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Pride Center offered guidance to school district on transgender policy

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Since the federal government issued guidance this past spring directing public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity, districts like Buffalo drafted a proposed policy. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley talked with the executive director of The Pride Center of Western New York about assisting with that policy.

"The reality is schools need to adopt these policies,” said Matthew Crehan Higgins, Executive Director of Buffalo's Pride Center. 

The directive by the Obama Administration was issued in May. Public school districts across the nation received a joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice voicing concern that transgender students should not be discriminated against

“There’s a law, the Dignity for all Students Act, that requires that and as the Buffalo Public Schools representatives had explained to us, they recognized the need and the necessity of following that law, but also having something locally in place to make sure that their employees, their teachers and their school communities know how to honor that,” said Crehan Higgins.

Crehan Higgins tells WBFO News how organizations assisted. 

“The staff of the Transgender Health Initiative at the Pride Center of WNY, as well as our community partners, the Spectrum Transgender Group and Gay and Lesbian Youth Services worked with the Buffalo Public Schools toward giving some advisement on the policy as it was written and they were very receptive to that,” explained Crehan Higgins.

In the midst of the Presidential campaign Crehan Higgins noted the LGBTQ community has used as a 'kicking point' and that has created a damaging effect on individuals already feeling marginalize.

“We, as a community, have a long way to go on a lot of things, so we are always grateful for the progress we have made, but always aware that we have to keep on moving forward and making sure we maintain that progress,” Crehan Higgins noted.

The city school board is expected to hold community meetings before adopting a final policy. 

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