Minnesota Department of Education approves Transgender Toolkit

I am surprised and gratified that our school system took a progressive step forward — they approved a set of guidelines for dealing with gender issues in schools, and it’s not outrageous bathroom bill nonsense.

A Minnesota Department of Education advisory council voted to approve a new toolkit for “Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” in front of a room of more than 200 opponents and advocates of LGBTQ issues Wednesday.

The motion was met with cheers from advocates for transgender students, led by OutFront Minnesota and its allies, who wore purple at the gathering at the department’s offices in Roseville.

Opponents of the toolkit, led by the Minnesota Family Council, a conservative Christian coalition, wore red.

The toolkit, approved by the School Safety Technical Assistance Council, is a nonbinding guide with information about providing welcoming environments for all students and guidelines for school officials to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

The toolkit stems from a desire to combat bullying in schools, said state Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey.

Impressive. The usual approach to combating bullying has been to enable the bullies. This is like, sensible and tolerant. Which means, of course that some people don’t like it at all.

Sadly, this toolkit undermines my authority as a parent, said Joy Orbis, who wore red and brought her four children from the Anoka-Hennepin School District to the packed meeting. Before the meeting, Orbis and her children drew signs that included the hashtag #Stopthetoolkit.

No, it doesn’t. If your little boy wants to be addressed as “he”, or your little girl wants to be called “she”, they still can, and you can complain if they’re misgendered.

The toolkit encourages teachers to teach false conceptions of gender, said Barb Anderson, a longtime opponent of changes to LGBTQ policies in the Anoka-Hennepin district. Her comments on Wednesday were met with yells of “disrespect” by others in the meeting room.

No, it doesn’t. It expects that teachers will respect the reasonable requests of their students. It contains clear, simple guidelines that mean less time spent squabbling over supporting bigotry.

You can read a draft of A Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students here. I hope more states follow Minnesota’s lead.


  1. Siobhan says

    They’re nonbinding, and that’s still too much?

    I want y’all to remember this next time somebody starts discussing my tone.

  2. Chancellor says

    LMAO at, “encourages teachers to teach false conceptions of gender.”

    What’s false about gender being largely influenced by society? There’s no biological basis for basketball shorts yet the “manly guys” all seem to rep those and consider it a sign of their “cool boy swag.”

  3. antigone10 says

    I’m on the Minnesota Family Council Mailing List so I can call up my representatives and tell them the opposite of whatever they want their followers to do. They have been upset about this for about 2 months. I called in support of the toolkit, and I encourage everyone who lives here to do so too. They get enough people yelling at them- they should get some words of support as well.

  4. rietpluim says

    It’s sad that we need a toolkit in the first place, but since we do, we’d better have one than not.

  5. magistramarla says

    I once had a student who was questioning gender and sexuality. The student asked to be called Seth (from the Egyptian god Set) in class rather than Crystal Rose. I had no problem with that, and simply noted it in my gradebook.
    I was later told that I was the only teacher in the school who agreed to this request. Really, what is so difficult about honoring a student’s wishes when it comes to their own name?

  6. anat says

    magistramaria, do any of the other teachers use nicknames when other students request them?

  7. says

    Who said anything about nicknames? There’s nothing particularly odd about a young man called Seth, is there? Unless you’re trying to say that only the name your parents lumped you with is your One True Name, in which case, y’know, kinda fuck you.

  8. blf says

    CaitieCat@9, I read anat@8’s query as: “Do any of the other teachers use nicknames when other students request them? If some do, then why did those teachers have a problem with this child’s request to be known as ‘Seth’?” That is, the other teachers who are willing to follow a child’s request would seem to have an inconsistent — read: presumably bigoted — standard.

    (As a not too relevant aside, a very good friend of mine happens to be named Seth.)

  9. DanDare says

    Tried it here in Australia as the safe schools program. The religious right in government went nuts.they called it a communist plot . They had enough power to crush it.