Wicklow primary school set to introduce gender-neutral uniforms from September

The primary school's student council proposed the idea of gender-neutral uniforms, following the introduction of gender-neutral bathrooms.


From September St. Brigid’s National School in Greystones, Co. Wicklow will introduce gender-neutral uniforms. The new uniform policy will allow girls to wear trousers and boys to wear skirts.

The school principal Máire Costello said that the move was initiated by the school’s student council with the school board of management and parents both agreeing to the decision. The school hopes that the new uniform policy will empower the students to express their identities and feel happy and comfortable in their learning environment.

Before proposing the policy, the student’s council carried out research and surveyed the student’s opinions on the uniforms. The school is also currently in the process of phasing out male and female bathrooms, replacing them with gender-neutral ones.

Until the gender-neutral uniform policy was agreed the school’s uniforms consisted of a green pinafore for girls and grey trousers with a green jumper for boys.

Sara R. Phillips, chair of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) speaking to the Irish Times said that policy changes like this are allowing trans children to become more visible:

“There is still a lot of work to be done in schools. There are some great schools – including Catholic ones – and some terrible ones… it takes leadership and a common sense, human rights-based approach to ensure that all children feel welcome.”

The 2016 document ‘BEING LGBT IN SCHOOL’ was created by GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network), the Department of Education and Skills and the education partners to assist schools in addressing homophobic bullying and supporting LGBT+ students.

The document acknowledges the difficulties of supporting trans students in a single-sex school but says that schools need to make their uniform policies inclusive: “at a minimum, a gender-neutral option should be offered.

“It is crucially important to the well-being of a young person that his or her gender identity is treated with dignity, respect and fairness.”

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