A UK teacher has shared how her pupils reacted when one of their classmates transitioned from Sarah to Charlie.
Charlie came back to school after the summer holidays to a class who had previously known him as a girl – but the children were quick to adapt to his new name and pronoun, even writing ‘Welcome Charlie!’ with balloons and smiley faces on the classroom whiteboard.
‘There was no fuss; a couple of my class who had been away on Monday didn’t bat an eyelid when I called the register,’ the teacher explained in an email to Educate & Celebrate, a charity which works with schools to make them LGBTI-friendly.
‘Some of the class are using Charlie and a she pronoun but they correct themselves quickly!’
She added: ‘He has been really relaxed and I’m so pleased.’
It seems Charlie’s transition has even made him some new friends in the playground, who didn’t make the effort to get to know him before he came out.
‘I watched all the juniors on the playground on Tuesday morning,’ the teacher said.
‘One of the year 6 boys, who I don’t think ever really played with Sarah, was waiting for Charlie so they could play together and did the same yesterday.
‘He seemed to be really looking out for him every break time, which was lovely to see.’
A few parents of pupils from other years questioned what was going on, but the teacher explained staff at the school soon put a stop to any gossip between parents.
Elly Barnes, CEO of Educate & Celebrate said: ‘It’s emails like these that make me smile and know that there is a need for LGBT+ inclusion in our schools.
‘Training gives teachers the confidence to successfully engage their students in an LGBT+Inclusive curriculum to increase visibility.
An important element of our work is to introduce LGBT+ language to better explain the words ‘trans’ ‘transgender’ ’transsexual’ ’intersex’ and all words on the gender identity spectrum.
‘We should bring these words into the mainstream to help our staff and students to be themselves and have the language to express who they are.’
To aid Charlie’s transition, the teachers took a whole-school approach to inclusion by holding a diversity day where they created bunting about their uniqueness, which included references to trans relatives.
Working with Educate & Celebrate, the school will be continuing to work on inclusivity with their pupils, working through a range of the PRIDE in Primary Education resources, which includes LGBTI-inclusive books with learning outcomes, keywords, activities and songs that enable gender identity and sexual orientation to be discussed.