School Business Affairs February 2020

28 FEBRUARY 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS ENSURING EQUITY G one are the days when school administrators had no concerns about gender diversity and sexual orientation. Today, most of us have tried to support students who question their identity and feel as if they don’t fit neatly into social expectations of what it means to be male or female. Without adult support, these students may have diffi- culty navigating the murky waters alone. As schools attempt to shift their thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality from a binary view (male and female) to one that is more inclusive, a new initial- ism describes this issue: GSD (gender and sexuality Diversity and Inclusion: Where Are We Now? Navigating the changing landscape of sex, gender, and sexuality in schools. By Nan Wodarz, Ed.D. VULKANOV/STOCK.ADOBE.COM diversity). It is a broad construct that includes all sexes, genders, and sexualities, including those that have yet to be identified or defined. GSD provides the framework to consider the multiple, complex, interrelated components that make up biological sex, gender, and sexuality. A Few Definitions The first step in navigating this new environment for students is to develop a shared vocabulary. The follow- ing are some of the terms and definitions that shape the discussion. Biological sex. “Sex” refers to a person’s anatomical attributes, such as external sex organs, sex chromo- somes, and internal reproductive structures. For most people, the anatomical indicators of sex correspond with a specific male or female gender; however, intersex conditions also occur naturally in all species, includ- ing humans. Intersex refers to a variety of conditions whereby an individual is born with the sexual or reproductive anatomy that does not fit the typical definition of female or male. In the past 30 years, scientists have identified more than 25 genes that were once believed to be associ- ated with only male or female biology but that have now been found to be nonbinary. Gender identity. “Gender identity” is distinctly dif- ferent from biological sex. It is defined as an individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or another gender. Many of us know children who become aware at a very young age that their gender identity does not align with their biological sex characteristics. By law, an individual can determine his or her own gender identity. Schools should never require medical, legal, or other “proof” with respect to a student’s stated gender identity. Gender expression. “Gender expression” is the way we show our gender to the world. Societal expectations of gender expression are reinforced in almost every area of life; boys and girls typically are expected to make