New York State schools should now accept a student's request on his or her own gender identity as part of new guidelines for transgender and non-gender normative students released on Tuesday.
These new guidelines outline how to use appropriate gender pronouns, advises teachers to avoid gender-based activities and which restrooms transgender students should use.
In a statement, Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch said "this new document gives administrators practical guidance to ensure their schools are places where transgender and gender nonconforming students can focus on academics, friendships, and their interests instead of worrying about how they will be treated by school staff and their peers."
The new guidelines also state under non-discrimination laws set forth by Title IX, students must be allowed to use the restroom or changing room that match his or her gender identity. Single-sex or unisex restrooms or changing rooms must be students who request them but will not be forced upon any student.
Further, schools should discuss with students and their families for appropriate gender pronoun use.
The New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York State School Boards Association, the Empire State Pride Agenda and New York State PTA all praised the new guidelines.
According to an NYCLU report in June, New York state schools reported 24,478 incidents of harassment, 19 percent of which were related to gender stereotypes.