T* Is for Thriving

Blueprints for Affirming Trans* and Gender Creative Lives and Learning in Schools

April 2024
More details
  • Publisher
    Myers Education Press
  • Published
    8th April
  • ISBN 9781975505271
  • Language English
  • Pages 200 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"
  •    Request Exam Copy
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April 2024
More details
  • Publisher
    Myers Education Press
  • Published
    22nd April
  • ISBN 9781975505288
  • Language English
  • Pages 200 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"

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April 2024
More details
  • Publisher
    Myers Education Press
  • Published
    22nd April
  • ISBN 9781975505295
  • Language English
  • Pages 200 pp.
  • Size 7" x 10"
  •    Request E-Exam Copy

Being a transgender* or gender creative (T*GC) child in the United States today means being the subject of a national debate about whether you are entitled to exist, live a full life, or control your body. T*GC students have suffered outside of and within schools, experiencing among the highest rates of academic exclusion, vulnerability to bullying and violence, poor mental health, and troubling life outcomes due to bias, stigma, and discrimination.

At the time this manuscript was completed, the Human Rights Campaign had officially declared a “State of Emergency'' for LGBTQ+ Americans. Of the over 600 anti-LGBTQ+ bills recently introduced across the nation, nearly a third directly target trans* and gender-creative people, particularly children, violating both civil and human rights. Fortunately, not all bills will pass, and activists are moving liberation work forward everywhere every day.

T* Is for Thriving offers collected wisdom from educators and community members about meeting T*GC students’ needs in schools in order to light a path toward their thriving. In it, the editors, Kia Darling-Hammond and Bre Evans-Santiago, have curated lesson plans that offer models for inclusive instruction, along with stories that amplify community guidance about how to be responsive, affirming, and celebratory of T*GC needs, histories, and contributions in schools.

These stories and lessons are an immediate resource for advancing a pedagogy of hope and possibility, both in the present and the future. T* Is for Thriving is essential reading for anyone involved in developing and defending the rights of educators and students. It is the perfect text for courses in teacher education, as well as those focused on social justice, LGBTQ+ topics, and critical pedagogy.

Perfect for courses such as: Multicultural Education; Gender Studies; Teaching Methods (Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math); Curriculum Design; Diversity in Education; Social Foundations of Education; Inclusive Methods of Teaching; Practicum/Clinical Practice; Literacy Methods; and History, Policy and Social Changes

T* Is for Thriving is a delightfully thoughtful and affirming book filled with meaningful lessons that assist students with self-reflection and self-awareness. Multi-stepped and intersectional lessons utilize strong literature-based learning experiences that naturally lend themselves to in-depth writing and creative experiences. Students will experience a stronger sense of self, belonging, and connectedness knowing that their feelings are inherently valued and supported.”

C. Scott Miller, Co-Chair CTA LGBTQ+ Caucus, California Teacher Association, National Educators Association

“Through the gifts of practical wisdom, personal narratives, and innovative lesson plans, this beautiful, hopeful book simultaneously asserts the fundamental right of all children to a liberating education, and offers tangible strategies to get there.”

Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Professor of English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

“Leading with joy, hope, and possibility, this collection of essays, reflections, and blueprints provide theoretical and practical foundations for how to work alongside trans* and gender creative youth in ways that affirm dignity and agency. A highly-recommended read for educators, researchers, and organizers who look to co-design speculative, thriving queer futures inside and outside of the classroom.”

Dr. José R. Lizárraga, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Boulder

“Though often well-intentioned, many advocates for trans* and gender creative youth rely on victimization narratives that reinscribe transphobic misery. This book foregrounds the agency, joy, and thriving of trans* and gender creative youth as tangible outcomes of our educational practice. For those of us in K-12 schools and teacher education, I hope that T* Is for Thriving becomes our mantra.”

Dr. Ed Brockenbrough, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania

“I am excited about this collection of first person narratives and educational resources that center the voices and lived experiences of trans* and gender creative students. This book gives the reader hope, nurtures understanding, and celebrates T*GC students. The volume includes lesson plans, situated in three theoretical frameworks, that provide readily applicable tools for educators to use in the classroom to spark self-love, joy and thriving among students. I highly recommend this compendium for all educators seeking to create inclusive schools for young people.”

