At the end of March, we held a parent presentation with Jeff Perrotti, from Safe Schools of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This presentation offered an opportunity for parents and educators to come together to learn about the language of gender. We discussed ways our school community can establish inclusive, supportive, safe, and nondiscriminatory communities for all students. Part of this presentation was about ways that our school community can acknowledge and affirm the gender diversity of every student. Jeff led us through the language of gender and helped us to see the misperceptions that exist with gender. With this presentation and other staff trainings from DESE’s Safe Schools department, we are working to create gender inclusive conditions for every member of our community.
The following is a helpful excerpt from: https://www.genderspectrum.org/resources/parenting-and-family-2/#more-432
The Power of Language
The power of language to shape our perceptions of other people is immense. Precise use of terms in regards to gender can have a significant impact on demystifying many of the misperceptions associated with gender. However, the vocabulary of gender continues to evolve and there is not universal agreement about the definitions of many terms. Nonetheless, here is some working language and examples of frequently used (and misused) terms. We offer them as a starting place for dialogue and understanding, which begins by clarifying how we are using various terms, rather than asserting that they represent the final or only definition of the various terms.
Here are some terms and definitions related to gender:
Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth.
Sex assigned at birth refers to the sex designation recorded on an infant’s birth certificate should such a record be provided at birth.
Transgender describes those individuals whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. A transgender male is someone who identifies as male but was assigned the sex of female at birth; a transgender female is someone who identifies as female but was assigned the sex of male at birth.
Gender transition refers to the process in which transgender individuals begin asserting the sex that corresponds to their gender identity instead of the sex they were assigned at birth. During gender transition, individuals begin to live and identify as the sex consistent with their gender identity and may dress differently, adopt a new name, and use pronouns consistent with their gender identity. Transgender individuals may undergo gender transition at any stage of their lives, and gender transition can happen swiftly or over a long duration of time.
Sexual orientation Our sexual orientation and our gender are separate, though related parts of our overall identity. Gender is personal (how we each see ourselves), while sexual orientation is interpersonal (which people we are physically, emotionally and/or romantically attracted to).
I hope this information from our parent presentation was helpful to you. We have other resources at our school if you would like to learn more about this topic.
Kathryn Castonguay, Principal