Trans Voices Heard


When one’s biological sex matches their gender identity, life is easy (or at least easier). However, it gets more complicated when you are a transgender minority while still in high school.

Despite growing acceptance, transgender students still receive public scrutiny. According to a 2009 National Transgender Discrimination survey, 81 percent of transgender students in Maryland reported being harassed in some type of way.

This raises concerns as to how MCPS schools meet the many needs of its transgender students. The main issues transgender and gender nonconforming students face everyday are harassment, being referred to with the incorrect pronouns and the lack of accommodation for personal needs.

Executive Director of the Chief Academic Office Lori Christina Webb is leading other administrators in dealing with issues that transgender students face. In the meantime, schools, such as Richard Montgomery high school have allowed Transgender students to use the nurses bathrooms should they feel uncomfortable using the standard boys or girls restrooms.

Assistant Principal Elizabeth Sandall said, “there is so much going on in the minds of these students that there must be open communication so that we can create a safe environment for them.”

Stressing open communication amongst students is crucial, considering the immense complexity of gender identification. Before choosing how they identify themselves, many students will first experiment and try to discover themselves.

Sophomore Artemis Thorn Hill who was born a male, but identifies as female, only recently discovered her gender identity. “It wasn’t until around May of last year that I finally made the decision that I am meant to be a female,” Hill said.

As of now, there is no formal policy regarding transgender students in the school system. Despite this, every student can help their fellow transgender peers feel more comfortable and accepted through treating them with respect, acceptance and standing up against examples of intolerance within their school and local community settings.

According to freshman Ryley Gardner, who was born a female but identifies as male, RHS students have done a great job in making him feel accepted, welcomed and safe.

“Although there is some room for improvement by the school, the students, if anything, have helped me feel very comfortable in school,” Gardner said. “I definitely feel safe as most people around me are very accepting,” Gardner continued.