The New York City Department of Education, which runs the nation's largest school district, has issued guidelines on how to meet the needs of its transgender students.

The new guidelines encourage schools to use transgender students' preferred names and gender pronouns and state that transgender students should not be required to use a locker room or bathroom that conflicts with their gender identity. Also students should be allowed to participate in most sports activities according to their gender identity. Guidelines also cover how schools should handle harassment against transgender students.

Michael Silverman, executive director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) applauded the move but called on the school district to take further steps.

“We are pleased to see the Department of Education issue guidelines that support transgender students in the New York City school system and applaud its commitment to take incidents of anti-transgender harassment seriously,” Silverman said in a statement. “This is a big step in the right direction, but transgender kids face unique challenges in school that require more. Officials need to ensure that transgender students have the same opportunities as all students that allow them to thrive. That means treating them as the boys and girls that they are, including letting them use bathrooms that match their true identities. Anything less stigmatizes them as the only boys and girls who are forced to use separate facilities.”

“In addition, schools must allow transgender kids to play competitive sports just like all other students,” he added. “The values of teamwork and fair play that school sports teach are important for everyone in school, including transgender students. Ensuring that transgender students can take part in their school environments as their authentic selves keeps them safe, builds their confidence, and helps them to succeed in school. School districts around the country are recognizing the importance of supporting transgender students. We're happy to see New York City following suit, and would like to see its school system become an even better ally to transgender students.”