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An Investigation into Teachers’ Self-Reported Attitudes and Self-Efficacy toward Transgender Youth in the Northeast

Hilary B Burnham, Johnson & Wales University


The prominence of gender identity in schools has led to development of policies to support the transgender community (Goff & Silveira, 2016). Under the Equality Act of 2019, previous Civil Rights Laws were amended to “sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity)” (Equality Act of 2019, p.10). Moreover, the United States Department of Education suggests that transgender individuals are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression (Office of Attorney General, 2014). Yet, students who struggle with their gender identity are often not addressed by their preferred name or pronoun, have been prevented from using a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, and are often the victims of bullying and harassment from students and staff (Diaz et al.,2009; Kahn, 2016; Kosciw et al., 2018; Thoreson, 2016; Tunac De Pedro et al., 2016). If public school teachers are to uphold the protection under the Civil Rights Laws, the 14th Amendment, and the Equality Act of 2019, there is a need to understand a teachers’ attitude toward transgender youth, supportive school practices for transgender youth and teachers’ self-efficacy in effectively teaching these students (Goff & Silveira, 2016). This quantitative descriptive study was guided by six research question that investigated teachers’ self-reported attitude toward transgender individuals, supportive school practices for transgender youth and their self-efficacy in working with transgender students. A questionnaire was distributed to teachers (N= 123) in the Northeast. The results indicated that overall participants had a positive attitude towards transgender individuals and supportive school practices, however, their self-efficacy was rated a neutral-high. Indicating they lack the confidence and knowledge to effectively teach transgender youth. The findings from this study may aid in creating policy at the federal, state, or local level. Additionally, the federal or state Department of Education could collaborate with educational leaders to develop curriculum that is inclusive of transgender individuals. Furthermore, the study may advise educational leaders regarding what information to include in professional developments opportunities and pre-service education courses that educators may need to support transgender students to ensure a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Subject Area

LGBTQ studies

Recommended Citation

Burnham, Hilary B, "An Investigation into Teachers’ Self-Reported Attitudes and Self-Efficacy toward Transgender Youth in the Northeast" (2020). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI27960150.