“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Martin Luther King Jr.
In the last few years, stories about transgender rights have made their way to the forefront of national attention. These issues have cropped up in every area from workplaces, to shopping, to healthcare policy, so it’s no surprise that schools, too, are grappling with the correct way to deal with new understandings of gender.
Maharishi School rolled out a new set of guidelines in December with the aim of clearly defining the rights and responsibilities of students, faculty, and staff in the area of gender identity. The adoption of this gender diversity policy means that Maharishi School treats each student’s self-proclaimed gender identity as their sex, without requiring a medical diagnosis or treatment as a prerequisite for accommodation. Transgender students are not excluded, separated, denied benefits, or otherwise treated differently based on their gender identity. Policy changes cover everything from locker room and field trip accommodations, to uniform requirements, to names and pronouns used by every member of our school community.
We have gone about fulfilling this promise through a change in facilities and guidelines, as well as an ongoing effort to teach students, faculty, and staff about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. As part of that educational effort, a rainbow flag was raised on campus this week. The flag serves as a visual reminder that our school is a safe space, where every person will be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness.
At Maharishi School, we take the view that insisting upon safety and consideration for our fellow humans is not an expression of preference or endorsement, but rather one of equality. LGBTQ rights are human rights, no more and no less. Our desire is that every person who visits or attends our school knows that they are respected, safe, and loved.