Back to school period is a very scary period. Especially with a child who is different.
I am always afraid that she will not feel accepted, that friends will not be nice.
At the beginning of each class, I meet the teacher in private, to talk about my daughter. Meeting the instructor allows me to make sure she understands what is at stake. We talk about what can help my child and what harms her.
There are behaviors that are very harmful for a trans child or trans teen whether they are a transgender high school athlete or not. Even if there are many transgender school laws and policies, we need to help our teens/tweens to be at ease during back-to-school period and all year long.
My personal advice as a trans parent
I am not an expert, but these are my personal advice as a parent of a transgirl.
Accepting is not only a question of transgender school laws and policy but more importantly it is about having everyone at school involved in the integration, so I meet the teacher and/or school staff at the beginning of the school season.
Explain what is at stake for my child.
Provide a few key phrases in case there must be an intervention. For example: “Lyam is happy like that, she feels like a girl, so we must respect her. We want everyone to be happy”.
Explain that certain behaviors are harmful.
Helping the child in not forcing he (or she) to assert a gender in front of everyone is very important. For example: during an activity, the guys team up, and the girls team up on their side. For a non-binary, or transgender child, it may force them to choose a situation that makes them uncomfortable. As a suggestion, why not divide in alphabetical order or use their current standing in the room.
Being always available.
The third element is to reinforce the fact that I am always available for any questions they may have. If the teacher or students have many questions, I can even make time to meet them if necessary. Show support, be available and be an ally with your child.
KEY PHRASES YOUR TRANSGENDER CHILD CAN USE AT SCHOOL
To take pressure off her shoulder and to prevent her from having to explain herself, we developed specific key phrases that would answer the most current questions. It really helped. For example:
In primary school:
"I'm fine like that if you want more explanation ask my mother."
In high school:
"I feel good, and I take responsibility, if you have a problem with who I am, well that's your problem and not mine."