Background: As one of the primary places of socialization for a young person, school is a critical part of any transgender student’s life. Mental health providers can play a fundamental role supporting these vulnerable young people as they navigate the hallways and classrooms of their schools.
Objective: This article provides mental health personnel with information and resources for supporting transgender youth in the school setting.
Methods: Some general principles for working effectively with educational institutions serving transgender youth are provided. In addition, three critical tools are introduced for maximizing conditions for a successful experience at school for these students.
Results: Educational institutions have adopted a range of specific structures found effective in anticipating and managing various issues a transgender child may encounter at school. These include structured approaches for initial discussions with school officials about a child’s gender, and Gender Support Plans and Gender Communication Plans designed to codify ways a school will support a student around their emerging gender status. Awareness of these resources will help mental health providers effectively partner with patients and their families as they navigate educational institutions.
Conclusion: For many transgender and other gender diverse students, the day-today tumult of school can be a source of great anxiety and concerns that they have no control over their circumstances. Using gender support and gender communication plans can diminish these feelings. Mental health providers must have a firm understanding of these plans and their implementation to provide the necessary support for gender diverse students.