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GLAD Applauds Portland’s New Policy on Affirmation and Full Inclusion of Transgender and Gender Expansive Students

(PORTLAND, ME, November 28, 2017) – GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauds the comprehensive policy on fair treatment of transgender and gender expansive students adopted by the Portland School Committee tonight by unanimous vote.

Aiming to “foster a learning environment that is safe, affirming, and free from discrimination, harassment and bullying for all students,” the policy resulted from a collaborative process involving Portland students, families, teachers, administrators, and community members.

“Students are better able to learn when they are respected and supported for who they are. With inclusive and affirming educational environments, all students benefit,” said Patience Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney at GLAD. “GLAD is proud to support the work of the Portland community, which came together to create this excellent policy to ensure all students are respected and can focus on the work of learning, growing, and realizing their full potential.”

The new Portland policy embraces best practices for addressing important considerations including name and pronoun use, school facilities, gender-segregated programs and practices, dress codes and privacy and confidentiality. The policy also includes provisions for supportive annual training for school staff, teachers, and administrators. “When transgender and gender expansive youth are respected, they can focus and learn,” said Crozier. “That’s what this is all about – ensuring that all students are able to thrive in school.”

The policy is consistent with Maine law. The Maine Human Rights Act of 2005 requires nondiscrimination in schools, which are public accommodations. GLAD litigated the case of Orono middle school student Nicole Maines in 2014, resulting in a ground-breaking Maine Supreme Court ruling that denying a transgender girl the use of the girls’ room violated her rights. GLAD provided research, review and comment on the Portland policy language and structure, benefitting from insights gained in the Maines case.

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

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Amanda Johnston, Director of Public Affairs & Education, / (617) 417-7769