Various studies by the ‘Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’ (GLSEN), show that 44% of LGBT youth felt unsafe at school due to gender identification, 82% had problems with bullying about sexual orientation and 31% said the school made no effort to respond to bullying or violence.
As part of a series of activities for ‘Anti-Bullying Week’, two former Bradford Grammar School (BGS) pupils visited BGS to talk about their experiences of being transgender. Ursula Maplehurst and Fran Watson gave a number of talks during the afternoon to Year all 10 students.
During their talks they discussed their transgender journey including their experiences at school, what it means to be unique, diverse in this world and how they became the person they are today.
A growing number of schools are finding themselves at the forefront of a sea change in attitudes, as more pupils at ever younger ages express doubts about the development of their gender identity. According to the UK’s only NHS specialist service provider of gender identity support for under-18s, the number of British children who want to change their gender has doubled in six months.
Ursula Maplehurst said: “It’s been great to talk about issues that are really important and it’s certainly seemed to resonate with a lot of the pupils here today. All the questions they asked in the Q and A were very insightful. The experience has certainly been unique because it’s nice to be back at BGS as the real me and to be passing that message on to other pupils.”
It is important that schools encourage greater acceptance and understanding of difference, and that our students feel they can discuss these issues openly. We are committed to promoting all our students’ wellbeing and happiness, and need to be equipped to support those who are questioning their gender identity.”
Coming soon in March 2017 – Look out for BGS’s ‘Spotlight on Happiness’; an online resource that features an in-depth look at what constitutes happiness across ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Sport and Healthy Living’, ‘Creativity and the Arts’, ‘Community Outreach and Enrichment’ and ‘Personalised Teaching’.
“We are delighted to welcome two former pupils back to school in Anti-Bullying Week, to talk to our pupils about LGBT issues and homophobia, as well their own transgender journey.”