One School Kicks Him Out The Other Crowns Him Homecoming King

By Sabrina Samone

I’m sure the readers of TMP are ready by now for some good news, after what has been one sad blow after the next for our community. Recently, The Family Research Center, has launched a petition and campaign titled, ‘Free to Believe’, inserting their belief in a Freedom of Religious right to discriminant. TMPlanet’s senior writer Lynnea  Stuart, recently wrote about the consequences of such actions, and the UN vote titled.  The UN Vote: Is the United States Headed Toward an LGBT Holocaust?  Haven’t we as a human race witnessed this type of state sanctioned hate, and the consequences of legislated hate, against another group of people? Are we doomed to repeat the horrors of World War 2?

Recently a school that dares calls itself a Christian School, expelled a 17 year old Transgender teen. Stiles Zuschlag, was on track to be valedictorian at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth, New Hampshire.

When the 17-year-old met with a school administrator in August about being identified as male, he was shocked when he was asked to “confess his sins, stop taking testosterone treatments, and receive Christian counseling.” If he refused, he’d be forced to leave the school.

Stiles, chose to leave the school, and start over at nearby Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine, just seven miles away.

As he began to make friends at his new school, he joked about being nominated for homecoming king. “I asked on Snapchat as a joke to put me in,” he told HuffPost. His peers took his request a bit more seriously than he did. “People actually did it. I didn’t really expect them to. I still can’t believe they did that for me.”

He’d be even more shocked when he showed up to the game and won the homecoming king crown. “After I won at the homecoming game, I almost started crying. My friends all put me in, people I didn’t even know put me in, everyone voted for me on the final ballot,” he said. “This experience feels like a dream. It’s something I never thought could have happened to me.”

The outpouring of love and acceptance astonished Zuschlag.

“I’ve been degraded so much in the past, I’ve conformed to other people’s beliefs and standards just to make them happy and comfortable. I’ve put myself in situations really hurtful to my mental health just to keep peace,” he explained. “God forced me out of that situation, that school, knowing that my mental health was far more important than my education. The only reason I stayed at the school for so long was for my education, for my GPA, and to just learn about God. But I was also dying there mentally and I suffered a lot.”

“God took me away from that to help me be a better person, to breathe again, to be happy again. I’m so grateful He did that for me.”

Despite hate, blindly and blasphemously disguised as Christianity, love does win and it’s true nature of brotherly love, compassion, acceptance and love for thy neighbor does prevail in the end.


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How to Talk Sexuality with Trans and Non-Binary Teens

By TMPlanet

According to  Rachel Lynn Golden, Ph.D via Psychology Today, there are sex positive ways to approaching the topic of sexuality with your transgender or non-binary child:


There are a variety of resources you can access to better understand aspects of sexuality, sexual identity, and gender identity. Planned Parenthood , Scarleteen , both have comprehensive websites with information on sexuality and gender identity. Trans Bodies Trans Selves also serves as a textbook with helpful and informative chapters on many aspects of sexuality. It is written from a multitude of voices and perspectives and highlights a diversity of experiences.

2. Start with identities and build from there.

With any adolescent make sure to ask early and with genuine interest and authenticity about different facets of their identity. Create a space for them to tell you about how they understand their gender identity. As romantic and sexual attraction reflect the complexity of the experience of attraction, ask about sexual orientation/identity, and romantic orientation separately. Gender, sexual and romantic identities are distinct parts of the human experience, and there are myriad ways in which the three can converge in each of us. Consider yourself lucky to be trusted with a process of self-identity and discovery. Find ways to let your patients tell you about themselves and describe their experiences on a spectrum or continuum, rather than trying to fit their experience into rigid boxes.

3. Question your presumptions about sexuality.

Know that people from all experiences have their own relationship to sexuality. This means asking every patient about sexuality and not picking and choosing the individuals you have decided are more likely to want to have sex. Challenge your biases about gender, (dis)ability, body type, mental and physical health and their relationship to sexuality. Access resources challenging presumptions about sex and disability as well.

4. Be open in your discussion of pleasure and erogenous zones.

There are all sorts of ways to experience pleasure. Necks, arms, legs, ears and nipples, you name it, there is room for seeking out pleasurable experiences all over our bodies. In addition, conversations about pleasure open up conversations about the exploration of sexuality on one’s own. As with anyone discovering their sexuality, it can help to first figure out some basic aspects of pleasure on one’s own. It allows for individuals to take things at their own pace. This may be particularly important for adolescents who are beginning Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) that may be physically shifting their body.