Dr. Shireen Pavri, Assistant Vice Chancellor Educator & Leadership Programs, The California State University

“Queerly leaning scholars have paved ways for the arrival of Darling-Hammond’s and Evans-Santiago’s’ collection of life-affirming and timely lessons. These 'brave' lessons do not fear 'covering' nor do they tiptoe or shy 'around' topics that may land a teacher in jail or even have their teaching credentials revoked. NO! The collection of these life-affirming lessons makes an unapologetically urgent call to administrators, staff, teachers, families, and students to band and stand together to resist the nefarious and nonsensical patchwork of politics and to insist that all T*GC students deserve and are entitled to the same human rights as those of their peers. Perhaps one day we won’t have to call queer scholarship or practitioner-research 'brave', then one day we can stop endnoting, footnoting, or hash tagging a T*GC student’s identity, and finally, thriving will manifest as it was always meant to be—for all students.”

Dr. sj Miller, Professor, Santa Fe Community College, Owner of DEIAB+ Consulting

“Nurtured from a profound love, this book is a rallying call for every one of us to create spaces for liberation grounded in radical care, safety, vulnerability, and hope. With a beautiful blend of theory, storytelling, and practice, this book is insightful, critical, and pragmatic in its steadfast invitation to create today the realities desperately needed to ensure we move past survival into thriving.”

Lucy Recio, Movement builder, facilitator, and professor




Introduction: Hope and Possibility for the Work of Trans* and Gender Creative Thriving

Part One

TRANSformational Lotus: A Haiku

1. Exploring and Reclaiming Home in Our Bodies
K. Elliott

2. Brain Chemicals and Kindness
Bre Evans-Santiago

3. Who Are You?: A Black Queer Journey to Selfhood and Community
Danelle Adeniji and DeKeisha Smith

4. Annie’s Plaid Shirt
Wendy Garay and Bethany Gonzales

Interlude One

5. Be You!
Ana Cornejo

6. Exploring Identity and Selfhood
Shaylyn Marks

Interlude Two
What Are You Waiting For?: A Short Story
El Chen

Part Two

7. Two-Spirit People and the Impact of Colonialism in California
Olivia Garrison

Interlude Three

8. Female Husbands
Jada Thompson, Jay Wang, and Carol Jacob

Interlude Four

9. Queering Counter-Narratives
Benjamin C. Kennedy and Alex Rosado-Torres

10. Yassifying Math With “The Hips on the Drag Queen”
El Chen with Cathery Yeh and B. E. Waid

11. 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Centers: A Beacon of Hope
B. E. Waid and Tyrone Martinez-Black



Appendix A: Story Contributor Biographies

Appendix B: Teaching Routines, Scaffolds, and Tools

Appendix C: Editor Recommendations for Further Learning and Exploration

About the Authors


Kia Darling-Hammond

Kia Darling-Hammond (she/they) is author of the Bridge to Thriving Framework© and co-author of The Civil Rights Road to Deeper Learning: Five Essentials for Equity. As CEO of the education and research firm Wise Chipmunk LLC, she leverages over 25 years of experience in education, research, organizational leadership, and youth development to offer thriving-focused research, advising, coaching, and public speaking, as well as designs for professional learning, curriculum development, and organizational growth.

Bre Evans-Santiago

Bre Evans-Santiago (she/her) is an author, Chair, and Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Department at California State University, Bakersfield. Her research focuses on culturally sustaining pedagogy and practices in TK–8 schools. Her award-winning book Mistakes We Have Made: Implications for Social Justice Educators (Myers Education Press, 2020) provides a vulnerable perspective on everyday scenarios and strategies for teachers of all ages to reflect upon while teaching with a social justice framework.

LGBTQ; Trans; Teaching; Lessons; Gender; Education; Thriving; Celebrating; Transgender; Trans*; gender creative; nonbinary; gender nonconforming; gender fluid; SOGIE; gender identity; gender expression; LGBTQ+; student(s); curriculum; school(s); public school; teacher education; learning; inclusive; inclusive education; inclusivity; story; stories; social emotional learning; SEL; thriving; flourishing; well-being; wellbeing