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British school sends transgender girl home to change into boys uniform

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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BOSTON, Lincolnshire, U.K. — A 16-year-old British transgender girl was told that she couldn’t take her GCSE exam (equivalent to high school finals) and was sent home by teachers to change into the boys’ school uniform.

Ashlyn Parram, who identifies as female, arrived for the exams wearing a girl’s uniform consisting of a skirt and blazer and was warned by the Giles Academy’s headmaster, Chris Wall, that unless “he” went and changed back into a boy’s uniform and presented “himself” for exams as a male, “he” would not be permitted to complete exams which mark the end of secondary education in Britain.

Ashlyn Parram, with her mother Miranda Johnson

Ashlyn, who has lived openly as a girl at home for two years but has dressed in a neutral fashion at the school to avoid conflict and abuse, went home and printed off a copy of Britain’s Equality Act, which she then took to school and confronted the headmaster.

Ashlyn pointed out that the law prevented Wall or other school officials from barring her from taking the test regardless of her appearance, after which he conceded that he legally could not prevent her from sitting the exam.

In an interview with the British tabloid, The Sun, Ashlyn’s mother, Miranda Johnson said that Ashlyn — who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — is a girl born in a boy’s body.

“The way Ashlyn has been treated by the school is just appalling. To be made to sit on your own during an exam like that is horrendous. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen in this day and age – especially not in schools,” Johnson said.

“The reality is she is a vulnerable teenager who needs the support and help of her teachers, not their opposition.”

Johnson said the family has filed a formal complaint against Walls, who they claim has failed to help protect Ashlyn, adding that she has been forced to endure a string of bullying and discrimination by pupils and teachers, without assistance or support from the school’s officials.

According to Johnson one instructor told the family that gender dysphoria doesn’t exist, saying, “This is Lincolnshire — we are a very conservative county — we don’t have things like that.”

A spokesman for the school said that “Giles Academy is an Ofsted Outstanding school in a caring environment with robust Equalities Policies. The Governing Body of the Academy rejects all the allegations. Our key concerns are to ensure our duty of care to all our students and to further ensure that they reach their full potential academically and become well rounded members of society.”

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