Why we could all do with reading LGBT Youth Scotland’s guidance on supporting transgender young people

This week, the excellent LGBT Scotland launched a guide offering advice to schools on supporting transgender young people. 

It’s badly needed. Some young transgender people find that their schools support them very well. For others, the story is very different. They find that their school does the minimum that they can legally get away with and no more.

They fail to recognise and protect young people from transphobic bullying. They make a massive issue about things like toilets and changing rooms. I know one transgender young person who was made to use the accessible toilet – not something that they were necessarily unhappy with if it hadn’t been presented in such a hostile way. The problem was that the accessible toilet was kept locked, so they had to ask for the key every time. That was incredibly stigmatising and distressing for that young person.  It’s hardly surprising that their attendance at school was extremely low.

The guidance covers practical, social and cultural issues – from residential trips and name changes to making the whole school an inclusive environment. So why is that important for us? 

Well, you  may well have a transgender or non binary person in your local party. You may not know it because they may not be ready or feel comfortable enough to share that with you. They may be young, maybe not.  How welcome would they feel?  I’d recommend that every local, regional, state and federal committee member should read it and be aware of what it says. That way, if they then become aware of something in their local party which would not be helpful and inclusive, they can take action to change things.

So, I’d urge you all to take a few minutes to have a read of this excellent and helpful publication.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • An excellent publication, thank you for drawing it to people’s attention.

    Of course, LDV readers may not have a transgender or non binary person in their own local party right now. But the generation of young people you hope will join up, come along to meetings and take up the workload that you’ve been carrying expect you to have a clue on this, and it’s a lot more likely they won’t stick around either actively or even as armchair members if not. Just as they expect there to be a collective attitude against sexual harassment, or racism, or homophobia.

  • Paul Pettinger 19th Nov '17 - 6:56pm

    A very important issue. This summer Stonewall released its third five yearly report into the experience of LGBT pupils in British schools. Although progress has been achieved, it highlighted that there is still a long way to go in terms of eradicating bullying and more actively promoting acceptance in schools, especially regarding transgendered people. Many pupils, families and staff are still being let down. This goes beyond schools – and we must ensure the Party is fully inclusive – but if our schools aren’t inclusive then wider society won’t be. Thanks for sharing.

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