Beginning next school year, public schools in Washington, D.C., will begin to allow students to identify as non-binary upon enrollment.
The trans-inclusive policy is part of the District’s ongoing efforts to become more welcoming toward transgender and gender non-conforming residents, reports The Washington Post. When enrolling their children, families can indicate their gender as non-binary, allowing teachers to know which students identify this way without having to be explicitly informed by parents—and helping schools figure out how to adequately allocate funding toward resources for trans and gender non-conforming pupils.
— DC Public Schools (@dcpublicschools) November 13, 2018
“We value the whole child at [D.C. Public Schools], and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families,” interim chancellor Amanda Alexander told The Post in a statement. “Whether through policies, programs, affinity groups, or our enrollment forms, [D.C. Public Schools] is proud to be a leader in affirming, supporting and welcoming LGBTQ students.”
In June 2017, Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to offer gender-neutral driver’s licenses to residents. A handful of states and municipalities, including the state of Washington, California, and Washington, D.C., have since followed suit.
D.C. Public Schools will join a select few institutions around the country that have such policies in place. Currently, parents and families of pupils at public schools in Oregon and Minneapolis can also notify their district upon enrollment if students don’t identify as cisgender.
While school administrators nationwide are paving the way for trans acceptance in the classroom, the Trump-Pence administration continues to erode legal protections for the trans community on the federal level. Months after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos confirmed that the Department of Education will no longer investigate allegations of discrimination against trans students in American public schools, a memo revealing plans to alter the legal definition of gender from the Trump-Pence administration was leaked.
The change could have devastating repercussions, erasing progress toward legal protections from discrimination for transgender people across the country.