National youth organisation InsideOUT have released a new resource for schools today, coinciding with International Day of Transgender Visibility.
The resource, titled ‘Making Schools Safer for Trans and Gender Diverse Students’ is aimed at secondary schools, providing information for boards of trustees, principals, teachers, school staff, parents and guidance counsellors.
“An increasing number of young people in New Zealand are coming out as trans while they are at school,” says Tabby Besley, National Coordinator of InsideOUT. “Schools have an obligation to provide a safe environment for all of their students, but many don’t know where to start when it comes to providing support for a trans young person.”
“This resource aims to walk schools through that process, raising all of the things they might need to think about in order to provide a safe and inclusive environment for trans and gender diverse students. From dealing with bullying to bathrooms and uniforms, to school camps and roll calls, the resource provides best practice solutions in all areas.”
“We want this resource to create visibility for trans and gender diverse young people and their right to safety at school. We know from the Youth’12 study by the University of Auckland that 4 out of every 100 young people in NZ identify as trans or questioning their gender, and over half of them are afraid of being hurt or bullied at school. Our resource gives schools the tools to be able to support these students the best that they can.”
“In 2015 the Ministry of Education released their updated Sexuality Education Guidelines, recommending that all schools provide gender neutral uniforms and toilets, ensure inclusive sports procedures, have health programmes that affirm sexuality and gender diversity and educate against and respond to incidents of bullying in relation to sexuality and gender diversity. These guidelines align with our suggestions in this resource and we believe it is vital to uphold them in order to create safer schools for trans and gender diverse youth.”
The creation of InsideOUT’s resource, Making Schools Safer for Trans and Gender Diverse Students, was a collaborative effort, started by gathering experiences of trans and gender diverse young people across the country and identifying what would or had make them feel supported at school.
Every secondary school across the country will be sent two hard copies of the resource to use. It is available for anyone to view and download for free online at: http://www.insideout.org.nz