5. Affirm asexuality.

Being sex positive does not imply that all sex is good, or that not having sex means that people will miss out on positive experiences. Rather, it means trusting your patients to know their identities and what experiences of sexuality will be most affirming, including desiring no sexual relationships at all. Affirming asexuality  also means affirming it as an identity, and not just as a route to risk reduction.

6. Talk about dysphoria.

The way in which dysphoria manifests can affect how people experience aspects of sexuality. For example, parts of the body that individuals are comfortable touching or having touched can vary by levels of specific dysphoria about those parts. Remember, individuals experience dysphoria differently. It can be diffuse or specific, and may not be there at all. In your conversations, be gentle. Talking about dysphoria can aggravate dysphoria. You can also ask your patients to let you know how their dysphoria interferes with desire for sexuality. Much like depression, dysphoria may lessen sexual desire altogether.

7. Refer to body parts in a way that makes your client feel affirmed.

Ask your patients how they refer to the parts of their body. Using their terminology provides another opportunity to affirm your patient. Do this both when you are talking together, and in situations where the patient has first consented to your use of that language with other providers. Another option your patient may prefer is that you use parts-first language such as: “People with penises…” and “People with vaginas…” You can also fill in your client’s terminology here. Note that, when you are talking about sexual behavior there are also a variety of ways you can refer to behaviors by just referring to parts.

8. Challenge heteronormative scripts around sexual identity, sexual behavior and gender roles in sexuality.

What truly constitutes sex is up to the person having it. Thus, sex is not only considered sex when it involves penetration. Broadening how you conceptualize sex will allow you the opportunity to talk with patients more authentically about their desires around pleasure, partnership, and sex roles.

9. Talk about consent.

Talk about enthusiastic consent. Talk about it being absolutely OK for your patients to start something intimate and change their mind. Talk about their right to say: “I used to like that, but I don’t anymore.” One way to practice saying yes and then no is to role play with your patients by practicing saying “yes” to talking about a neutral topic in your office, and then having them practice changing their minds and standing their ground. For example, you can practice with examples from the consent video here (link is external).

10. Practice communication.

Communication is essential with sexual partners, and it is critical in supporting affirming sexual relationships. Successful sexual communication allows people to talk about their desires, the areas of their body that provide pleasure, and do or do not provoke dysphoria. Practice asking and answering open-ended questions. To emphasize the importance of communication with sex partners, help your patients to practice how to start conversations about sex on their own. Talk about key points they want to make, and talk about how to ask partners about their desires as well. The goal is for the practiced communication to allow for your patient to flexibly express their experience of desire, consent to participate in sexual behaviors or decisions not to.

11. Be ready for things to change.

As adolescents grow and develop, their desires and motivation to engage in sexual behaviors may shift. Flexibility is especially important with pubertal and HRT-related changes. For example, dysphoria may intensify with puberty. If this happens, parts of the body that did not previously provoke dysphoria may now do so when they are talked about, or touched by self or others. In addition, when adolescents start hormones, changes that come with HRT may shift aspects of desire, pleasure, and dysphoria. Again, be gentle.

12. Make plans for disclosure and safety.

It is by no means a requirement for transgender and nonbinary adolescents to disclose anything about the gender they were assigned at birth or their body parts. Each individual likely has specific goals regarding sharing their gender identity. In addition, they may also face greater risk in intimate relationships and disclosures. This is incredibly important as this risk is well-documented, according to the Williams Institute, 30 to 50 percent of transgender people experience intimate partner violence as opposed to 28 to 33 percent of the general population. Therefore, talk openly about the risk posed to transgender and non-binary individuals without victim blaming. Talk about ways to mitigate risk, as well as is possible. There is excellent information in this  post about disclosing. Some possibilities are to disclose online first, to disclose in public places or with a trusted friend around.

13. CREATE access to care.

Make your office a place where patients don’t have to ask you for information, but where they can get information without even asking. Keep a jar of non-expired internal and external condoms, lube and dental dams in a visible and accessible place. Make sure your patients know they do not need to ask you to take one, two, or as many as they need. Create partnerships with gender and sexuality-affirming medical providers that are easier to access. Build relationship between your patients and these providers. One way is to make phone calls with your patients to help them schedule and connect to services. In addition, have resources at the ready like Vibrant , a company that makes sex toys for parts (not people). They have a section of their blog dedicated to gender-affirming toys. Scarleteen also provides information about sex toys. 

