News (World)

Bullied trans teen blasts UK’s “inexcusable” new guidance on how schools should treat trans kids

Sad teen sits against a wall and buries his face in his hands
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A 15-year-old trans boy opened up about his own upsetting experience coming out at school in the wake of England’s new draft guidance that would allow teachers to misgender trans students and require them to out trans kids to their parents.

“Transphobic bullying is rampant and I think 100% this guidance only fuels that fire,” Newton Carey told The Guardian. “If I’d been able to exist in my school as a trans kid from the beginning, nobody would have complained because I wasn’t asking for anything special. The only reason other kids saw the difference was because it was pointed out to them.”

Carey detailed informing his teacher of his trans identity at the age of 11 and said the first thing he did was report it to the headteacher. The headteacher then called Carey’s mom to make sure she knew he was trans and ask if it was okay with her. “I wasn’t included in the conversation at all,” he said.

The headteacher then refused to let Carey change his name on school documents, claiming it could upset younger students. At the same time, he quit playing sports because the other boys were making fun of him.

“When I started secondary school I was allowed to use the disabled toilet but the lock on the door didn’t work and it didn’t feel safe,” he continued. “I was badly bullied and my mental health plummeted so I stopped attending and was home schooled for a year.”

Carey ended his story by blasting the politicians responsible for the new guidance that will undoubtedly cause trans students across the country to endure similar struggles.

“It’s inexcusable to say a child needs to have permission to experiment with their name or wardrobe. Cis kids do that all the time without their parents being informed. The politicians behind this guidance don’t know what it is to be trans, they’ve never listened to a trans voice so they don’t know what damage it will cause.”

According to the new guidance – which must still undergo a 12-week public consultation before it is finalized – schools do not have a “general duty to allow a child to ‘social transition’” and in the case of primary school-aged children (under 11), schools are banned from using pronouns that do not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.

School officials must inform parents if students request to change their pronouns or name or ask to wear school uniforms that do not align with the sex they were assigned at birth, except in “very rare situations where informing parents might raise a significant risk of harm to the child.”

Schools and colleges are also required to consider the impact of affirming trans students on cis students. It also says no student or teacher can be required to use a trans student’s correct pronouns.

Mermaids, an organization that advocates for transgender youth, called the guidance “unworkable, out of touch and absurd.”

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