The education system must step up and support transgender children


Being a kid is difficult sometimes, especially when an individual is making the transition from being an older child into a young teenager. The years of being a teenager are transformative in every aspect of the word. Students are merging from primary school to secondary school, their bodies are changing, and their opinions and ideologies are changing with their physicality. These transformative years are harder for perhaps no one than they are for transgender students. In the education system, gender inequality is an increasingly pressing issue, particularly with students facing transgender struggles. As young transgender students go through all the shifting and evolving phases that come with being a teenager, they also deal with the internal war raging beneath their very own skin and bones.

Individuals that identify as transgender quite often face the struggle from the moment they are brought into the world. When these individuals enter the schooling system, it can enhance the feelings of detachment and misrepresentation, causing the students suffering to feel confused and frustrated. Transgender students’ feelings and struggles are then often amplified when their fellow classmates – and even educators – begin to abuse, belittle, or harass them. While it is important to note that there are many schools making positive changes (and they should be rewarded for this), there is still a long way to go, and much to learn, about the treatment of individuals that are different from most the student body. Ironically, the education system has a lot to learn. Support and encouragement in the educational environments is not only advisable, but critical to the wellbeing and comfortability of transgender students.

Transgender students continuously come forward with harrowing stories of being discriminated against by their classmates, and even teachers, while they are at school. The effects of discrimination are often brutal, leading students to burrow in on themselves, withdrawing from the world and those around them. From both physical and mental bullying at the hands of other students, to harassment by their educations, transgender students struggle daily with the consequences of being bombarded with harassment by the students that they learn alongside and the educators that are supposed to help them learn, feel accepted, and feel safe.

The refusal of those in the educational environment to accept transgender students now will only lead to more permanent damage as time goes on – perhaps even fatalities. After all, suicides and self harm among transgender individuals – particularly young individuals still in school – is sadly quite common now…if the problem is allowed to fester, it will only worsen. Without action, there is no reaction. In the twenty-first century, acceptance of any and all people that wish simply to be accepted only serves to hold society back, not revolutionise it. The mental effects of being discriminated against so consistently and so harshly are absolutely damaging. While young students struggle now to simply show up at a school that they feel unaccepted at, older individuals that identify as transgender may struggle to do seemingly simple tasks, like enlist the help of a tutor to better understand concepts and tools, or getting up in front of their peers in a university tutorial to give a project pitch. With a strong support network, however, trans youth will grow up confident and self-assured, finding their own path to success, may it be starting their own business as an entrepreneur or working overseas at an award-winning web design agency. This shows why institutions must introduce trans education into the curriculum to help trans youth feel safe and comfortable with themselves, allowing them to grow in confidence and follow their dreams.

Trump’s administration Education Department has even fallen under scrutiny for discrimination and unfair treatment of young individuals that identify as transgender. As of February 2018, the department will no longer investigate complaints made by transgender students who are kept from using the facilities for the gender that they identify as. The education system has a very serious issue on their hands – and issue of their own design. The transgender students in their care are often having feelings and problems that were caused by other students (sometimes even staff members at the schools as well).

While it is important to acknowledge, and applaud, the fact that some schools – and those that exist within their walls – are making positive changes in how they approach, acknowledge, and accept students that identify as transgender, there are countless other educational institutions that have not yet followed suit. In the classroom, students should feel safe, happy, and accepted. While most students do feel content in their schooling environment, those that identify as transgender sadly often find it incredibly confronting and uncomfortable, making their educational experience a difficult one. The education sector needs to take a step back, reassess their current handling of the situation, and then step up and take a stand – and consequently, the individuals within the education industry (whether it be students or staff members) must do the same. Everyone deserves the right to feel accepted and comfortable in their own skin, and in the twenty-first century, everywhere should feel like a safe place – especially the place that students go to develop their skills and their mentality.


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