14. Help caregivers affirm their child’s sexuality. When caregivers are involved, work with them to facilitate an understanding of the variety of ways their child’s gender identity, romantic or sexual orientation/identity and desire for sexuality intersect. When caregivers are only beginning to understand their child’s identities or are invalidating about aspects of their child’s identity, it can be very dysphoria provoking for adolescents to answer questions about their gender and sexuality. Be prepared to provide education about the intersection of identities and the diversity of ways that identities present. Talk with the adolescent about having conversations with their caregivers without the adolescent having to be present. Have them let you know what they are comfortable with you answering on their behalf. Work with caregivers to understand that their participation in conversations about sexuality is a critical way to engage and affirm their adolescent and an opportunity to help reduce risk and encourage positive outcomes.

15. Mistakes happen. When you make a mistake, fail to be affirming, or your presumptions make themselves known, just apologize. You can also state that you will work to not make the same error in the future. Then move on. Be sure not to place the burden on the adolescent of working through your error with you. Later, work on addressing your error on your own. One way is to practice your affirming language no matter where you are, or what you are doing.

With gained confidence that a provider is truly acting from a place of affirmation and self-education, transgender and non-binary adolescents may feel free to be more open about their identities and behaviors. Greater openness in conversations can lead to greater accessing of sexuality-related medical care, and a reduction in other risks as well.

In addition, you too may be able to learn, grow and be even more affirming in your practice- and perhaps in your own life as well.


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How To Improve Schools For LGBT Students

By C. Blair

How To Improve Schools For LGBT Students

Despite people’s treatment of those who are LGBT, things are  beginning to change for the better. LGBT students still face high amounts of bullying and harassment. Those who are or perceived to be LGBT are twice as likely to be bullied in school than those who are not. Plus 82 percent of transgender youth report being bullied. This bullying has lead to an estimated 64 percent of those who identify as LGBT to not feel safe in school. It may seem like it is impossible to fix this ,but studies say that with a few edits to our schools, we can not only help LGBT students but all students. Since so many are going back to school there now, there is no better time to discuss how we can improve our schools and hopefully put a stop to bullying.

Make School Curriculums More Inclusive

Even though the topic is very controversial, researchers have found that incorporating LGBT related topics into everyday lessons will positively affect the overall environment and improves all students’ educational outcomes. The easiest class to incorporate inclusive lessons into, is history classes. We teach students the roles that LGBT people have played in history as well as the historical oppression they have faced. By doing this, we take away the negative stigmas and replace it with real life faces. In addition it will help by allowing LGBT students to connect with what is being taught, give everyone a better understanding of the world, and optimize the potential of what they are learning.

Here are some of the many ways we can make our curriculums more inclusive:

  • Bring up how historical figures like Alexander the Great, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. were/could have been gay.
  • Do lessons on lesser known LGBT people who played a role in history like Alan Turing (who invented the computer).
  • Do a lesson on the Stonewall Riots, Matthew Shepard’s death, or another LGBT historical event.
  • Read a book which includes a LGBT character.
  • Law classes can do lessons about the battle for marriage equality and the Supreme Court’s ruling.
  • Provide accurate and relevant sex ed information. Only 5 percent receive positive information on LGBT issues in health class.
  • Just talk with them about the LGBT community.

Another great way to improve a school’s climate is to add in a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) or some other related club. One study done by GLSEN showed that when a school has a GSA, the amount of homophobic/transphobic remarks heard in school drops 18 percent. They also will feel safer. Often LGBT youth need some kind of safe space where they could feel accepted for who they are and this club is designed to be just that. It will also allow them to meet other students who are going through the same thing that they are. Nationally 53 percent of secondary school teachers agree that having a GSA will make schools safer, but only 22 percent of LGBT secondary school students have access to one. Those who are African American are even less likely to have access to one, especially when the school is predominantly African American. Those who live in the south and small towns/rural areas are least likely to have a GSA in their schools.

