Schools across the Western Cape have taken the first steps to embrace transgender students – and while it’s long overdue, we’re SO here for it.
According to the Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond, a number of schools have allowed transgender students to wear the uniform they feel most comfortable in.
‘Student Governing Bodies (SGB) are dealing with this issue on a case-by-case basis,’ Hammond said.
The department also published a booklet, entitled Challenging Homophobic Bullying in Schools, in 2015 to educate learners and staff about the LGBTQIA+ community and promote an inclusive environment.
The booklet includes words used when referring to LGBTQIA+ individuals, such as ‘intersex’, ‘transgender’ and ‘coming out’, and provides the definitions for each.
It also outlines how homophobic bullying could affect youngsters and lists examples of anti-bullying strategies.
‘This silence and invisibility are a distinctive aspect of homophobic bullying. Young people who experience homophobic bullying may:
- Have higher levels of absenteeism and truancy and be less likely to enter higher/further education
- Be more likely to contemplate self-harm/suicide and have low self-esteem
- Show signs of physical ill health
- Underachieve academically or leave school early
- Engage in risk-taking behaviours, such as unprotected sex,’ explained Hammond.
‘No learner should be discriminated on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation’, she continued.
Well done to the Western Cape Education Department for taking these steps. We hope education departments across the rest of the country follow suit soon!
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