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Questions and Answers: Gender Identity in Schools

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Additional Resources

The opinions expressed in these resources are those of the authors/organizations and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Note: Before using these resources with students, it is advisable to preview them as some may contain sensitive content and may not be appropriate for all ages.

I. Organizations

AlterHérosExternal site

C.P. 476, succursale C,
Montrél, QC  H2L 4K4
Tel : (514) 846-1398
Email :

AlterHéros is a non-profit organization that serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. The organization disseminates information to youth, parents, family and friends; provides aid and support to youth; and creates a mutual support network for youth where they can share experiences and connect with others.

Canadian Federation for Sexual HealthExternal site

2197 Riverside Drive, Suite 403
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 7X3
Tel: (613) 241-4474
Fax: (613) 241-7550

Canadian Rainbow Health CoalitionExternal site

P.O. Box 3043
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan  S7K 3S9
Toll Free: 1-800-955-5129
Fax: (306) 955-5132

The Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition (CRHC) is a national organization whose objective is to address the various health and wellness issues that people who have sexual and emotional relationships with people of the same gender, or a gender identity that does not conform to the identity assigned to them at birth, encounter.

Canadian Professional Association for Transgender HealthExternal site

201-1770 Fort Street,
Victoria, British Columbia V8R 1J5
Tel: (250) 592-6183
Fax: (250) 592-6123

The Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH) is a professional organization devoted to the health care of individuals with gender variant identities.

Centre for Suicide PreventionExternal site

Suite 320, 1202 Centre Street S.E.
Calgary, Alberta T2G 5A5
Tel: (403) 245-3900
Fax: (403) 245-0299

The Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) is an education centre specializing in curriculum development; training programs; library and information services. The purpose of the Centre is to inform and equip people with additional knowledge and skills in the prevention of suicide.

EGALEExternal site

Tel: (613) 230-1043
Toll Free: 1-888-204-7777
Fax: (416) 642-6435

Egale Canada is a national organization committed to advancing equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified people, and their families, across Canada.

Fondation ÉmergenceExternal site

C.P. 1006, succursale C
Montréal, QC  H2L 4V2
Tel : (514) 866-6788
Fax : (514) 866-8157
Email :

Fondation Émergence works to fight prejudice against sexual minorities through educational campaigns and research, dissemination of educational material to the public, and financial support to organizations providing services to sexual minorities.

Gai ÉcouteExternal site

C.P. 1006, succursale C
Montréal, QC  H2L 4V2
Tel : 1-888-505-1010 or (514) 866-0103 or *1010 for Telus customers
Fax: (514) 866-8157

Gai Écoute offers confidential, anonymous, and free services to those with questions about sexual orientation.  Gai Écoute is committed to fighting feelings of isolation, solitude and invisibility among gay and lesbian youth. They provide telephone support with trained support staff; dissemination of printed materials; email support; and one-on-one chats. Gai Écoute also offers suicide prevention support.

Gender Identity Research and Education SocietyExternal site

The Warren
Surrey, United Kingdom
KT21 2SP
Tel: 01372 801554

The focus GIRES is on people who experience atypical gender identity development, especially trans people, whether or not they are also affected by lesbian, gay, bisexual or intersex issues.

GRIS MontréalExternal site

204-2075 rue Plessis
Montréal, QC  H2L 4K4
Tel : (514) 590-0016
Fax : (514) 590-0764
Email :

GRIS-Montreal (Groupe de Recherche et d’Intervention Sociale ) is a non-profit organization who aims to create a better awareness of homosexuality and issues faced by gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals. GRIS-Montreal focuses most of its actions in the school system. Some of their work includes providing workshops on homosexuality to schools and other institutions or organizations in the Greater Montreal Area.

Other locations:

GRIS Chaudière-AppalachesExternal site

253, Route 108
Beauceville, QC  G5X 2Z3
Tel : (418) 774-4210
Fax : (418) 948-9154
Email :

GRIS QuébecExternal site

201-363, rue de la Couronne
Québec, QC  G1K 6E9
Tel : (418) 523-5572
Email :

PFLAGExternal site

1633 Mountain Road
Box 29211
Moncton, New Brunswick E1G 4R3
Tel: (506) 869-8191
Fax: (506) 387-8349
Toll Free: 1-888-530-6777 (English)
Toll Free French Support Line: 1-888-530-6483

PFLAG Canada is a national organization that helps all Canadians who are struggling with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. PFLAG Canada supports, educates and provides resources to parents, families, friends and colleagues with questions or concerns.

