cover image About Gender Identity Justice in Schools and Communities

About Gender Identity Justice in Schools and Communities

sj Miller. Teachers College, $24.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-8077-6125-0

Education activist Miller (Teaching, Affirming, and Recognizing Trans and Gender Creative Youth) presents an illuminating guide for educators and administrators on creating a safe and welcoming space for gender-nonconforming students in schools. The author begins by highlighting the difficulties these students face, including microaggressions, “identity-based violence and social marginalization,” and fluctuating federal legislation regarding their rights. The concept of cisgender privilege is insightfully defined, allowing the reader a greater understanding of the many ordinary rights a cisgender person takes for granted that a gender-nonconforming person is often denied (such as adequate health care and appropriate bathroom facilities). Miller also notes some of the well-meaning but misguided tactics teachers should avoid, including promoting “diversity,” a term that posits a societal “norm” from which gender-nonconforming individuals are supposedly deviating, and offers concrete tactics educators can implement to include gender-nonconforming students. These include using personal introductions in which students are invited state their preferred names and pronouns, encouraging students to think critically about gender norms, and conducting “conversation about the flexibility of gender and gender identity.” Fundamentally, Miller explains, “Validation legitimizes [gender-nonconforming students’] existence and place in the world.” Miller’s guidance is comprehensive, nonjudgmental, and accessible to all readers. The balanced mix of pedagogical theory and practical advice should prove instrumental to educators seeking to make their classrooms more inclusive. [em](Mar.) [/em]