We were pleased to see the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) come out in support of LGBT people yesterday by releasing guidance for schools on how to support lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff.
Creating a school where everyone is accepted is absolutely crucial in helping to tackle bullying, which is sadly still widespread, especially for trans people.
It’s vital that trans people are able to be part of and join in public life without being afraid of abuse and attack, simply because of who they are.
If we are to achieve real equality for trans people, they must feel able to be visible role models at work and in wider society. We need to see trans teachers, trans police officers, trans doctors. We need to see elected trans lawmakers and MPs. And we all need to be a part of creating a society where that can happen.
Recently an inspirational young trans woman called Lily Madigan has become the victim of a targeted campaign of vile hatred on and off line.
But the cost of being a visible trans person in public life feels too high right now. Recently an inspirational young trans woman called Lily Madigan has become the victim of a targeted campaign of vile hatred on and off line.
Lily,19, was elected women’s officer of her local Labour Party. She’s also expressed an interest in becoming an MP. Lily fights for what she believes in and actively works towards making the world a better, fairer place. In a nation used to hand-wringing over our ‘apathetic youth’ surely this should be cause for praise?
Instead, she has received a relentless barrage of hate from those who believe her identity is something they have the right to debate, reject and attack.
Lily has been open about the effect of these attacks, saying on Twitter, “Please stop. I can’t handle it anymore. I’m so mentally distressed I can’t sleep, eat or go to school. Please just stop, I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Bullying doesn’t just happen at schools, or in the workplace. For LGBT people, it can happen anywhere and for trans people, at the moment, the abuse is everywhere. From the street, to the frontpages of newspapers, to social media - trans people are subjected to targeted attacks. We need more organisations to stand up against transphobia in the same way we’ve seen from NAHT today.
Helping headteachers to understand how they can confront transphobia in schools is a crucial step forward.
Helping headteachers to understand how they can confront transphobia in schools is a crucial step forward. Stonewall is pleased NAHT has created specific guidance; one supporting LGB staff and one supporting trans staff.
The guidance covers the key issues affecting LGBT people: harassment, discrimination, bullying and lack of visibility. It also underlines the role and responsibilities of school leaders in creating an inclusive environment.
Lack of understanding, acceptance and inclusion has a knock-on negative effect on trans young people’s emotional and mental health:
- 84 per cent of trans young people have self-harmed
- 92 per cent of trans young people have thought about taking their own life
- 45 per cent of trans young people have tried to take their own life
This situation must change. These statistics are shameful. Without proactive work, such as the NAHT guidance, bullying will go unchallenged and the epidemic levels of transphobia we have in society at the moment will continue to grow.
When trans staff and teachers are accepted for who they are, pupils are more likely to treat their peers with the dignity and respect that everyone deserves. Together, we can work towards a world where all LGBT people are free to be themselves without facing abuse and hatred.