Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Robb Travers

Advisor Role

Associate Professor; Chair, Health Sciences

Abstract

Trans youth are some of the most marginalized youths in schools. In 2012, the Ontario Government passed two legislations, one of which was the Accepting Schools Act, strengthening supports for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) students in schools. The other was Toby’s Act, an amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code including protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how these two acts have created a political context supporting trans youth in schools. A comprehensive mixed-methods approach was used to examine provincial trends of trans-specific policies in Ontario, while using two school systems in the Waterloo Region as a case study. Overall, there were three sources of data: results from a national survey, policies from the school boards, and interviews with school administrators, staff and a trans youth. Analyzing these data, I met two research objectives: 1) understanding how school board policies support trans youth within schools and 2) contributing to a practical understanding of what other supports are needed to assist trans youth in schools. The results revealed that not all school districts have implemented policies protecting trans youth. Among the public and Catholic school districts, the Catholic school districts had lower compliance rates with adhering to the Accepting Schools Act. Some factors to increase likelihood of trans supports are: devoted gay-straight alliances (GSA) leaders, supportive senior administrators, trans-inclusive policies, framing trans issues in an appropriate way, and staff sharing successful bullying invention strategies.

Convocation Year

2015