advocacy, ally, power, trans, transgender, bullying, safer space, queer, othering, pay attention, listening, mental health, TG Innerselves, gender identity, one-on-one, community resources, supportive adult
Tara: Is there anything--thank you so much--you’d like to say to teachers about, um, how they might work with kids like you and Chase?
Syn: Um, “Be their advocate,” is the biggest thing. Um, so teachers are in a position of authority in schools. Uh, a child and their parents can only do so much from the outside of that organization.
Syn: So if you’re not recognizing that there’s a kid struggling, and I mean 43% of trans people will try to commit suicide, so that, that level of risk, if you’re not recognizing that, you could be saving a life just by stopping bullying, right? So, it’s not, it’s not something to turn the other cheek or not acknowledge, you...it needs to be something that is actively pushed for, that the school is making, you know, making it a safe space for queer kids. I was lucky enough with Chase that we went to, we got into an arts school here, Sud Sec, which is super queer, so that the teachers were all on the same page on how his education goes, right? And they don’t see him any different because of his trans status. And, that’s another part of it, actually. I’m glad I said it that way, because you don’t want to Other those kids either.
Syn: They aren’t something else, they aren’t, um, they aren’t somebody to be--if you have questions about that child and how to do things, it’s best to either have a meeting, depending on the child, right? Having a meeting with their parents, if they’re part of that, because sometimes, parents aren’t okay with the kid being trans, that’s another part. So you just... there’s a lot of, when you have kids that are in that high risk zone, that you have to really kind of have your antennas up, that you know that, um, if they’re shutting down in class, there’s something else going on, and it might not be at school, but if it’s at home that also needs to be addressed.
Syn: You know, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to find out what’s going on with a kid. And, I mean, that goes with a lot kids at school too, but it’s especially true with this group.
Tara: Um, if a teacher, um, notices that, uh, a kid is, um, shutting down, what are some of the things they might do to, uh, to be that advocate, to be that ally?
Syn: Well, I mean, it’s just finding that time to talk to them, right? So, keep them a few minutes after class and ask them what’s going on, if there’s anything you can do to help. You know, like “Do you need to talk to someone else?”, “Can I pull in somebody from mental health? They can meet you here, your parents don’t have to know.” Pull in somebody like TG Innerselves, if it’s a gender identity issue. We go into schools and we do one-on-one work with kids. So it’s, it’s finding those resources and pulling them in for the kids, because they don’t know how to find them at that age.
Syn: So just having a supportive adult, because they might, you might be the only supportive adult if you’re playing that role. And, having that role is really powerful, and you can do a lot of good or you can do a lot of harm. So, being the person that tries to pull in that help for those struggling ones is super important.