School Business Affairs February 2020 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | FEBRUARY 2020 29 certain choices with regard to toys, colors, clothes, games, and activities. Gender nonconforming. This term is used to describe individuals whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as “feminine” boys, “masculine” girls, and people who are perceived as androgynous. Gender nonconforming does not mean transgender. For example, a nontransgender girl who has short hair and likes sports might be considered gender nonconforming. The term also may be used to refer to people whose gender identity is not male or female. This has several important nuances: • Agender refers to having no gender, being genderless. • Androgynous refers to the combination of masculine and female characteristics into an ambiguous form. • Cisgender is someone whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth are the same—for example, someone who was assigned female at birth and identifies as a female. • Gender-fluid describes a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender and expresses a fluid or unfixed gender identity. Their expression of identity changes depending on the context. This designation is also referred to as bi-gender . • Nonbinary and genderqueer are terms often used to describe people whose gender is not exclusively male or female, including those who identify with a gender other than male or female, with more than one gen- der, or with no gender. Transgender. Transgender describes individuals whose gender identity differs from that traditionally associated with the gender they were assigned at birth. A transgen- der girl is a female who was assigned as a male at birth. A transgender boy is a male who was assigned as female at birth. Some transgender people have a gender that is neither male nor female and may use a term like “nonbi- nary” to describe themselves. Sexual orientation. Sexual orientation indicates our physical, emotional, or romantic attraction to others. Like gender identity, sexual orientation is an internally held construct. In many studies, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) youth reported being aware of their sexual orientation during elementary school but waited until middle or high school to disclose their ori- entation to others. Transgender and gender-nonconform- ing people may have any sexual orientation. Students might identify as bisexual, pansexual, queer, or asexual, or they may use a host of other words that reflect their capacity to be attracted to more than one sex or gender or not to feel sexual attraction at all. This emerging vocabulary demonstrates our complex world in which simple binary designations such as gay or straight are no longer sufficient. Challenges for Schools As school administrators, our first obligation is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. In doing so, we strive to develop learning environments that are respectful and supportive of every student. Today, we can consider a broader base of students and seek to sup- port them as they determine and then embrace who they are. Most frequently, such support is provided through anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies; however, schools might consider addressing the following issues to ensure that the basic rights of all students are upheld. Restrooms and locker rooms. All students are entitled to have access to restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities that are safe, sanitary, and adequate. Students should have access to restrooms that corre- spond to their gender identity . Providing gender-neutral bathroom and locker facili- ties is an option, although doing so can raise concerns about limiting access or resources and has been rejected in several court cases. Access to sex-segregated facilities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity is the preferable option. Physical education and sports participation. Most schools require that students participate in some kind of physical education classes. In coed physical education classes or activities, issues of gender diversity should not be a problem. In sex-segregated classes or athletic activities, students should be permitted to par- ticipate in a manner consistent with their gender identity . Names and pronouns. All students have the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that corre- sponds to their gender identity. Some students choose to use Ze or Hir as alternate pronouns that are gender neutral. Pronounced “zee” and “here,” they replace “he” or “she” and “his” or “hers,” respectively. Alternatively, some people who do not embrace “he” and “she,” use the plural pronouns “they” and “their” as gender-neutral singular pronouns. More than a third of Americans in their teens and early 20s know someone who uses gender-neutral pro- nouns, according to a Pew Research survey of social Merriam-Webster announced the pronoun “they” as its word of the year for 2019.