Sadly with several states having what are known as “No Promo Homo” or “Don’t Say Gay” laws these things could be even harder to accomplish. These laws forbid teachers and schools from discussing LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS awareness in a positive light, if they are even allowed to discuss them at all. Some actually require teachers to portray LGBT people in a negative or inaccurate way. They also limit or even eliminate the amount of resources and safe spaces that are available to students. Students who go to these types of schools are more likely to hear homophobic remarks from teachers and report experiencing ineffective intervention from school staff. These harmful laws need to be removed in order to make way for a better school experience.

Bullying Policies And Training Staff Members

When it comes down to it, in order to stop bullying we must have strong anti-bullying policies put in place. Even though many schools do indeed have some kind of anti-bullying policy, some may need to update theirs or add in specific guidance on homophobic/transphobic bullying. While things like having inclusive curriculum or getting a GSA may be hard to get everyone behind, most would be all for a zero tolerance for bullying policy. It could help if something is added on the school’s website so that they could anonymously report bullying as well. These guidelines, when used properly, will cut down bullying up to 25 percent. It will also send a public message that the school stands behind it’s LGBT students.

Once these policies are in place the next step would be to train staff members. Everyone from teachers to the principal will need to not only be trained on how to implement the new policies but on how to better address when bullying occurs. You may assume all staff members would know how to handle bullying, but this is not always the case. About 31 percent of LGBT students who reported being bullied said that the staff made no effort to respond. 61 percent did not report it at all. If the staff become LGBT allies this would allow students who were bullied to feel more confident about reporting bullying and lets them know that something will be done. Some training should also be done to help teachers/staff know what to do when someone comes out as LGBT. Specifically the school as a whole should be prepared for when someone comes out as transgender or gender nonconforming.

In Conclusion

It may seem like it is impossible to put an end to bullying, but if our schools are willing to make some changes we can help improve schools for LGBT students, as well as those who are not LGBT. One of the first things that needs to be done is to repeal “No Promo Homo” and “Don’t Say Gay” laws in states that have them. Teachers should try to at least, to an attempted degree, to incorporate LGBT topics into what they teach. Students can help by requesting to form a GSA or something like it. If a school receives government funding and has another non-curricular club then they have to allow a GSA under the Federal Equal Access Act. Schools need step up and fix their bullying policies, plus train staff members. Doing these things may not eradicate bullying right away, but with a little time they will make schools safer places for LGBT youth.

  1. LGBT Bullying Statistics
  2. Transgender Bullying: A National Epidemic
  3. Creating A LGBT-Inclusive Climate
  4. The Necessity of LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum
  5. Sex Ed Needs to Better Include the Issues of L.G.B.T. Students
  6. GLSEN GSA Research Brief
  7. “No Promo Homo” and “Don’t Say Gay” Laws
  8. “No Promo Homo” Laws
  9. Bullying Statistics
  10. GSA Network: Legal Resources 
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Trevor Project Reports Calls from Transgender Youth Doubled

By TMPlanet

Following Donald Trump’s tweets about a trans military ban and Texas’ bathroom bill, The Trevor Project reports a steep increase in crisis contacts from transgender youth.

Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project is the largest LGBTQ youth crisis intervention & suicide prevention organization in the United States.

On Wednesday (2 August), the non-profit released a statement saying contacts dramatically rose following these two instances. People can contact the organization via calls, texts, and online chats.

‘Of the approximately 178 contacts per day (on average) received by The Trevor Project, 7.3 percent typically self-identify as transgender,’ the statement reads. ‘However, within 24 hours after President Trump’s tweet regarding transgender military service members, contacts from transgender individuals spiked to 17.5 percent of all contacts.’

Furthermore, contacts from transgender people rose to 14.7 the week following the introduction of the bathroom bill.

Trevor Project CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley commented on the statistics. He said: ‘This data makes clear that our elected officials can no longer ignore that their anti-transgender rhetoric is putting lives at risk.

‘Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation directly leads to crisis among our community’s young people,’ he continued. ‘While The Trevor Project will continue to be there for them around the clock, our elected officials must stop throwing young people into crisis for political gain. Discrimination is un-American, and we will hold to account those legislators who attack the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community.’

Trump’s administration has not been an ally to the trans community. Beyond the tweets and bathroom bill, the administration is pulling back on protections for trans students. Media representation is abysmally nonexistent and the 16th trans person was murdered in the US this week.

In a frustrating, scary, and dangerous time, resources like The Trevor Project are indispensable.

The organization is available 24/7/365 for LGBTQ young people who need to talk. You can call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or text and chat from 3-10pm EST every day here.


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