Gender and Sexuality

Lower School students look at a memorial wall to honor the BIPOC trans women whose lives were taken due to racism and transphobia.
Lower School students look at a memorial wall to honor the BIPOC trans women whose lives were taken due to racism and transphobia.

Supporting Gender and Sexuality Diversity

Riverdale creates opportunities for reflection, exploration, affirmation, and leadership for students around their own identity development in the areas of gender and sexuality. Our emphasis on critical discourse means we support community members to question and challenge assumptions, and our emphasis on belonging means we work not just to see, but to celebrate LGBTQIA+ students, faculty/staff, parents/guardians, and alumni. We believe this work empowers community members of all identities to more authentically articulate and express themselves.


Gender and Sexuality Curriculum and Programming

An important part of supporting gender and sexuality diversity at Riverdale is creating opportunities for learning to build skill sets and broaden understandings.

The Lower School:

  • Explains the distinction between gender identity and gender expression
  • Recognizes and challenges gender stereotypes
  • Teaches human anatomy inclusive of the reproductive system
  • Discusses the importance of consent and personal safety
  • Celebrates the diversity of family structures

The Middle School:

  • Explores the impact of puberty on one’s developing identity
  • Discusses gender and sexual diversity
  • Examines aspects of healthy relationships

The Upper School:

  • Provides ongoing support for discussions regarding identity and intersectionality
  • Explores the impact of gender socialization
  • Teaches about the importance of consent in romantic and sexual relationships

Riverdale‚Äôs intentional approach allows the curricular program to build foundational knowledge for students that is reinforced and expanded according to the developmental needs of each grade. It removes silence about important topics, allowing students to be curious and ask questions, both at school and at home. Supporting identity development in this way helps to create a safe space and provides language for students to navigate conversations about family structure, gender, and sexuality. 


Lower, Middle, and Upper School students participate in a History of Voguing workshop led by members of the House of Mugler.
Drawing by a Lower School student for a Love & Pride celebration.
Drawing by a Lower School student for the Love & Pride celebration.

Creating Safe Spaces

We strive to be a school community in which LGBTQIA+ students, faculty/staff, parents/guardians, and alumni feel seen, heard, and valued. Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work is an iterative process and recognizes that no single identity is a monolithic experience. We create spaces where identities are affirmed and celebrated and programming encourages discourse and difficult conversations. Some of our offerings include:

  • Affinity groups for students
  • Affinity groups for faculty and staff
  • Education/advocacy group (Queer Student Alliance)
  • Ally Week
  • LGBTQIA+ History Month
  • Pride Celebrations