New Zealand’s Bethlehem College under fire for transphobic policies

Bethlehem College Tauranga
Bethlehem College in New Zealand has been slammed for transphobic policies. Image: Youtube

A transgender student has survived a suicide attempt after their New Zealand Catholic school told them “God doesn’t make mistakes”. 

Attending Bethlehem College at Tauranga, NZ, it has been alleged that the student was prohibited from wearing the uniform of their preferred gender.

The student was also not allowed to go by their preferred name or pronouns.

They were threatened with suspension if they did not adhere to the uniform policy and were referred to by their ‘dead name’ by teachers. 

A family friend of the student told a news outlet that the school had directly impacted their mental health.

They confirmed that the student had been told that ‘God doesn’t make mistakes” and had attempted to take their own life as a result. 

Homophobic, transphobic document leaked

It comes as a leaked document from Bethlehem College surmised their “statement of beliefs” relating to gender.

The “working document” is part of the school’s enrolment process, with parents required to agree and sign. 

The document states that the school will use biological pronouns for students. 

It also states the school needs to approve that all students’ names “align with their biological sex”.

The document also states that marriage is “between a man and a woman”.

In response to the leaked document, the school said “it’s not wise or kind” to support children down a path of “experimental hormonal and surgical medical interventions”.

Peaceful protest met with abuse

A peaceful protest by Bethlehem College students to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community has resulted in an internal investigation.

Student protestors were marking the International Day of Silence against bullying when they were targeted by another group of students.

The abuse allegedly included chants of “kill the gays”.

Students attending the protest later said that their phones had been confiscated so that they could not record footage.

Pieces of fruit were also believed to have been thrown at the student protestors.

LGBTQIA+ advocate Shaneel Lal has launched a petition calling on the NZ Ministry of Education to investigate the school. 

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

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