Guidelines to support transgender students, coaches, host families, Athletic Directors and general the community.
ISST endorses the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognize the equal entitlement to all rights and freedoms outlined, “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status” (Article 2).
This policy applies to all ISST Coaches, Athletes and volunteers.
This Transgender Policy applies to all students and adults in the ISST Tournaments, including students who are on an exchange and being hosted by the School.
ISST organization recognizes, values, and celebrates diversity and inclusion. ISST is committed to establishing and maintaining a welcoming, caring, respectful, safe, and inclusive learning and working environment for all members, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
All people have a sexual orientation and gender identity. ISST recognizes that sexual orientation and gender identity minorities can be targets of homophobic, trans-phobic, and/or heterosexist behaviors. This may have profound social consequences, including marginalization, discrimination, harassment, physical and sexual violence, social and emotional isolation, substance abuse, academic truancy, and self-harm.
This policy strives to promote safe environments, free from fear, harassment and discrimination. We strive to engage in proactive strategies, guidelines and education which encourage all members of the learning community to reflect upon their behaviors and actions. This will build awareness of how interactions can create an inclusive, equitable, supportive environment for all.
This policy supports the following goals:
1. Visibility: The diversity of sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions are recognized and valued.
2. Protection: The intention is to preserve and protect the dignity of all people across the sexual orientation and gender identity spectra from harm.
3. Inclusion: Equitable treatment and inclusion are afforded to all people, regardless of sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
ISST expects that all members will:
a. Adhere to the ISST Transgender policy that prohibits any form of discrimination, intimidation, or harassment against any person, and is educative, preventative and restorative in practice and response.
b. Foster an inclusive culture that is responsive to the diverse social and cultural needs of individuals and groups, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity; recognizes the importance of supporting affinity student groups, such as Sexuality and Gender Awareness (SAGA) clubs.
c. Participate in the ongoing development of practices that promote fair and equitable treatment for everyone; cultivating mutual respect, civility, and a sense of belonging.
d. Section 6b "physical advantage" over others will be ascertained in good faith and in the spirit to which it is intended. Athletic directors must also protect the rights of students other than the transgender athlete when making judgements.
e. Section 6c "physical risk" will be ascertained in good faith and in the spirit to which it is intended. Athletic directors must also protect the rights of students other than the transgender athlete when making judgements.
ISST recognizes and respects the gender identity that each student determines.
2. Privacy and Confidentiality
a. All students and Coaches have a right to privacy with regard to their sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex assigned at birth. Disclosure is on a need to know basis and occurs only after consultation with the individual and/or parent/guardian
b. Host Schools must balance the parent or guardian’s need to be informed about their child’s school experiences with the student’s right to live freely with their affirmed genders and right to privacy in an age-appropriate manner.
3. Names and Pronouns
a. Every student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity. A legal name or gender change is not required.
4. Washrooms and Change Rooms
a. All students, Coaches and officials at ISST tournaments have a right to safe and private washrooms and change facilities.
b. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, where possible will be provided with a reasonable alternative changing area, such as the use of a private area (e.g., a nearby single stall restroom stall with a door), or with a separate changing schedule.
5. Housing and Overnight Stays
a. Athletic Directors will work with the student / family to identify what information would need to be shared prior to submitting such information to the host school and / or organization.
b. In no case shall a student be required to share a room with students whose gender identity conflicts with their own unless prior authorization from has been obtained from student and parents of both students involved. When staying with a host family, the school administration will work with the student / family to identify what information would need to be shared prior to submitting such information to the host family.
c. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, the school will work to provide reasonable accommodation, while maintaining consistency with the policies and procedures for child safeguarding. Any alternative arrangement should be provided in a way that allows the student’s gender identity to be kept confidential.
