The number of trans students at single-sex schools is on the rise in one state in Australia.
A number of single-sex private schools in Victoria have confirmed trans students have stayed on at the same school after transitioning.
One such school is Mentone Girls’ Secondary School in Melbourne’s south-east.
Oliver Robertson is the only boy at his school after he came out as trans three years ago.
‘When I first came out in year 9, I thought it was going to be a huge issue because this was a girls’ school and I was a boy,’ he told the Herald Sun.
‘A lot of students were worried about how school assemblies or classes would go, whether teachers could still say, ‘Morning, girls’. I understand this is a girls’ school and it’s a habit, so I’m not going to get angry about it.’
Oliver who is in his final year of high school was worried about having to change schools after he transitioned. He didn’t want to go to a new, mixed-gender school. Changing schools would force him to come out to a new group of students who might not be as accepting as his current peers.
‘Especially with the boys, I didn’t think they’d be able to understand it or accept it,’ he said.
‘I feel accepted here.’
Free to be trans
Victorian Department of Education policy says schools must respect a student’s gender identity.
Mentone Girls’ Secondary School did not force Oliver to change schools. Its assistant principal Carol Duggan anticipated more students come would transition in the future.
‘Oli is inadvertently supporting the next generations of students who come through this school,’ she told the Herald Sun.
‘When you’re used to working in a single-sex school, the hardest thing initially is getting used to the appropriate pronouns.
‘However, it’s more important to continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for all our students.’