Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Transsexual, 16, forces school to let him sit exam dressed as a girl: Head threatened with Equality Act

A transgender pupil has used equality laws to force his headmaster to allow him to sit a GCSE exam wearing a skirt.
Ashlyn Parram, 16, who was born a boy but is undergoing gender reassignment treatment, said that at first he was told he could not sit the paper because he was not wearing boys’ uniform.
But he said headmaster Chris Walls backed down after he showed him a copy of the Equality Act 2010, which stated he had to be treated the same as other pupils.
Ashlyn, who was wearing make-up and hair extensions as well as a girl’s uniform, claimed, however, that when he returned to the sports hall for the GCSE maths paper he was segregated from other pupils. He was put at the back of the room 40ft from everyone else.
Ashlyn, who used to be called Lewis, said: ‘The whole way through the exam I felt like bursting into tears, and it was around 15 minutes before I even started the exam because I was so upset.’
He claims to have been victimised several times at Giles Academy in Boston, Lincolnshire.
The teenager, who has now left the school and is hoping to go to college to study maths, said: ‘They made me feel like a freak. It’s sad that people can’t be more open-minded.’
His mother, IT worker Miranda Johnson, 42, lodged a complaint. It was investigated by the chairman of governors, Frank Pickett, and dismissed. In a letter, he said all the allegations had been rejected.
Ashlyn’s mother said: ‘We don’t want a penny of compensation. It’s not about the money – it’s about protecting other children and educating people.
‘To be made to sit on your own during an exam is horrendous. If Ashlyn had been black or disabled there would have been uproar.’
Ashlyn announced he was gay at 11 but later realised he was a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Doctors and social services referred him to specialists, who diagnosed gender dysphoria.
He is now on a waiting list to start hormone treatment. From the age of 18 he will be eligible for full sex-change surgery.
The first clash with the school happened earlier this year when Ashlyn was told to take swimming lessons with boys despite feeling uncomfortable about it. His family said that, in the end, sympathetic staff quietly let him skip classes.
Ashlyn Parram
Ashlyn when he was 11 ready for his first day of school dressed as a boy
Ashlyn, now aged 16 wearing girls' clothes and hair extensions, left, and when he was 11 ready for his first day of school dressed as a boy, pictured right
Later a female teacher mimicked a ‘slutty’ walk in front of laughing pupils, pretending to be Ashlyn. Giles Academy confirmed that the teacher had been spoken to about how to ‘conduct herself in future’.

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Did the pupil or the parents take into account the other pupils that may have been distracted during an exam?
This would not have been unknown at school and some would have had an exam disrupted by both school and pupil taking a stance on exam day.
This issue should have been taken care of before it involved others in a very important time in their lives. Not left to a politically correct stance to make things an issue.
School and parents should be ashamed they let it just 'happen' on the day. Ashlyn should be ashamed she did not consider others only herself in this.

I'm not sure that the clothing worn by a female student should have caused any disruption of male students focusing on their examination. I would have thought that the hormonal status of any genetic female students would have produced more of a distraction. In addition, the fuss caused by the school would have produced a much bigger distraction to male students than the clothing worn by the student herself.

I'm not sure that this was the (female) student's responsibility at all. Had there been a more supportive environment in the school in the first place, the issues would have been sorted much earlier. To blame the student, at 16, for not being wiser than the adult teachers, is in my view a bit rich.

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