Projet 10External site

307-2075 rue Plessis
Montréal, QC  H2L 2Y4
Tel : (514) 989-4585
Email :

Projet 10 works to promote the personal, social, sexual and mental wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, intersex and questioning youth and adults aged 14-25 years, living in the greater Montréal area. They offer a phone line for peer support, crisis counselling, information and referrals to LGBITTQ services; individual counselling sessions for youths and/or their families to discuss issues related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity; accompaniment services (e.g., to doctor’s appointments, HIV testing, social assistance offices, interviews for cooperative housing, court appearances); drop-in, facilitated group sessions; social assistance in finding affordable housing, employment, changing name and sex designation on official identity papers, accessing sex-change surgery, immigration/refugee status, filing legal complaints; educational workshops for youth, teachers, and health and social service workers who interact with youth of diverse sexual and/or gender identities; and establishing a Trans Health Database of physicians, therapists, and other health care professionals who are equipped to work with trans individuals in an open and non-judgmental way.

Public Health Agency of Canada

Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Community Acquired Infections Division
Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control
100 Eglantine Driveway, Health Canada Building
A.L. 0602C, Tunney's Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0K9
Fax: (613) 957-0381

Rainbow Health OntarioExternal site

333 Sherbourne Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto, Ontario  M5A 2S5
Tel: (416) 324-4100 ext. 5058
Fax: (416) 324-4259

Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) is a province-wide program that works to improve the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Ontario through education, research, outreach and public policy advocacy.

Sexuality and UExternal site

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
780 Echo Drive
Ottawa, Ontario  K1S 5R7
Tel: (613) 730-4192
Fax: (613) 730-4314
Toll free: 1-800-561-2416

Sexuality and U is committed to providing youth with credible and up-to-date information and education on sexual health.

Sherbourne Health CentreExternal site

333 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2S5
Tel: (416) 324-4103
Fax: (416) 324-4262

Sherbourne Health Centre offers a wide range of primary health care programs and services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer, or questioning individuals. Their goal is to provide dignified, non-judgemental services to help individuals feel better, cope better with day-to-day challenges, and address specific LGBT health issues.

Suicide Action MontréalExternal site

2345 rue Bélanger
Montréal, QC  H2G 1C9
Tel: (514) 723-4000 or 1-866-277-3553 elsewhere in Québec

Suicide Action Montreal is an organization which aims to prevent suicide and help survivors of suicide cope with the repercussions. The organization offers services to people contemplating suicide, to their social network and to the health and social service professionals who work with them.  They offer support services, crisis intervention, and monitoring for people who are at risk of committing suicide, for their friends and family, and for people affected by suicide.  All communication is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free of charge.

World Professional Association for Transgender HealthExternal site

South Second Street, Suite 180
Minneapolis, Minnesota, MN 55454
Email: wpath@wpath.org1300

As an international multidisciplinary professional Association, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) mission is to promote evidence-based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy and respect in transgender health.

II. Programs

American Library Association
Rainbow ProjectExternal site

The Rainbow Project is a joint project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. The Rainbow Project presents an annual bibliography of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age.

Camp fYreflyExternal site

7-104 Education North
Faculty of Education,
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5
Tel: (780) 492-0772
Fax: (780) 492-2024

Camp fYrefly is an educational, social, and personal learning retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, queer, and allied (LGBTTQ&A) youth. It focuses on building and nurturing their leadership potential and personal resiliency in an effort to help them learn how to make significant contributions to their own lives and to their schools, home/group-home environments, and communities. The camp is designed for LGBTTQ&A youth between the ages of 14 and 24.

Rainbow Resource CentreExternal site

170 Scott Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3L 0L3
Tel: (204) 474.0212
Fax: (204) 478.1160

The Rainbow Resource Centre is a not-for-profit community organization that provides support and resources to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gender and two-spirit communities of Manitoba and North Western Ontario.

Supporting our YouthExternal site

333 Sherbourne Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2S5
Tel: (416) 324-5077
Fax: (416) 324-4188

Supporting Our Youth (SOY) is an exciting, dynamic community development project designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto through the active involvement of youth and adult communities. It works to create healthy arts, culture and recreational spaces for young people; to provide supportive housing and employment opportunities; and to increase youth access to adult mentoring and support.

