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This teacher came out as trans and her students had the most beautiful reaction

December 8, 2016
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A teacher who came out as transgender has received an amazing reaction from her students.

Claire Birkenshaw, a teacher at Ashwell Academy in Hull, Yorkshire, became the first known person to transition without leaving her job when she took a six month absence from her post to make the change.

When she returned to the school, where she is headteacher, she was left incredibly moved by the students’ reactions.

The Hull Daily Mail reports that the young people said, “She’s just a normal person.”

One student, Alfie, 13, said: “”When I came in for the first time I was just open minded about it because I’ve never met a transgender person before.

“So when I met her and I was just talking to her, she was just a normal person. I didn’t think there was anything else to it.”

Alfie and the school’s students have learned about the prejudice towards trans people as a result of their teacher’s transitioning.

“There’s a lot of hatred towards transgender people,” he said.

“I know transgender people get called a lot of names and there’s a lot of prejudice but that’s just not right. They’re just like anybody else.

He said everybody should be able to live the way they want to in a way which makes them happy and comfortable in their own skin.

“I don’t care whether they are transgender or not. It’s about what they are most comfortable about.”

Ms Birkenshaw told the Times that the children in the school accepted her without fuss upon her return.

“Straight away one kid said ‘Hi Miss’. It was brilliant. There were no sniggers, it was just superb.

“These children in schools need someone who is out there.”

Since announcing her transition, she has been congratulated by Justine Greening who praised her openness as “absolutely fantastic” and said she was “going to make a difference to so many people.”

Birkenshaw said: “I still expect to be a headteacher.

“I still expect to be working with schools, with academies and ensuring that children are making progress – but also that children are happy.

“If I look at education, it doesn’t seem to be that many role models.

“So I can try to do things under the radar, but how are people going to know? These children in schools need someone who is out there.

“I think what people find really difficult to understand is that the essence of me has never ever changed,” she added.

Related topics: Education, Hull, LGBT, school, student, Trans, Yorkshire

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