Many schools don’t know how to support transgender pupils, MPs warn

MPs have urged schools to do more to support gender-variant pupils, warning that too many face bullying, depression and isolation.

A report published yesterday by the women and equalities committee said schools must make sure all staff receive training on support for gender-variant students, defined as those whose behaviours and interests do not match masculine and feminine gender norms.

It said trans issues, and gender issues generally, should be taught as part of PHSE.

The report said that in one case a pupil was refused entry to school after having transitioned during the summer holiday, on the grounds that they had to use the legal name and gender on their birth certificate.

It said MPs had been told schools often did not know how to deal with bullying or how to include gender-variant young people in sport and provide them with access to toilets. Many schools did not have processes for recording a change of name and gender, it said.

MPs said that according to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, 91 per cent of trans boys and 66 per cent of trans girls experienced harassment or bullying at school, a higher rate of discrimination than that faced by lesbian and gay students. This could cause pupils to leave education as early as possible, they warned.

Maria Miller, a Conservative MP and chair of the committee, said: “Britain leads the world in recognising lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, but despite some welcome progress, we are still failing trans people in so many ways.”

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