What happens when you bring gender training to a public elementary school? In Creating Gender Inclusive Schools the Peralta Elementary School in Oakland CA demonstrates the power of an open and honest conversation about gender.


The school brought in the staff of Gender Spectrum to provide training for teachers and administrators as well as an age-appropriate curriculum for students. During this step, everyone involved was empowered to look at their own personal confusion, bias and feelings around gender.

Parents are brought into the mix next, and add to the spirited discussion about creating a safe place for all of our children to be themselves. A week of classroom activities helps the students learn about gender, stereotyping, and bullying. Their insightful and intuitive discussions will open your eyes to how comfortable young people can be when given the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about gender.

Creating Gender Inclusive Schools demonstrates that it’s not only possible, but that it’s downright fun, to train an entire public elementary school community to be inclusive of transgender and gender expansive youth.

Creating Gender Inclusive Schools is one of four films in the Youth & Gender Media Project, which together demonstrate how to reach every member of a school community—students, teachers, parents and administrators—to help them create educational settings that welcome all young people, regardless of the where they fall on the spectrum of gender identity and expression.

Purchase all four films for the price of three at: https://www.newday.com/film/youth-and-gender-media-project.

Director's Commentary: 

I was a gender nonconforming child who loved to play with both dollhouses and Hot Wheels, wear pants and dresses. Like any child, I wanted it all! Around second grade, I started to get teased and bullied for my “sissy” ways and decided to give up “girly” things in order to evade the harassment that I intuitively knew would only get worse as I grew older. But this also meant that I abandoned an important part of myself.

In the early 2000s I began to read about children who were gender creative and transgender and were living in communities that supported them. These children and their families were doing what my community hadn’t been able to do when I was a child. As a social change filmmaker, I wanted to document and help grow the movement that embraces rather than suppresses children with gender expansive identities.

In 2007, I began work on a film that eventually turned into the Youth and Gender Media Project, a series of short films about gender expansive young people and their families and communities. I’m happy to say that the films have screened in festivals around the world and are being used in hundreds of middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout North America to help make the world safe for youth of any and all manifestations of gender identity and expression.

Joel Baum at Gender Spectrum and I first talked about documenting a school inclusivity training several years ago, but it took more than two years for us to find a school community that would be willing to let us come in with cameras to document the process. It was worth the wait. We are grateful to Peralta principal Rosette Costello, who understood not only the value of inclusion, but also the importance of demonstrating that value to other school administrators and educators in the form of a film.