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A girls school in New Zealand is helping students to transition

'I wish I could be at school all the time because school accepts me as a transgender male while some of my family members do not'

A girls school in New Zealand is helping students to transition
Redd Angelo via Unsplash
A girls grammar school in New Zealand is helping its trans students while they transition

A prestigious girls high school in New Zealand is helping some of its students transition gender.

Epsom Girls Grammar School (EGGS) in Auckland is working with at least seven students as they transition to their true gender.

The school set up ‘Trans Tea Time’, a support group for trans students. The group has seven members aged between 13-18, all who have socially transitioned.

Jeannie Grant, EGGS’ head of counselling runs the group and said seven trans students was not a high number.

‘There are transgender students at most schools in New Zealand, but they are not going to come out unless the school offers support,’ she told stuff.co.nz.

‘There have always been transgender teenagers, but the ability to use the internet to form connections with other transgender teenagers makes you feel less alone and more supported.

‘So coming out as transgender is that much easier.’

The school also has gender neutral uniforms and restrooms. Teachers, students and staff are required to use the correct pronouns of people they’re interacting with.

Trans life

A recent national student health and wellbeing survey found 40% of trans students in New Zealand experience high levels of depression. Almost half of trans students have tried to self-harm in the past year.

Some of the students in Trans Tea Time consider themselves lucky to attend a supportive educational facility. They said their school was more supportive than some of their family members.

‘Not being accepted by the ones you love the most is definitely heartbreaking at times,’ said 16-year-old David*.

For 14-year-old Ryan, he’s still battling with some of his family members who think his transition is ‘just a phase’.

‘To be honest, sometimes I wish I could be at school all the time because school accepts me as a transgender male while some of my family members do not,’ Ryan said.

‘It is not that we think we are another sex or that we want to be another sex – we are another sex. And believe me, no one would transition for fun, it is definitely not fun, and it is not easy.’

New Zealand leads by example

New Zealand is a trend setter in the region as several schools across the country offer gender neutral uniforms for students.

A New Zealand teacher’s union updated policy for schools to have gender neutral uniforms and bathrooms went viral in May.

*Not David’s real name


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