Schools in Scotland have been issued guidance on helping young children who think they are transgender.
It was recently revealed that eighty-two percent of transgender kids have experienced bullying, with sixty-eight percent of those facing difficulties in their education as a result and more than twenty-seven percent leaving school altogether.
Ministers hope it'll help schools and education authorities "make decisions effectively" using "real-life examples" to help teachers tackle bullying and promote healthier LGBTQ+ attitudes. The new guidance has been welcomed by charities and support groups.
The Scottish government has suggested schools introduce gender-neutral toilets and uniforms, urging for "privacy and safe spaces" for all children. Pupils should also be allowed to compete on sports teams based on the gender they identify with, under the new guidance.
The advice applies to primary schools as well as secondary, because "recognition and development of gender identity can occur at a young age."
Teachers will be encouraged to ask pupils for their name and preferred pronouns, as well as asking them whether they've discussed it with their families. However, it isn't necessary for parents to be involved in matters regarding their gender identity in school.
Teachers will also be told not to invalidate the children by telling them their thoughts are part of a "phase", saying "if a young person comes out to you, it's also important not to deny their identity, or overly question their understanding of their gender identity."
"A transgender young person may not have told their family about their gender identity. Inadvertent disclosure could cause needless stress for the young person or could put them at risk and breach legal requirements.
"Therefore, it is best to not share information with parents or carers without considering and respecting the young person's views and rights," the guidance states.
"Pupils are happier and learn more at school when they feel safe, respected, and included," Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said. Advice isn't being prescribed to school, and it isn't compulsory and they won't be forced to follow the recommendations.
"We know transgender young people can face many issues in schools and that teachers and staff must have the confidence and skills to support their mental, physical and emotional health.
"This guidance outlines how schools can support transgender young people while ensuring that the rights of all pupils are fully respected. It provides schools with practical suggestions. The guidance is not prescriptive and does not promote transitioning."