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SCOOP: They're building a groomer middle school exclusively for trans and non-binary kids
Trans Formative Schools seeks to train the next generation of radical trans activists with their programs for kids ages 9-15.
This article is original reporting about a middle school exclusively for trans and non-binary kids that no media outlet has reported on yet.
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I recently published this article about Tufts University looking to study non-binary three-year-olds to figure out how their gender identity develops:
That study is being conducted by the Abby & Anna Sogie Lab at Tufts. And it’s not the only thing they’re studying. They are also studying the following:
“How does a trans and social justice centered educational space-intentionally co-constructed by trans educators, trans students, trans professional researchers, and families-touched-by transness- impact outcomes for trans middle school students?”
Where might they find such a space, you ask?
They’re building it.
Trans Formative Schools is an initiative to build a middle school exclusively for trans and non-binary children.
A MIDDLE SCHOOL.
They are launching an afterschool program this coming fall 2023, and are fundraising to launch a full middle school.
Their dream is to create a school where children can learn from people who “reflect their identity” and be taught subjects that “confront racism, transphobia, and other social inequities.”
They want to embolden students to “lead lives dedicated to collective liberation.”
They believe “in a Middle School that teachers transformational resistance, empowering students to challenge racist, ableist, transphobic, transmisogynistic, and other white supremacist systems.”
Their goal is to found a middle school that “embodies the work of liberation” through (among other things) identity exploration and progressive practice.
Their programming will “focus on social justice by providing the tools that educators and students need to work toward systemic change.”
They will do so using “progressive pedagogies” and a curricula that “will empower learning communities to challenge systems of oppression by providing community members with the academic and social-emotional tools to read and write power.”
They will also provide professional development training to teachers in New York City and nationally. Workshops will include:
Sophisticated discussions of gender modality, identity and expression, ascribed gender, and their intersections with other marginalizations such as race and disability
The process of imagining trans liberated schools
The implementation of our interdisciplinary curricula
The afterschool program is going to launch in partnership with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center to “address the unmet needs of trans, queer, nonbinary, and gender expansive middle school students.”
It will target students ages 9 to 15, and be facilitated by trans, nonbinary and queer educators.
They will definitely not be grooming kids.
Classes will include yoga, animation, queer history, activism, zines, queer media, and Transing School.
And they will be working in collaboration with Fer Salina-Quiroz, who is an Assistant Professor at Tufts and says they “specialize in working with 2SPLGBTQIA+ individuals and "non-traditional families” and also studies children raised outside of the traditional family structure.
Fer also runs the center at Tufts that is looking for non-binary 3-year-olds to study, which I covered previously.
Another interesting thing is that they plan on working with Youth, Participatory Action Research (or Y-PAR) to create programming for the middle school students.
Do you know who else had their students work with Y-PAR?
The Burlington Vermont School District we caught grooming middle school students live on the internet last year.
Trans Formative Schools was founded by Alaina Daniels, pronouns they/she.
Alaina is a white, queer, neurodivergent, nonbinary trans woman and “loves being both a mirror and a window for adolescents as they figure out their identities and find their voices in the world.”
You’ll be thrilled to hear that Alaina is a very experienced teacher. They has taught middle and high school science, activism, sex education, robotics, engineering, algebra, and queer media at New York City schools for over ten years, including at Manhattan Country School, Bank Street School for Children, Brooklyn Friends, and the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
“She passionately believes that science and math can be incredibly powerful tools to educate for liberation.”
Another co-founder is Ro Peña, pronouns they/elle.
Ro is a non-binary Afro-Caribbean Dominican. You will be thrilled to know that, for the last eight years, Ro has taught a variety of learners from first through sixth grade in public, charter, and private schools.
And the last co-founder, and the CEO, is J Florence, pronouns they/them.
J is a nonbinary, trans, white, neurodivergent educator who has taught math in progressive K-12 schools for over a decade. “J’s daily work makes space for TLGBQ youth and teachers to co-create educational spaces.”
Let’s dig into some of their social media posts!
They believe in Middle School…and they believe in transition:
They’re pretty clear that the goal is “systemic societal change through education,” just like the Communist Manifesto called for.
They’re going to teach middle schoolers “transformational resistance.'“
This is all necessary because “most teachers and school administrators are typically cisgender and uphold cis-supremacist norms.”
And, of course, those cisgender parents are a further complication in the lives of trans youth.
They will embrace their full Paulo Freire by making sure we know the educators and staff will learn with and from the students.
They posted this in conjunction with that Tufts professor working with them about what it means to “trans education and research.”
To trans is a way of seeing and knowing; an epistemological position to produce new and dissident forms of knowledge.
Trans studies broadly aims to contribute to material change in the conditions of trans life by identifying and dismantling the root causes of transgender oppression, contributing to the development of alternative social formations.
This project ‘research towards a world where access to life-sustaining resources does not depend upon one’s institutional legibility.’
Transing education research means subverting the history of cisgender researchers exploiting trans communities and rejecting the often-seen but inherently bigoted argument that trans individuals cannot be sufficiently objective to make meaningful contributions to scientific literature.
Transed education research welcomes trans researchers, educators, and students in our full humanities, understand trans oppression as intersectional, situates trans oppression in all projects seeking liberation, values, polyvocality, and centers trans experiential knowledge.
What do you think?
What could possibly go wrong with this idea? Leave a comment and let me know what you need.
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