Vancouver Coastal Health AuthorityExternal site

Transgender Health Program
Vancouver Coastal Health Corporate Office
11th Floor, 601 West Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4C2
Tel: (604) 736-2033
Toll Free: 1-866-884-0888

III. Non-fiction Books

Brill, S., & Pepper, R. (2008). Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals. San Francisco, CA.: Cleis Press.
“… explores the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising their children in every city and state. Through extensive research and interviews, as well as years of experience working in the field, the authors cover gender variance from birth through college. What do you do when your toddler daughter’s first sentence is that she’s a boy? What will happen when your preschool son insists on wearing a dress to school? Is this ever just a phase? How can you explain this to your neighbors and family? How can parents advocate for their children in elementary schools? What are the current laws on the rights of transgender children? What do doctors specializing in gender variant children recommend? What do the therapists say? What advice do other families who have trans kids have? What about hormone blockers and surgery? What issues should your college-bound trans child be thinking about when selecting a school? How can I best raise my gender variant or transgender child with love and compassion, even when I barely understand the issues ahead of us? And what is gender, anyway? These questions and more are answered in this book offering a deeper understanding of gender variant and transgender children and teens.”Footnote 95

Central Toronto Youth Services (2008). Families in TRANSition: A Resource Guide for Parents of Trans Youth. Toronto, ON: Central Toronto Youth Services.
“Families In TRANSition: A Resource Guide for Parents of Trans Youth is the first comprehensive Canadian publication to address the needs of parents and families supporting their trans children. Families in TRANSition summarizes the experiences, strategies, and successes of a working group of community consultants – researchers, counsellors, parents, advocates as well as trans youth themselves. Families in TRANSition provides the stories of parents and youth along with practical and sensitive parent-to-parent and professional therapeutic advice.”Footnote 96

Central Toronto Youth Services. (2009). Trans Youth at School Guide. Toronto, ON: Central Toronto Youth Services.
“This Bulletin provides recommendations for school administration to help create welcoming and supportive schools for trans youth.”Footnote 97

Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. (2006). Guidelines for care of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. San Francisco, CA: Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

Huegel, K. (2003). GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer & Questioning Teens. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing Inc.

Killoran, I., & Jimenez, K.P. (2007). Unleashing the Unpopular: Talking About Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity in Education. Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.
“This new publication is a unique teacher education resource that strives to improve understanding of issues related to sexual orientation, gender diversity, and education, and how they affect students, teachers, schools, and the community. Personal narratives offer insight into experiences of LGBT students and teachers in schools…The authors discuss barriers to successfully supporting LGBT students, teachers, and parents; and explore the reasons behind action or inaction, the effects of not having a supportive policy around LGBT issues, and possible solutions to the concerns. Educators share their successes and failures in their attempts to address gender diversity and sexual orientation in the classroom and/or school community. They provide strategies for introducing, supporting, and engaging students in dialogue, advocacy, and arts-based activities.”Footnote 98

Lagartera, R. (2009). Shout Out: Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Heterosexism. Winnipeg, MB: Rainbow Resource Centre.
“The purpose of this booklet is to share information about some of the challenges, provide resources
to help you cope, and let you know loud and clear: you are not alone!”Footnote 99

Lambda Legal and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC). (2004) Bending the Mould – An Action Kit for Transgender Youth. New York, NY: Lambda Legal.
“…this kit is designed to help you make your school a safer place. We’ve included ideas and information to help you advocate for change. There’s also an extensive list of resources to help you connect with the transgender community and find support.”Footnote 100

Letts, W.J., & Sears, J.T.; (1999). Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue about Sexualities and Schooling. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
“… these provocative and thoughtful essays advocate the creation of classrooms that challenge categorical thinking, promote interpersonal intelligence, and foster critical consciousness. Queer elementary classrooms are those where parents and educators care enough about their children to trust the human capacity for understanding and their educative abilities to foster insight into the human condition...Queering education means bracketing our simplest classroom activities in which we routinely equate sexual identities with sexual acts, privilege the heterosexual condition, and presume sexual destinies. Queer teachers are those who develop curriculum and pedagogy that afford every child dignity rooted in self-worth and esteem for others.”Footnote 101

