Working for Lived Equity Report

Report of the 2019-2020 Community Needs Assessment conducted by MTPC.

This report represents the findings of the Working for Lived Equity (W4LE) community needs assessment conducted by MTPC and based on responses from 339 individual survey participants between December 2019 and March 2020. It serves as a follow-up of a 2009 community needs survey, which guided MTPC’s programming.

While much has changed since then, there is still significant work to be done to address the needs and priorities of trans communities in Massachusetts. The W4LE survey serves to collect updated data to better understand the specific needs of trans and non-binary youth, adults, and families in the state, and their thoughts on MTPC’s role in helping to address those needs. The survey also demonstrates that one of MTPC’s assets is the trans community itself as demonstrated by many respondents’ repeated expressed desire to get involved and offer peer support and resources.

Read the Full Report and the Summary Infographic

College is a significant investment, and like many who study on campus or online, transgender students can struggle to cover tuition bills and other expenses. Scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities can help offset some of these costs. Scholarships are by far the most popular. Unlike student loans, these awards do not need to be repaid and are often given to promising students by schools, private organizations, and nonprofits. Grants function similarly and sometimes involve a research or service-related component.

Fortunately, there are a number of scholarship opportunities available for transgender students, including those interested in healthcare, medicine, and other related fields. Visit the EduMed website to learn more about available scholarships, grants, financial aid, and other resources.

The ability to participate fully in school life is critical for transgender students’ wellbeing during adolescence. For students in general, having the opportunity to participate in sports results in positive outcomes—better grades, greater homework completion, higher educational and occupational aspirations, and improved self-esteem. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students, GLSEN reports show that athletes have a GPA that is between 0.2 and 0.4 points higher on a 4.0 scale than students not participating in athletics.

Furthermore, 56% of LGBTQ team members and 66% of team leaders competing in high school sports report feeling a positive sense of belonging at school. Despite this encouraging data, many states and school districts struggle with the issue of inclusion in athletics. In 2019, 20 states have policies that ensure transgender students can participate in sports on a team or in competition based on their gender identity. 17 states have policies that prohibit participation by transgender student athletes and 13 states have no standard, public policies that guide transgender inclusion in sport. Read the Policy Brief and the Model High School Athletics Policy.

Model School District Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students outlines best practices for schools to ensure that all students are safe, included, and respected in school, regardless of their gender identity or expression—including transgender and gender nonconforming students. The model presents some policy objectives, key points, and alternatives to consider. It is meant to be adaptable to the specific needs of your school district, while keeping the original intent of the policy intact. Depending on your school district, the policy language provided here may fit best in a district
policy, an administrative regulation, or a combination of the two. Our model was developed by examining school district policies from various states, drawing from guidance provided by states and the
federal government, and identifying best practices for a national context.

The purpose of this policy is:
(1) to foster an educational environment that is safe, welcoming, and free from stigma and discrimination for all students, regardless of gender identity or expression,
(2) to facilitate compliance with local, state and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, privacy, and discrimination,
(3) to ensure that all students have the opportunity to express themselves and live authentically.