and roles. Gender expansive may include those who identify as gender non-conforming, non-binary, and transgender.

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