Transgender boy ‘forced to wear blouse to school’
The LGBT+ adviser to Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said he visited a school where a transgender boy is being forced to wear girl’s uniform, despite the school promoting LGBT+ awareness.
Carl Austin-Behan met the pupil while visiting a school in Wigan on September 5.
“I met a young trans lad this evening who’s forced to wear a blouse & pinafore for school as the school won’t allow him to wear a shirt and trousers,” Austin-Behan said on Twitter.
“Yet the school has an LGBT School Network Group and promotes #LGBT Awareness – I will be asking questions,” he added.
Austin-Behan is the former Lord Mayor of Manchester.
Wigan council says it has been “reassured” by the school that staff are “very supportive” of pupil choices, Wigan Today reports.
James Winterbottom, director of children’s services at Wigan council, said: “We’ve spoken to the school and have been reassured they are very supportive of all pupils’ choices and will be reassuring the pupil of this.”
But Austin-Behan, who was Manchester’s first openly gay mayor, argued against strict “binary” uniform policies in schools.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: “I just don’t think there’s a place for them in this day and age.
“For people who might be trans or non-binary they want to feel that they can be comfortable within their gender identity, and I think schools need to be more understanding of this.
“They might have real difficulties having to dress in something that doesn’t feel appropriate for them and that might impact on their mental health.”
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He said that because LGBT+ youth are at a much higher risk of attempting suicide, it was time for local authorities to work harder to support LGBT+ pupils.
“I think because so many young people who are coming out or self identifying as trans or non binary schools need to up their game a little bit,” Austin-Behan said.
“LGBT networks in schools make a massive difference to their health and wellbeing.
“We’ve got relationships and sex education coming into schools from September 2020 so we have to make sure that teachers, as well as pupils, are educated on the issue.”
I met a young trans lad this evening who’s forced to wear a blouse & pinafore for school as the school won’t allow him to wear a shirt and trousers -yet the school has an LGBT School Network Group and promotes #LGBT Awareness – I will be asking questions @MayorofGM @WiganCouncil
— Dr Carl Austin-Behan 🐝 (@CarlAustinBehan) September 5, 2019
In July, the Welsh government announced it was making it mandatory for schools in Wales to make their uniforms gender neutral.
The Lib Dems are calling for a gender-neutral uniform policy to be extended across the UK.