Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Wayne Martino


This study uses a qualitative approach to investigate the development and influence of school-based trans-affirmative policies in the Ontario education system. It focuses specifically on three policy texts of three individual school boards: Durham District School Board’s Supporting Our Transgender Students; Toronto District School Board’s Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff; and Thames Valley District School Board’s Guidelines for the Accommodation of Gender Diverse and Trans Students. While space is devoted to a text-based analysis in terms of how such policies constitute or construct transgender and gender non-conforming youth along with the political significance of such constructions, this thesis focuses on those stakeholders such as educators and administrators who have some knowledge of the development and enactment of such policies. Five participants (all of whom have been or are presently educators) were interviewed and serve as an empirical source for generating knowledge about the policy-practice nexus. This qualitative case study research aims to deepen our knowledge of how the needs of transgender and gender minority youth are being understood and addressed in the school system. In adopting a case study approach, the research is not concerned to generalize about the formulation and enactment of trans-affirmative policies, but rather, to undertake an exploratory analysis that fosters critical reflection on the particularity of the processes involved in trans-affirmative policy formulation and practice in schooling and school board contexts. This study thus is concerned to examine the implications of such trans-affirmative policy processes for addressing the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming students in the school system as a basis for drawing out the significance for researchers and policy makers in the field of education.