an androgynous model posing with a tree

5 Short Videos for Teaching Students About What It Means to Be Transgender

by Marsha Rakestraw

In a recent memo, the Trump administration has argued for US government agencies to adopt an “explicit and uniform definition” of gender that would “define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with.”

As the New York Times reports, this proposed definition would “eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves … as a gender other than the one they were born into” and would essentially remove civil rights protections for people who are transgender.

Despite a (slowly) growing societal acceptance of people who are transgender in the US and elsewhere, significant misconceptions and prejudices remain.

Surveys show that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school and more than 83% of transgender students have been bullied or harassed because of their gender.

One of the first steps to increasing acceptance and decreasing discrimination and harassment is educating others.

Here are just 5 short videos that help introduce the concepts of transgender, gender identity, and gender diversity:

1. “The Science of Being Transgender via AsapSCIENCE, 2018 (4:20 min)
Outlines the basic science behind gender identity, gender dysphoria, and being transgender.


2. “Trans 101: The Basics via Minus18, 2017 (7:48 min)
Several young people discuss gender diversity and define terms such as transgender, non-binary, and gender dysphoria.


3. “What NOT to Ask a Transgender Person via Grok Nation, 2017 (3:17 min)
Highlights some important questions to ask and NOT ask people who are transgender.


4. “How to Talk (and Listen) to Transgender People via TED, 2017 (6:24 min)
Jackson Bird shares about being transgender and clears up some misconceptions.


5. “A Powerful Poem About What It Feels Like to Be Transgender via TED, 2015 (4:21 min)
Lee Mokobe shares a compelling and poetic exploration of identity and transition.


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