Earlier this year, the Department of Education launched guidelines on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in second-level schools. It provides the first-ever guidance on dealing with transgender pupils and offers practical suggestions for tackling issues such as uniform, transphobic language, toilets and changing facilities.
Name and pronoun: When a student comes out as transgender, they may choose to change their first name to match their preferred gender. Respect the student by using the correct gender, name and pronoun when addressing them.
Uniform: Transgender students should be allowed to wear a uniform that corresponds with their gender identity. In single-sex schools, it may be necessary to introduce specific accommodations for the student.
Single-gender activities: Separate activities for boys and girls, both sporting and academic, should be reduced or eliminated.
Toilets and changing rooms: Transgender students should be able to use toilet and changing facilities that are congruent with their gender. Gender-neutral toilets may prevent students feeling singled out during transition.
Language: Teachers are encouraged to speak openly about LGBT issues and to prohibit transphobic language in any situation, as well as explain to students why such language is offensive.
Single-sex schools: It is possible for a transgender student to remain in a single-sex school without altering the status of the school. The school’s responsibility to the student is unchanged.