July 22, 2013

Transgender Student Rights Finds a Home in GLSEN

Alexander Pratt
Alex Pratt
Emet Tauber
Emet Tauber
Eli Erlick
Eli Erlick
Goetz Camden
Camden Goetz

By Alex Pratt, Camden Goetz, and Emet Tauber,

For almost four years, Transgender Student Rights (TSR) has been working to create safe schools for trans* and gender nonconforming students. Today, we are very excited to announce that TSR is moving to its new home at GLSEN, the leading LGBTQ-focused safe schools organization in the country. GLSEN shares our commitment to trans* and gender nonconforming youth, and we are confident it will nurture and advance the work of TSR moving forward.

TSR started in December 2009, when two students wrote a resolution on the basic rights that all trans* and gender nonconforming students deserve to have recognized in school. The resolution included a sample district policy and was published online. Shortly afterwards, a group of LGBTQ students and allies came together under TSR to promote and pass the resolution , and organize support for gender justice in education.

TSR quickly grew in size, reaching thousands of people. With the support of student volunteers, we were able to positively impact school policy and secure basic rights for many trans* and gender nonconforming students. We also created resources for students and activists, and raised awareness of the importance of fighting for gender equality and equity in educational institutions.

After operating as a grassroots organization for some time, we realized that our mission exceeded our limited resources, and rather than scale down our goals, we began looking at ways to strengthen our ability to reach them. Several new and fantastic volunteers were recruited to our team, all of whom contributed significant time and energy to our cause. Unfortunately though, we still found ourselves short on what was needed.

In response, we began to explore the possibility of joining a larger organization, and immediately set our eyes on GLSEN. It seemed like a great match due to both organizations sharing a common vision of fair, safe, and inclusive schools.

After reaching out to GLSEN, we spent several months talking with its staff about what our relationship might look like. This led to a memorandum of understanding being signed to formally transition TSR into GLSEN. The entire experience was very positive and we already feel like a member of the GLSEN family.

With this exciting development, comes plenty of change. That said, we will make sure to maintain TSR's defining characteristics. Trans* and gender nonconforming youth leadership and empowerment will, of course, remain at the heart of TSR's work. We will also continue to put intersectional social justice at the front of our work; we all agree that to fail to do so would be to fail to truly fight for fair educational systems. TSR is proud to have had an intersectional and social justice-based lens since its founding, a lens that GLSEN both shares and strengthens. We recognize the immense importance of deconstructing all systems of oppression that impact trans* and gender non-conforming youth, including but not limited to racism, ableism, and classism.

While we’re proud of the things that will be staying the same, we’re also pumped to announce some of the changes GLSEN can bring to TSR.

GLSEN's immense resources will further our efforts to fight for trans* and gender nonconforming justice. GLSEN is a national organization known for its efficacy and fierceness in fighting for LGBTQ students. Where previously TSR was run by volunteers, there will now be full-time GLSEN staff members helping us reach our goals. The expertise GLSEN staff possess is incredible and we’re thrilled to have access to it. GLSEN’s strength in policy, research, education and advocacy will do incredible things for trans* and gender nonconforming justice in K-12 education.

It’s also important to recognize the influence GLSEN has. While TSR currently reaches thousands of people, GLSEN’s audience is significantly larger, and provides a platform for TSR to increase its impact on the local, state and national level. We can’t wait to engage all of the activists in GLSEN’s network in fighting for justice and educational systems where all students can thrive.

After meeting and working with GLSEN staff and seeing their passion and dedication, we couldn’t be more excited to be part of their organization.  They’re clearly committed to equality and equity for trans* and gender non-conforming students, and we’re thrilled to join them in their mission to make K-12 schools safe for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. We can’t wait to begin this new chapter in TSR’s story, and we can’t wait to work with all of you to instill justice in our schools!

Visit GLSEN's TSR page

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