The Girls Day School Trust (GDST) has made the decision to no longer allow trans Girls and women as students in their schools. They state that they will no longer accept ‘students who are legally male’. To those applying who are ‘legally female but identify as trans or non binary’, they will be ‘treated on a case-by-case basis’. This includes 2 schools in the Merseyside region – Belvedere Academy and Birkenhead Academy, as well as 24 other, mostly private schools in England.
Socialist Alternative stands with the majority of students at these schools to say: lift the ban on trans students and reverse this discriminatory decision!
While a Gender Recognition Certificate (which legalises one’s gender identity if it is different to that assigned at birth) can only be obtained by those who are over 18, many trans people do not get them. The unnecessary, complicated and degrading hurdles that trans people are expected to jump through make this so.
For young people seeking gender-affirming treatment, or indeed any treatment relating to gender identity, excruciatingly long wait times act as the biggest block on progression. Even pre-pandemic, before the Tory mishandling of the Covid crisis set in, it was expected among trans people to wait on average for 18 months before receiving the treatment they need.
In recent years discriminatory and harmful narratives (often driven by the capitalist press) have entered public discourse in the UK, making it seem that dignity, respect and basic rights for trans people are up for debate. Its extremely disappointing that GDST have been won over by these arguments. This is harmful for the young trans people in Merseyside as well as nationally, as yet another institution that is supposed to protect, instead exclude. This is especially alarming when you consider that an estimated four in five young trans people have experienced name calling and abuse and nine in ten have thought about suicide.
Ultimately the running of schools should be for the benefit of the young people and children in that area. Decisions should therefore be made by teachers, students and parents and not by and not by larger organisations concerned with making profit and maintaining the status quo. The current system of spreading academies as a step towards privatisation moves things in the opposite direction. To bring education under full democratic community control and to give the space for students to push for rights, education should be brought back under local authority control and into full democratic public ownership. This should also be applied to the elitist model of private schooling, which is designed not to educate, but to train a wealthy elite.
Ultimately, divisive and harmful bigoted ideas of trans people posing a ‘threat’ to others reflects the twisted system of capitalism, that perpetuates outdated ideas of gender roles, breeding violence against the oppressed and marginalised in the process. The same capitalist politicians and press figures that demonise trans people as posing a ‘threat’ to women have been behind the same attacks on the rights of women to protest, organise and make their voices heard. This is why we need a socialist feminist movement, ready to combat gender violence, trans discrimination, attacks on abortion rights around the world and femicide with working-class solidarity.
We call for:
- Recognition of trans students now! Organise community and youth-led protests to end discriminatory practises. Provide LGBTQ+ inclusive, fact-based sex and consent education.
- Fully-funded public education! Build a rank-and-file movement of teachers and communities to end academisation.
- Emergency funding into the NHS for quick, free and accessible provision of gender-reaffirming treatment. End the Tory privatisation of our health service!
- Bring LGBTQ+ pride into the workplace! Build strong, fighting trade unions to challenge discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers
- Queer liberation through socialist revolution! Bring down this LGBTQ+phobic government through struggle. Fight for true liberation with a socialist society, free from inequality and capitalist crisis.