about Gender Identity Justice in Schools and Communities

What is gender identity justice, why does it matter, and what are the implications for not doing this work in today’s schools? This premiere book in the new Teachers College Press series School : Questions, carefully walks readers through both theory and practice to equip them with the skills needed to bring gender identity justice into classrooms, schools, and ultimately, society. The text looks into the root causes and ways to change the conditions that have created gender identity injustice. It opens up spaces where evolving, indeterminate gender identities will be understood and recognized as asset-based, rich sources for learning literacy and literacy learning. As educators take up the strategies mapped out across this text, they will learn how to foster school environments that aid all students in becoming agents for social change. This text is the first of its kind to address gender identity in teacher education with pathways to take up the work in communities and beyond.

Book Features:

  • Provides concrete strategies for supporting students with complex gender identities.
  • Cuts across all disciplines and academic levels.
  • Offers an innovative theory of trans*+ for education.
  • Includes a glossary, definitions, and useful charts and illustrations.
  • Unpacks the dangers of cisgender assumptions in schools.
  • Introduces new vocabulary about gender identity.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Does Gender Identity Justice Matter?
      Emily, the Every Student
      Why Does Gender Identity Justice Matter?
      Entering Into This Work
      Sowing Seeds in Education for Gender Identity Justice


1.  Why Is It Urgent to Address Gender Identity Complexity in Educational Settings?
      Questionable and “Stable” Protections
      The Political Climate’s Toll on Regulating Gender Identity
      Two Simultaneous Front-Facing Issues: Gavin Grimm and the Federal Guidance and Its Rollback
      Cautions About Compartmentalizing Gender Identities


2.  What Are the Dangers of the Cisgender Assumption? 
      Cisgender Privilege
      School Through the Eyes of Students with Complex Gender Identities
      How a Recognition Gap and Identity Erasure Impact Students


3.  How Do Assumptions About Students’ Complex Gender Identities Affect Their Schooling Experiences?
      Addressing Gender Identity Complexity in Schools
      How Students Embody Refusals of Assimilation
      Gender Identity Complexity as Literacy Learning and Learning     Literacy
      Why Shifts in Relationships to Students’ Complex Gender Identities Matter


4. “I Don’t Have the Slightest Insight About Where I Should Begin”
      Addressing Gender Identity Complexity in Schooling Contexts
      Strategies in Disrupting Cisgender Assumption


5.   How Can I Understand Gender Identity as Trans-Sectional and Trans-Cultural?<
      Resetting the Pedagogical Default About Gender Identity


6.  What Does the Future of Gender Identity Justice Look Like?
      Sustaining Gender Identity Complexity Self-Determination
      Sustaining Sown Seeds for Gender Identity Complexity Justice


Glossary of Shifting Terms, Appendixes, References


This work stands as an invitation to learn together and work for more socially just schools, and for understanding that students with complex gender identities need, deserve, and insist on educational justice in these and other changing times. 

—Cris T. Mayo, West Virginia University


There is only one word to describe the work of sj Miller: champion. sj’s work is restless, complex, inspiring, honest, loving, and thought-provoking. about Gender Identity Justice in Schools and Communities is some of sj’s finest work. This is a book for teachers to learn not just the ins and outs about gender identity, but also why gender identity matters in the fight for justice. 

—Bettina Love, University of Georgia


With a generous intersectional analysis, about Gender Identity Justice in Schools and Communities is not just a necessary read for those of us working in schools, but for all who aim to build flourishing communities

—Erica R. Meiners, Northeastern Illinois University


Education activist Miller (Teaching, Affirming, and Recognizing Trans and Gender Creative Youth) presents an illuminating guide for educators and administrators on creating a safe and welcoming space for gender-nonconforming students in schools. The author begins by highlighting the difficulties these students face, including microaggressions, “identity-based violence and social marginalization,” and fluctuating federal legislation regarding their rights. The concept of cisgender privilege is insightfully defined, allowing the reader a greater understanding of the many ordinary rights a cisgender person takes for granted that a gender-nonconforming person is often denied (such as adequate health care and appropriate bathroom facilities). Miller also notes some of the well-meaning but misguided tactics teachers should avoid, including promoting “diversity,” a term that posits a societal “norm” from which gender-nonconforming individuals are supposedly deviating, and offers concrete tactics educators can implement to include gender-nonconforming students. These include using personal introductions in which students are invited state their preferred names and pronouns, encouraging students to think critically about gender norms, and conducting “conversation about the flexibility of gender and gender identity.” Fundamentally, Miller explains, “Validation legitimizes [gender-nonconforming students’] existence and place in the world.” Miller’s guidance is comprehensive, nonjudgmental, and accessible to all readers. The balanced mix of pedagogical theory and practical advice should prove instrumental to educators seeking to make their classrooms more inclusive. (Mar.)


Publisher’s Weekly