The Power of Education

Please use the following as a discussion guide to maximize the use of the short film here, which can serve as a tool for teachers and school staff members to better understand students’ experiences of youth empowerment.

The story told in the film is an example of students’ challenges, successes and obstacles as agents of positive change at their school. The film is not intended to demonstrate an ideal model or template for teachers or schools regarding youth empowerment in a school setting.


Student describes his experience transitioning to a boy and talks about the responses he received from teachers and school staff, and from his peers.


Adultism is a painful experience for young people, especially marginalized students struggling to express their identity who do not receive the support they need.


  • Expressing gender identity can be difficult for a transgendered person due to marginalization
  • Ways adultism is manifested when young people seek support and their needs and concerns are not respected
  • Experience of confronting adultism for one young person
  • Loss of young people’s trust as a consequence of adultism
  • Barriers to inclusion can be created by bureaucracy
  • Importance of being open and respecting young people’s needs, agency and capacity


  • Supporting our students by listening carefully and respecting their needs and choices as our primary focus
  • Dealing with disagreements or parameters by respectful listening, clear communication, creativity, compromise and negotiation to reach consensus
  • Ensuring our words are coherent with our behaviour
  • Educating ourselves about transgenderism and exclusion of transgendered people
  • Seeking constructive alternative strategies when confronted with bureaucratic barriers to inclusion.

Questions for Group Discussion

  1. What are some of the messages this story offers?
  2. What barriers to inclusion of transgendered people are illustrated in this story?
  3. What are some examples of adultism?
  4. What are some of the consequences of adultism?
  5. What are key elements of effective adult support?
  6. As teachers and school staff, how can we increase our capacity to act as allies for our transgendered students?