The Belfast school Methodist College will consult with students, parents and staff to discuss changing its existing uniform policy to accommodate trans students.
In a statement, the Belfast school’s principal, Scott Naismith, said, “We are a very diverse and inclusive school and that is something we pride ourselves on and we are having to accommodate the needs of a wide range of pupils given their backgrounds. We want to make sure that as our practices evolve so our policies reflect the practices that have come into place.”
The statement continued, “We have some pupils who we accommodate by allowing them to wear ankle length skirts or pupils who are allowed to wear headscarves or pupils who are allowed to wear the uniform of the gender that they identify with rather than their biological sex.”
An email sent to the parents of pupils attending the school described that even though they encouraged keeping uniforms as it took pressure off students who might feel they had to look a certain in order to fit in, they were open to discussing changes in order to be more accommodating.
It said that the uniform policy could be adapted to ensure that “recognised minorities are able to feel comfortable, eg religious groups, ethnic minorities, pupils with gender dysphoria,” and that “if changes are made as part of this review parents, pupils and staff will be informed in due course.”
This is yet another recent example of progressive thinking in schools. Only last month it was announced that Primary school pupils from the age of five would receive compulsory lessons about gay and trans relationships in the UK.
This is a much more considered and thoughtful approach than in many parts of the United States where trans students are often the target of attacks over bathroom rights.
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