It’s still not easy being a trans child. This is what schools can do to help


The world has changed in the 30 years since I learned that the third of our four children wished to transition. She had been registered as male at birth and had given no indication that she identified as a girl, or so I thought. Hindsight is a wonderful thing; the signs were there. I had missed them. Trans issues are now more mainstream, and generally elicit less interest than in the past. On hearing of the impending transition of a classmate, the current response is likely to be the classic teenage shrug, and the bored, dismissive, “Whatever!”


Nevertheless, the social transition of children, especially in infant and primary schools, is often greeted by a mix of disbelief – “how can they possibly know?” – and prejudice, sometimes prompted by religious orthodoxy, a strong belief that “this is wrong”. These factors, combined with the mistaken belief that the trans population is tiny, may lead schools to be reactive, rather than proactive, in preparing for the transition of a student or staff member. Instead of taking pre-emptive steps in line with the public sector equality duty (Equality Act 2010), they respond with the belated, headless-chicken approach.


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