New Certificate Program Puts Academic Focus on Working with Trans, Nonbinary, Agender and Gender Nonconforming Youth
Graduate School of Education and Counseling and TransActive Gender Project have launched a first-of-its-kind Gender Diversity Certificate Program—a 9-month intensive program to prepare individuals to better support trans-spectrum children, youth, and adults, and educate those within the PK-12 education system and other youth serving organizations.Lewis & Clark
“The existence of gender expansive identity in children and teens is not something new, nor is it the result of ‘social contagion’,” explains Jenn Burleton, TransActive Program Director and co-director of the Gender Diversity Certificate Program. “It is a natural variation in human development that all aspects of society and culture have most often either ignored, or disapproved of.”
The Gender Diversity Certificate Program aims to address this historical marginalization by providing educators and other professionals working in youth-serving roles with the knowledge to understand both the scope of gender diversity and the intersectional challenges faced, and the need to be both an ally and advocate for the elimination of arbitrary and destructive gender role stereotypes.
“With all the stress and trauma our students have faced recently, it is time for those of us who work with youth to step up and participate in affirming their lives and who they are so that they may thrive,” says Cari Zall, teacher education professor and co-director of the Gender Diversity Certificate Program. “This program will provide a foundation of history, ethics, economics, and social and cultural issues surrounding trans, nonbinary, agender, and gender nonconforming youth, and will give each participant an opportunity to learn how they best can advocate for and affirm the students they work with, no matter who those students are.”
Participants will gain an increased awareness and understanding of how natural human gender diversity impacts their lives and the lives of those around them, becoming prepared to actively engage with the challenges they face in classrooms, school boards, and communities regarding curriculum review/development, policies and practice, and social justice advocacy related to gender diversity.
Burleton concludes by emphasizing the importance and urgency of this work.
“These are our kids, and over the past 25 years we’ve learned that when they are affirmed by their families, schools, communities and healthcare providers, they can thrive and share their gifts with the world. It’s time there was academic focus on providing those working with trans, nonbinary, agender and gender nonconforming youth the tools they need to best serve the needs of these kids and their families. I believe the TransActive Gender Project Certificate Program at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling will do just that.”
Applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2022. Those working in youth-serving professions, such as school teachers, administrators, counselors, board members, PK-12 support service providers, nonprofit employees, attorneys, early-childhood providers, and state and county professionals are encouraged to apply. In order to make the certificate program widely accessible, a bachelor’s degree is not required.
More information, including course descriptions and how to apply, is available on the Gender Diversity Certificate Program’s web page.