GIRES reports that: Schools do not have proper advice on how to deal with and eliminate transphobic bullying and generally, this is not being addressed. Trans children are suffering as a result. In the new March 2014 Department of Education Guidance into Preventing and Tackling Bullying gender reassignment is mentioned but not as often as other protected categories.
Trans people in schools (pupils, staff, children of trans parents) are more likely to suffer from bullying than any other group.
The Department for Education should ensure that all schools are provided with advice on preventative and responsive action and fully informed about the information and training provided by GIRES, Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence.
Trans* Jersey echoes this call with the same request to the States of Jersey’s Department for Education, Sport and Culture to use the resources provided by trans* groups to educate. In preparation for the new anti-discrimination legislation being passed in Jersey next year, Trans* Jersey is preparing a series of courses aimed at employers, employees, teachers and students dealing with issues affecting trans* individuals.
According to GIRES in the UK, the current Department for Education curriculum for sex and relationship education (published in 2000 and referred to in a Standard Note to MPs earlier this year) includes references to sexual orientation but not to gender reassignment.Gender variant young people are thus denied equal treatment.
Trans* Jersey is currently researching the States of Jersey’s sex education curriculum.
Education about trans* issues is especially important for those working in the public sector where employees often act as gatekeepers to services that trans* individuals need to access, such as the hospital, passport office, parish hall and social security.
GIRES cites this example of where a perceived lack of education about and empathy with trans* issues is a barrier to reporting and prosecuting hate crimes:
The main issue is underreporting of transphobic hate crime due to a fear on the part of trans victims that the Police and other agencies of the Criminal Justice System will not take them seriously. Trans witnesses also fear being “outed” in Court. Hopefully we shall see some improvement following the publication of the updated the CPS Trans Management Guidance authored by GIRES and the proposed revision of the Victims Code.
Trans* Jersey firmly believes in the power of education to change people’s attitudes to and treatment of trans* individuals.