6. Competition/Restriction/third party organizations.
a. Participation - ISST will consistently advocate for students to be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletics and activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity, and will seek their guidance where necessary. If there is no specific guidance from the sporting governing bodies at the school level, then a case by case approach should be employed.
b. Physical Advantage -There may be sports where transgender participants may be deemed to have a physical advantage over others. Guidance will be sought from the various sports governing bodies as well as the ISST association. If there is no specific guidance from the sporting governing bodies at the school level, then a case by case approach should be employed. For example where a transgender boy to girl has zero physical or technical advantage, there is no issue. Indeed, the best case scenario is for said athlete to compete without any recognition of transgender. The opposite can be said if the same transgender case dominates play through physical or technical differences. This underlines the importance of treating each case on its individual merits when addressing participation. Identification of the athlete must be announced to the ISST CP officer at the start of the season. Name identity of the athlete can remain anonymous. The ISST membership will consider the application and where necessary, vote upon by the full membership.
c. Physical Risk - It may be that due to the nature of contact and physicality of sports, such as rugby, that ISST would consider whether transgender participation is appropriate. This will be on a case by case basis and will require proactive discussions with the student and, where appropriate, the parents or guardians. Identification of the athlete must be announced to the ISST CP officer at the start of the season. Name identity of the athlete can remain anonymous. The ISST membership will consider the application and where necessary, vote upon by the full membership.
7. International Travel
a. School personnel should be aware of and make necessary arrangements to minimize risk pertaining to cross-border travel and gender identity. These risks may involve border searches, issues regarding official identity documentation and privacy, host country policies and procedures, discriminatory host country laws, etc.
b. Contacting relevant agencies and/or embassies in advance will help to ensure that any policy or risk assessment completed by the school is accurate for that trip.
8. Staff and Faculty Development; Curriculum and Learning Resources
a. ISST is committed to working with member schools to educate all members of the membership to prevent discrimination based on any real or perceived differences; support multicultural, anti-racist, anti-homophobic and human rights education infused into the curricula; support developmentally appropriate activities and resources that promote knowledge and respect for all people and where minorities see themselves and their lives positively reflected; and build and maintain learning and library resources that affirm human diversity.
b. All Coaches, supervisors, support staff and parents should when required be expected to be familiar with this policy; promote understanding of the common language; understand the protection of privacy for community members and their families; be aware of strategies and procedures for intervening with issues, such as, bullying, harassment, intimidation, and/or discrimination; and model and teach inclusive, respectful practices that honor diversity and promote human rights.
9. Housing Protocol to support Athletic Directors, host and member families and athletes
It should be noted that often the number one concern of transgender people is non agreed disclosure
Confidentially make contact with the parents/guardian of the athlete at the start of the season to ensure they are aware of trips and overnight stays and the school and ISST policy to support their child.
Select as early as possible trips and events where the athlete will be participating in order to give time to implement this protocol.
When hosting with a membership family is required, ensure you have the permission of the athlete and parent/guardian to FIRST select a housing partner from the same school. Ensure this is done with the transgender athletes and the parents. Contact with the housing partner family should take place and permission to host with the transgender athlete given. Seeking support of an advisor or councilor at this stage could be applicable. Permission to either share a room or be hosted in a single room needs to be obtained at this point between both athlete and housing pair families and students.
Once permission for a housing partner is obtained, contact with the host school is made. Their responsibility is to find (if possible) a family within their community who would be suitable to host and to obtain their permission to host the transgender athlete and the housing partner.
Now that Athletic Director, housing student partner, parents and host family are all informed, confidentiality by all parties should take place.
10. Common Language
The definitions provided here are not intended to label individuals but rather to assist in understanding this policy (taken from NYC Department of Education Guidelines).
Gender Expression: The way a person expresses gender to others in ways that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, name, pronouns, activities, voice or mannerisms. (Note: Gender expression can vary depending on one’s culture as well as changes in social norms and expectations, such as shifts in clothing and hairstyles.)
Gender Identity: Gender Identity is a person’s inner sense of being a man or a woman, some combination of both, or neither. A person’s gender-related identity, may or may not be different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. Everyone has a gender identity
Gender Transition: Refers to the process in which transgender individuals begin asserting the sex that corresponds to their gender identity instead of the sex they were assigned at birth. During gender transition, individuals may begin to live and identify as the sex consistent with their gender identity and may dress differently, adopt a new name, and use pronouns consistent with their gender identity. Transgender individuals may undergo gender transition at any stage of their lives, and gender transition can happen swiftly or over a long period of time.
Intersex: A term used for individuals born with variations in sex characteristics – reproductive or sexual anatomy or chromosome pattern - that do not fit the typical binary notions of male or female bodies.
Sexual Orientation: A person’s sexual orientation is the individual’s continuing pattern of physical, romantic, emotional, aesthetic or other attraction to another person. Sexual orientation can be towards persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes and more than one gender. Sexual orientation is not the same as gender identity.
Transgender: Describes a person whose gender identity or gender expression is different from their assigned sex at birth.