How Queensland schools can support their trans students


transgender student high school transgender flag stock photo
Photo: Scott Griessel/Adobe Stock

The Queensland Human Rights Commission has unveiled two new guidebooks to help transgender and gender diverse students and their schools.

The QHRC’s Trans@School guides cover topics including names and pronouns, records, medical information, toilets, uniforms, and sports.

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Queensland Human Rights Commissioner Scott McDougall said the guides came about following increasing inquiries from schools and students.

“The human rights of trans and gender diverse people in education is an emerging and rapidly expanding area of anti-discrimination and human rights law,” McDougall said.

He said school is now a “pivotal sphere” as more students identify as LGBTI at an earlier age.

“Schools and educators themselves recognise this,” he said.

“[But they] don’t always know where to start with making their LGBTI students feel safe and supported.

“These resources are aimed at helping everyone – schools, students, and families – understand the legal aspects of the issues impacting on trans and gender diverse students and hopefully lead to better outcomes for them.”

The resources were developed in consultation with schools, students, and parents as well as help from LGBTI Legal Service and Legal Aid Queensland.

QHRC wants fairer treatment for transgender students

Sadly, trans and gender diverse young people experience severe mental health issues at much higher rates than their peers. Self-harm and suicide attempts are also alarmingly prevalent.

However, Australian research suggests bullying and lack of support at school are contributing factors.

The 2017 Trans Pathways Study found almost 80% of trans young people had issues with their school, university or TAFE.

The QHRC hope the resources will mean fairer treatment for trans and gender diverse students.

“Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of someone’s gender identity,” McDougall said.

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“Often, the changes which need to be made in order for school environments to be safer for trans and gender diverse students are relatively small, and can benefit the entire student body.

“We hope these resources will help schools build a safe and inclusive learning environment for all their students.”

The Trans@School guides, one for schools and another for students, are available on the Queensland Human Rights Commission’s website.

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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