City Schools prohibits discrimination and harassment based on students’ actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, and/or pregnancy/parenting status. Sex-based stereotyping, based on conformance or nonconformance to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, is also a form of sex-based discrimination.
If you would like support at school, this protocol is a tool you can use with a trusted member of the school administration.
- Gender expression – The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender through their behavior, speech, word choices, clothing, hairstyles, activities, or mannerisms.
- Gender identity – A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the sex assigned at birth. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth.
- Sexual orientation – The emotional and sexual attraction one feels for others. Sexual orientation can range from exclusively homosexual (attraction to same-sex only) to bisexual (attraction to members of more than one sex), to exclusively heterosexual (attraction to another sex only).
- Lesbian – A woman whose sexual orientation is towards women.
- Gay – A man whose sexual orientation is towards men.
- Agender – A person who has an internal sense of being neither male nor female nor some combination of male and female. A person whose gender identity is genderless or neutral.
- Cisgender – A person whose sex assigned at birth corresponds with their gender identity.
- Intersex – A person whose biological characteristics do not seem to fit typical definitions of male or female.
- Gender fluid – A person whose gender identity or gender expression is not fixed and may shift over time depending on the situation.
- Sex assigned at birth – The sex designation recorded on an infant’s birth certificate, should such a record be provided at birth.
- Transgender – The umbrella term that can be used to describe people whose gender expression or gender identity and sense of who they are as male or female does not match their sex assigned at birth.
- Transition – The process through which transgender people begin to live as the gender with which they identify, rather than the one typically associated with their sex assigned at birth.
- Non-binary – A person who transcends commonly held concepts of gender through their own expression and identity (e.g., gender expansive, gender creative, or genderqueer). Some non-binary people are also transgender.
This January 26, 2021 report to the Board contains information on City Schools’ LGBTQ+ Support initiative.
Board Policy JBB and Administrative Regulation JBB-RA also have information on specific protections and supports City Schools offers to LGBTQ+ employees, third parties, and students. If you have experienced or witnessed bullying or discrimination based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, or gender expression, please visit the Student Sex-Based Discrimination and Sexual Harassment section above.
For information on transgender student participation in athletics: MPSSAA Guidance for Participation of Transgender Youth in Interscholastic Athletics, August 2016
City Schools has established an LGBTQ+ Cross-Functional Team, comprised of individuals from across City Schools offices and schools, as well as external stakeholders.
Team Mission: Develop and implement supportive practices that will contribute to safe and secure environments for all those we serve in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) community, by building the capacity of the City Schools community in the work; by ensuring robust compliance with legal requirements and Board policies; and by reporting and responding to complaints while working to reduce the occurrence of policy violations.
Team Vision: All members of the City Schools LGBTQ+ community will be affirmed, feel brave, experience equitable treatment and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Please reach out to Chitamawe Daka Mulwanda (CDMulwanda@bcps.k12.md.us) for more information, or with any questions or ideas for the Cross-Functional Team.
Preferred or Chosen Name and Sex & Nonbinary Option
Did you know that you can use a preferred name and sex in school, on virtual learning platforms, and on most City Schools documents, without having to go through the legal name/sex change process?
Read City Schools’ Administrative Guidance on Changes to Student Records to Affirm Gender and Identity.
Maryland state law allows students to identify as nonbinary on their student records. Please see the Maryland State Records Manual for more information.
If you want to know more, please reach out to your principal or counselor for more information.
Safe and Welcoming Schools
Some City Schools host Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs). These are sometimes also known as Gay-Straight Alliances.
Please reach out to your principal if you would like to explore starting a GSA at your school.
This guide also contains helpful information about creating safe and welcoming schools: Maryland State Department of Education Providing Safe Spaces for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: Guidelines for Gender Identity Non-Discrimination
If you are in crisis and need support, the following hotlines are open 24/7:
Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc – (410) 433-5255
Trained counselors provide mental health and substance use information and referrals, supportive counseling, suicide crisis intervention and adolescent crisis intervention. They also dispatch emergency assistance and link callers with more intensive BCRI and community services. The Hotline operates as the gateway to BCRI's Mobile Crisis Team.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386
A non-judgmental hotline for those 25 years old and below with LGBTQ-sensitive trained counselors you can contact through a call, text, or chat during a mental health crisis and/or suicidal thoughts.
Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860
Trans Lifeline is primarily for transgender people in a crisis, from struggling with gender identity to thoughts of self-harm.
- GLSEN: GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Together we can transform our nation's schools into the safe and affirming environment all youth deserve.
- Gender Spectrum: Gender Spectrum works to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens.
- Stop Bullying Gov provides kids, teens, educators, families and communities with resources to address bullying related to sexual orientation.
- Teaching Tolerance is a place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools. Best Practices: Creating an LGBTQ-inclusive School Climate is a guide for school leaders on teaching tolerance for LGBTQIA+ students.
- Youth Online Source for Credible Health Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers resources to youth, educators, and family members.
- YES Drop-In Center: YES Drop-In Center is a safe space for youth who are homeless and between the ages of 14-25, to get basic needs met and establish supportive relationships with peer staff and allies that them make and sustain connections to long-term resources and opportunities.
- JOY Baltimore: JOY Baltimore (JOY) is a grassroots organization whose primary goal is to end youth homelessness within Baltimore, Maryland. Through our Drop-In Center, we offer homeless, displaced, runaway and LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, access to emergency and permanent housing, medical and dental services, community services, vital records, and Maryland State ID.
- Baltimore City LGBTQ Commission: The Baltimore City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission will advise the Mayor, City Council, and City agencies about issues of concern affecting the LGBTQ community, recommend policies and legislation, bring the LGBTQ communities and the larger Baltimore community together through long-ranged projects, and ensure that City agencies fairly and equitably address issues affecting Baltimore's LGBTQ communities.