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Schools should not force girls to wear skirts - it discriminates against transsexuals, warns watchdo


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Schools should not force girls to wear skirts - it discriminates against transsexuals, warns watchdog



By Arthur Martin

Last updated at 4:46 PM on 21st February 2010



For generations, the skirt has been an integral part of a girl's school uniform.


But the Government's human rights watchdog says schools who force girls to wear skirts may be breaking the law because the policy discriminates against transsexuals.


Official guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission warns schools that the dress code may breach the rights of girls who feel compelled to live as boys.




article-1252674-00A388C1000004B0-909_468x286.jpg Schoolgirls should not forced to wear skirts because it discriminates against transexuals, according to the human rights watchdog



In a 68-page report on the human rights of transsexuals, the watchdog says that 'requiring pupils to wear gender-specific clothes is potentially unlawful'.


It says that research conducted for its report found that 'pupils born female with gender dysphoria experienced great discomfort being forced to wear stereotypical girls’ clothes — for example a skirt'.









Many schools across the country insist on girls wearing skirts as part of a strict uniform code which they believe maintains good levels of discipline among their pupils.


And although the Commission has threatened to use 'costly legal action' on schools who fail to comply, many are expected to maintain their rule on skirt wearing.


Elspeth Insch, head teacher of King Edward VI Handsworth school in Birmingham, said: 'The message is: not in my school. We’re sticking with our skirts.'


The guidance has been produced ahead of the Government’s Equality Bill which is likely to come into force this autumn.


The bill, masterminded by Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader, makes it a legal requirement for public authorities, including schools, to consider the impact on minority groups of all their policies — including how school uniforms might affect transsexual people.


They must do all they can to ensure transsexual children do not suffer discrimination, or face potential legal sanctions.


The bill extends new rights to people who believe they were born into the wrong gender.


They gain this protection 'regardless of whether or not they intend to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment'.


Previously transsexuals had to be under medical supervision or to had to have had a sex change to be covered by discrimination rules. There are an estimated 5,000 adult transsexuals in Britain.


The Commission's official guidance, entitled Provision of Goods, Facilities and Services to Trans People — Guidance for Public Authorities in Meeting your Equality Duties and Human Rights Obligations, says schools have a duty to be 'proactive' in ensuring transsexual students are not discriminated against.


It also cites existing human rights and sex discrimination laws.


The guidelines state: 'Uniform is a key issue for young trans people at schools. Many schools have strict uniform codes where boys and girls are required to wear particular clothes, for example, girls cannot wear trousers.'


A spokesman from the Commission said: 'This is all about giving schools information which will help them interpret the law.


'It’s about schools taking a bit of time to consider their policies, how flexible they are in accommodating pupils with different needs, and what they might need to do to both help pupils get the most out of school and potentially avoid situations which might culminate in difficult and costly legal action.'


Girls wearing skirts to school became a thorny problem for St Albans Catholic High School two weeks ago.


The catholic school, in Ipswich, Suffolk, banned female pupils from wearing skirts because students were failing to wear them in an 'appropriate manner'.


It will force girls to wear trousers from September following concerns that some skirts were being worn too high.


Despite protests from students, the school, which has about 1,000 mixed students aged between 11 and 18, claims its policy has won support by parents and the wider school community.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1252674/Watchdog-warms-schools-force-girls-wear-skirts-discriminates-transsexuals.html#ixzz0gCdlHIx4

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The only problem I had against skirts at ye olde high school was that we absolutely had to wear skirts for normal winter uniform with either thin tights or socks. The skirts were itchy and uncomfortable and the tights did jack shit, plus in winter it was damn cold outside.

Totally impractical, just give them an option to wear pants, I did in primary school.

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