What does it mean to be transgender?
Transgender people are people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth. ‘Trans’ is a term often used as shorthand for transgender.
Trans also includes non-binary people who do not fall into the categories of boy/girl or male/female. Non-binary people may feel they are not entirely male or female and may express elements of both.
What is meant by the term ‘transition’?
The term ‘transition’ is a term that is used to describe the process that you may take to live in the gender that you identify. There is no right or wrong way to transition as every person’s transition is different. It can involve medical treatment and hormone therapy. It can involve telling your friends and family that you are transgender. It can involve asking people to use pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them) that fit your gender identity. It can involve changing your appearance and clothes. It is important to also remember that not all transgender people transition.
I think that I am transgender, who can I speak to?
You have a right to feel or identify the way you do, and you have a right to be supported in this, whether this changes or stays the same.
You should talk to your parents or a close relative and explain how you feel. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your parents or a close relative about this then you may wish to speak to a teacher or someone else within your school. Teachers and schools can help by providing a safe space for you to be yourself and talk about the way you are feeling and what you are going through.
If you do not wish to talk to a relative or a teacher, you can call Childline anonymously on 0800 1111 and talk about your situation with a trained adviser. Alternatively, you can send us a message here and we can talk to you and give you advice.
There is a list of useful organisations that you may wish to look at below.
How can my school support me?
You may have concerns about talking to your school in case they disclose information that you have shared with them about your gender identity. Your welfare is very important to your school. Teachers and schools can provide impartial information and guidance to you.
If you talk to a teacher about your gender identity and you have not yet spoken to your parents, you should make the teacher aware and explain why you have not spoken to your parents so that the teacher can understand your concerns. Teachers and schools can help by working with you to agree what you need from them and from your parents. Teachers and schools may wish to speak to your parents on your behalf with your permission.
You should also see if the school has counselling services available.
Will I be treated differently at school?
Schools must not discriminate against you because of your transgender status.
You may worry about how your peers will react if you come out. You may worry about bullying. Schools are required by law to protect and promote the welfare of children. The school must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risks of harm to you and deal with concerns about your safety.
Your school must, by law, have an anti- bullying policy. This is a document which says how the school will stop bullying and handle complaints of bullying. Your school should follow this policy to record or deal with any transphobia incidents.
What should I do if I do not feel comfortable using the toilet facilities or the changing facilities in school?
If your school is aware about your gender identity, your school should discuss with you, and if appropriate your parent’s which toilet and/ or changing facility you would feel the most comfortable using.
As a transgender pupil, you are supported through the Equality Act 2010 to access the toilet that corresponds to your gender identity. Trans girls because they are girls, can use the girls’ toilets and trans boys can use the boys’ toilets.
If you do not identify with a gender such as boy or girl and your school do not have gender neutral toilets, you should be provided access to use a single accessible toilet. However, you should not be required to use one if you do not want to.
In terms of changing facilities, transgender pupils should have access to the changing room that corresponds to their gender identity. If your school changing facilities are open and do not have cubicles and you wish to have complete privacy, you should speak to your teacher and express your wishes as they should be able to offer alternate changing facilities.
As a transgender pupil you will be expected to follow the school uniform policy, this will cover the uniform, wearing make- up and jewellery and the type of accepted hairstyles that you can have.
Schools will need to consider whether some flexibility in their uniform policy is required to ensure they do not discriminate against certain pupils.
For most schools, there is generally a broad range of uniform available for both genders (i.e. girls and boys can wear trousers).
Childline – information, support and advice on issues relating to young people.
Mermaids – support for young people with gender identity issues, and their families
Pink Therapy – UK’s largest independent therapy organisation working with gender and sexual diversity clients
Gendered Intelligence – support for young trans people aged between 8 and 25. Includes resources for trans and gender questioning young people, and their families.
Youngminds – provides free 24/7 support to young people who are experiencing a mental health crisis