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In memo to employees, LA Unified affirms transgender support

Mike Szymanski | September 22, 2015

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Jeffrey Tambor in the TV series “Transparent.”

In a memo to all district employees yesterday, LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines re-emphasized support for transgender youth and employees.

With new attention drawn to transgender issues spurred by the public transitioning of Bruce to Caitlynn Jenner and the Emmy-winning TV show, “Transparent,” Cortines not only offered a definition of common terms dealing with transgendered issues, but he also explained policies. For example, the three-page memo explained that Cisgender refers to “an individual whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth” and that “a person’s status as transgender is private and may not be shared except by the individual.”

The memo points out that with “increasing visibility across the nation,” the district wants to discourage “bullying based on the actual or perceived sex” by any student or employee. It reminds employees that they have “an affirmative duty to report discrimination and harassment or witnessed discrimination.”

The memo explains that there doesn’t need to be a separate bathroom. “Transgender employees are permitted to use the restroom or facility that corresponds to their expressed gender identity. It is prohibited to require or expect a transgender employee to use a gender-neutral restroom”

The memo follows the policy announced last year, which focused specifically on students. LAUSD has had  a “transgender affirming reference guide” since 2004.

Last year, the Los Angeles LGBT Center worked with LAUSD on a Blow the Whistle on Hate campaign to get athletes and coaches to help prevent hazing and bullying.

The memo explains privacy, name changing and other issues unique to trans people.

“Every transgendered person’s journey is unique,” the memo says. “When an employee transitions, the school and work site shall work with the employee and manage communications to their colleagues and students.”

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