Lev, A.I. (2004). Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, Inc.
“This comprehensive book provides you with a clinical and theoretical overview of the issues facing transgendered/transsexual people and their families. Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and Their Families views assessment and treatment through a nonpathologizing lens that honours human diversity and acknowledges the role of oppression in the developmental process of gender identity formation.”Footnote 102

Makadon, H.J., Mayer, K.H., Potter, J., & Goldhammer, H. (2008). Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Health. Philadelphia, PA: American College of Physicians.
“The Fenway Guide provides guidance, practical guidelines, and discussions of clinical issues pertinent to the LGBT patient and community. It also focuses on helping healthcare professionals gain a better understanding of the LGBT population, the LGBT life continuum, health promotion and disease prevention, transgender health, and patient communication and the office environment.”Footnote 103

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2008). Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education. Ottawa, ON: Public Health Agency of Canada.

Simpson, A.J. & Goldberg, J.M. (2006). Let’s talk trans. A resource for trans and questioning youth. Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Coastal Health, Transcend Transgender Support & Education Society and Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition.
“This booklet is for youth who want information about being trans, gender transition, coming out as trans, or finding resources and getting support.”Footnote 104

Wells, K. (2006). Gay-Straight Student Alliance Handbook. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
“This handbook is part of a series of bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans-identified and two-spirited (BGLTT) educational resources produced by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. It is designed to assist teachers, school administrators and counsellors in understanding the educational, health and safety needs of those students who are or are perceived as being BGLTT. Other titles in this series include Seeing the Rainbow: Teachers Talk About Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Two-Spirited Realities (2002) and Lessons Learned: A Collection of Stories and Articles About Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Issues (2005). A Comprehensive Resource for Canadian K-12 Teachers, Administrators and School Counsellors.”Footnote 105

IV. Fiction Books

Ewert, M., & Ray, R. (2008). 10,000 Dresses. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press.
Reading level: Ages 4-8
“Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows…Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary: “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey becomes the girl she always dreamed she’d be!”Footnote 106

V. Films

No Dumb Questions (2001).
Run time: 24 minutes, Rating: NR (Not Rated)
“Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. This light-hearted and poignant documentary profiles three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. These girls love their Uncle Bill, but will they feel the same way when he becomes their new Aunt Barbara? With just weeks until Bill's first visit as Barbara, the sisters navigate the complex territories of anatomy, sexuality, personality, gender and fashion. Their reactions are funny, touching, and distinctly different.”Footnote 107

Southern Comfort (2001)
Run time: 90 minutes, Rating: NR (Not rated)
“With a rare blend of humour, tragedy & romance Southern Comfort tells the remarkable story of Robert Eads a 52 year old wise cracking cowboy who was born female. The film finds Robert 15 years later during the last year of his life as he falls into a passionate romance with Lola who was born male.”Footnote 108

Toilet Training (2003)
Run time: 30 minutes, Rating: NR (Not Rated)
“The video addresses the persistent discrimination, harassment, and violence that people who transgress gender norms face in gender segregated bathrooms. Using the stories of people who have been harassed, arrested or beaten for trying to use bathrooms, Toilet Training focuses on bathroom access in public space, in schools, and at work.”Footnote 109

Transamerica (2005)
Run time: 103 minutes, Rating: R
“…a small but rich movie about Bree--formerly Stanley--a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual awaiting gender-reassignment surgery who learns she has a wayward teenage son named Toby. When her therapist strongarms Bree into facing her past, she bails Toby out of jail and they end up on a road trip across the country.”Footnote 110

TransGeneration (2005)
Run time: 272 minutes, Rating: NR (Not Rated)
“What is it like to be a man trapped in a woman's body? How does a woman become a man? TRANSGENERATION, a dramatic and mesmerizing eight-part series, is a year-in-the-life look at four college students--Gabbie, Lucas, Raci, and T.S.— who are juggling the challenges of academia with their commitment to transition from their birth sex.

Faced with life-altering choices--about how to deal with parents and society, whether or not to take hormone therapy and undergo sex re-assignment surgery--these four remarkable individuals deal with their deeply misunderstood identities in starkly unique ways. In every moment of this radical, paradigm-busting film, these collegiate transgendered students blow up stereotypes while coming to terms with how to change their bodies to fit their minds.”Footnote 111

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