Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Evidence affirming school supports for Australian transgender and gender diverse students

Tiffany Jones
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

B School of Education, University of New England, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: tiffany.jones@latrobe.edu.au

Sexual Health 14(5) 412-416 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17001
Submitted: 5 January 2017  Accepted: 27 March 2017   Published: 25 May 2017

Journal Compilation © CSIRO 2017 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND

Abstract

Background: The United Nations (UN) and related UN bodies have recognised transgender and gender diverse (TGD) students’ rights at the global level to full equitable access to education, and specifically sexuality education, repeatedly. Methods: This article explores the available support for this equal access in Australia. It discusses TGD student rights in a range of Australian laws and education policies. Results: It shows how the inclusion of TGD students, particularly in sexuality education, is reinforced in the current Australian National Curricula. Finally, it considers research on Australian TGD students’ educational attainment, experiences of transphobic abuse and violence, and experiences in contexts where they do and do not have staff (and other) support. It also shows that contrary to the picture of TGD students as victims leading inherently negative lives often seen in research, this group is nevertheless capable of resilience and positive education activism, which promotes their wellbeing and social outcomes. Conclusion: It argues for a shift from harmful approaches of victimising TGD students or treating them only as victims, towards celebrating the contributions of these students to their schools and societies.

Additional keywords: education, resilience, violence.


References

[1]  UNESCO. International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach for schools, teachers and health educators. Paris: UNESCO Section on HIV and AIDS, Division for the Coordination of UN Priorities in Education, Education Sector; 2009.

[2]  UNESCO. Rio statement on homophobic bullying and education for all. Rio de Janeiro: UNESCO; 2011.

[3]  United Nations. Born free and equal: sexual orientation and gender identity in international human rights law. New York and Geneva: United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner; 2012.

[4]  UNESCO. Call for action by ministers: inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence. Paris: UNESCO; 2016.

[5]  UNESCO. Out in the open: education sector responses to violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Paris: UNESCO; 2016.

[6]  UNESCO. Insult to inclusion: Asia-Pacific report on school bullying, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Bangkok: UNESCO; 2015.

[7]  Kosciw J, Pizmony-Levy O. Fostering a global dialogue about LGBT youth and schools. Proceedings from a meeting of the Global Network Combating Homophobic and Transphobic Prejudice and Violence in Schools [24 June 2013 Novotel Hotel Buenos Aires]. New York: GLSEN and UNESCO; 2013.

[8]  Jones T, Hillier L. The Australian context: turning research into policies, policies into research. In Horn S, editor. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and schooling: the nexus of research, practice and policy. New York: Oxford University Press; 2016. pp. 289–309.

[9]  Drescher J, Byne W. Gender dysphoric/gender variant (GD/GV) children and adolescents: summarizing what we know and what we have yet to learn. J Homosex 2012; 59 501–10.
Gender dysphoric/gender variant (GD/GV) children and adolescents: summarizing what we know and what we have yet to learn.CrossRef |

[10]  McCredie J. Gender troubles. Aust Doctor 2008; Oct 23

[11]  Fewster S. Family Court permits orphaned girl 13 to undergo gender change. Herald Sun, 17 July 2013. Available online at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/family-court-permits-orphaned-girl-13-to-undergo-gender-change/story-fni0d7e4-1226680759364 [verified 18 July 2013].

[12]  Kissane K. Court lets girl 17 remove breasts. The Age 4 May 2009; p. 24.

[13]  Miletic D, Browne R. Landmark ruling in hormone treatment case. The Age 1 August 2013. Available online at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/landmark-ruling-in-hormone-treatment-case-20130801-2r23g.html [verified 1 August 2013].

[14]  Jones T. Policy and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex students. London: Springer; 2015.

[15]  Victorian State Government. Victorian Government Schools Reference Guide. Melbourne: VIC Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; 2007.

[16]  South Australian Department for Education and Child Development. Transgender and intersex student support. Adelaide: South Australia Department for Education and Child Development; 2017.

[17]  Tasmanian Department of Education. Guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools and colleges. Hobart: Tasmanian Government; 2012.

[18]  McGuire J, Anderson C, Toomey R, Russell ST. School climate for transgender youth: a mixed method investigation of student experiences and school responses. J Youth Adolesc 2010; 39 1175–88.
School climate for transgender youth: a mixed method investigation of student experiences and school responses.CrossRef |

[19]  Couch M, Pitts M, Muclcare H, Croy S, Mitchell A, Patel S. Tranznation: a report on the health and wellbeing of transgendered people in Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society; 2007.

[20]  Pitts M, Couch M, Mulcare H, Croy S, Mitchell A. Transgender people in Australia and New Zealand: health, wellbeing and access to health services. Fem Psychol 2009; 19 475–95.
Transgender people in Australia and New Zealand: health, wellbeing and access to health services.CrossRef |

[21]  Jones T, del Pozo de Bolger A, Dunne T, Lykins A, Hawkes G. Female-to-Male (FtM) transgender people’s experiences in Australia. London: Springer; 2015.

[22]  Jones T, Gray E, Harris A. GLBTIQ teachers in Australian education policy: protections, suspicions, and restrictions. Sex Edu 2014; 14 338–53.
GLBTIQ teachers in Australian education policy: protections, suspicions, and restrictions.CrossRef |

[23]  del Pozo de Bolger A, Jones T, Dunstan D, Lykins A. Australian trans men: development, sexuality, and mental health. Aust Psychol 2014; 49 395–402.
Australian trans men: development, sexuality, and mental health.CrossRef |

[24]  Jones T. Researching & working for transgender youth: contexts, problems and solutions. Soc Sci 2016; 5 43

[25]  Jones T, Hillier L. Comparing trans-spectrum and same-sex attracted youth: increased risks, increased activisms. LGBT Youth 2013; 10 287–307.
Comparing trans-spectrum and same-sex attracted youth: increased risks, increased activisms.CrossRef |

[26]  Smith E, Jones T, Ward R, Dixon J, Mitchell A, Hillier L. From blues to rainbows: the mental health and well-being of gender diverse and transgender young people in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society; 2014.

[27]  Jones T, Smith E, Ward R, Dixon J, Hillier L, Mitchell A. School experiences of TGD students in Australia. Sex Edu 2016; 16 156–71.
School experiences of TGD students in Australia.CrossRef |

[28]  Australian Bureau of Statistics. 1301.0 - Year Book Australia: educational attainment. 2012. Available online at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Educational%20attainment~110 [verified 05 August 2013].

[29]  Hillier L, Jones T, Monagle M, Overton N, Gahan L, Blackman J, Mitchell A. Writing themselves in 3: the Third National Study on the Sexual Health and Wellbeing of Same-sex Attracted and Gender Questioning Young People. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society; 2010.

[30]  Grossman AH, D’Augelli AR, Salter NP. Gender expression milestones, gender atypicality, victimization, and parents’ responses. J GLBT Fam Stud 2006; 2 71–92.
Gender expression milestones, gender atypicality, victimization, and parents’ responses.CrossRef |

[31]  Varjas K, Dew B, Marshall M, Graybill E, Singh A, Meyers J, Birckbichler L. Bullying in schools towards sexual minority youth. J Sch Violence 2008; 7 59–86.
Bullying in schools towards sexual minority youth.CrossRef |

[32]  Menvielle E. A comprehensive program for children with gender variant behaviours and gender identity disorders. J Homosex 2012; 59 357–68.
A comprehensive program for children with gender variant behaviours and gender identity disorders.CrossRef |

[33]  Donatone B, Rachlin K. An intake template for transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, and gender variant college students seeking mental health services. J Coll Stud Psychother 2013; 27 200–11.
An intake template for transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, and gender variant college students seeking mental health services.CrossRef |

[34]  Carrera M, DePalma R, Lameiras M. Sex/gender identity: moving beyond fixed and ‘natural’ categories. J Sexualities 2012; 15 995–1016.
Sex/gender identity: moving beyond fixed and ‘natural’ categories.CrossRef |


Full Text PDF (121 KB) Export Citation Cited By (1)

View Altmetrics