Statement of Intent
Romerike International School recognises that Transgender gender young people and their families face particular challenges and hurdles and are likely to need extra support from the school to help them achieve their potential. RIS is committed to supporting all the pupils in their care, and their families, on an individual basis and will put into place as many extra levels of pastoral care as possible for all pupils who need it, including Transgender gender young people.
Transgender gender Identity
RIS recognises that a Transgender gender person feels that their external appearance does not match up with the way they feel internally about their gender identity. A Female to Male (FtoM) person will have been assigned female sex at birth yet identifies their gender as a male; a Male to Female (MtoF) person will have been assigned as male at birth yet identify their gender as female. The word Transgender gender is sometimes used interchangeably with terms such as Transgender sexual or gender-variant but usually has a narrower meaning and different connotations than gender-variant, including non-identification with the gender assigned at birth. Young people who experience issues with their gender development or are gender non-conforming may or may not be Transgender sexual, as some will not retain their gender variance following puberty because this can be fluid. Gender-variant people may also use terms such terms as non-binary, genderqueer, or genderfluid to identify themselves and these terms are expanded upon in the glossary. Gender Dysphoria (or Gender Identity Disorder) is a clinical condition that can present from as early as age two and can only be diagnosed by a medical and/or psychiatric expert. A person diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria may require treatment (e.g. hormone blockers) to ameliorate the symptoms associated with being Transgender gender. A Transgender gender person can live their life without being or needing to be diagnosed as having Gender Dysphoria. It must be understood that some people with Gender Dysphoria or those who identify as NonBinary or Gender Variant may not want any treatment. Some may choose to be known by a gender-neutral name or to wear different clothes. However, most or all young Transgender people (and their families) will need some support or information as they grow up and develop.
Absence from School
The school will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate absence requests for treatment and support from external sources. The absence must be requested in advance by the parents/carers and will be recorded as “Authorised absence”.
Terminology and Language
It is good practice to focus on correct terminology and the use of language in school. As a school, we will use the pillar of Well Being to focus education in relevant lessons (PE) and in an age-appropriate manner, around sexual orientation and gender, so that everyone has a clear understanding that sexual orientation (being heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian) and gender identity (being male or female), are completely different things. Terminology and language can be confusing around Transgender gender issues. Different individuals and organisations sometimes prefer different terms to identify themselves and the nature of being Transgender and the school will take its lead from the pupil on an individual basis. The school, in discussion with the pupil and his/her parents, will change the first name(s) and gender on school records as requested. As a matter of fairness, respect and inclusion, staff are expected to ensure that the correct gender, name and pronouns are used uniformly to address Transgender people. However, it is recognised that there may well be times when a mistake is made and this can be embarrassing for all parties. If there is difficulty in ‘getting it right,’ the use of the chosen first name will help to overcome this.
Transgender phobia and bullying
Sometimes people deliberately use the incorrect pronoun, first name or gender identifier in an attempt to bully or belittle a student. This will not be tolerated at RIS as it contravenes the pillar of Wellbeing. Transgender phobic incidents or crimes must be recorded and dealt with in the same manner as other incidents using the §9a concern form.
Training around Transgender gender issues will be given within the regular welfare and/or safeguarding briefings and to all new staff. This will include.
❖ Gender identity;
❖ Privacy and dignity;
❖ Tackling Transgender phobia;
Sports and Physical Education
A young Transgender gender person has the same right to physical education and fitness as other young people. All PE lessons are mixed gender and a Transgender pupil should be allowed to wear the sports kit of their identified gender. In swimming, some adjustments may have to be made on an individual basis, perhaps with a T-shirt worn over a costume or a short wetsuit. Provision needs to be made for showering and changing and this needs to be done for each individual circumstance, depending on the availability of private showers and changing areas.
Transition from one school to another
Changing schools can be seen as a new start so this may well be the point at which young Transgender gender people make a conscious decision to be known by their true gender. At times this may be problematic, negatively affecting friendships, behaviours, and reputation in the school. However, changing schools can also be a very empowering time if the correct support and preparation is in place. It must be remembered that in school Transition young Transgender people may, for the first time, find they are able to express themselves and be truly happy, and thus contribute positively and successfully both to their own academic development and to RIS’ wider learning environment. The management of a move between schools needs consideration and good communication between the old and new school. Their rights, thoughts, concerns and wishes of the young Transgender person and their family or carers need to be established and considered at the earliest opportunity. A single point of contact needs to be established between the Transgender pupil, parents and previous school and at RIS. At RIS this would be the Homeroom Teacher. This will help make the Transgender ition from one school to the other as seamless as possible. The school then takes on responsibility for preparing their school community in a safe and secure way so that the child is supported in the most appropriate way for them. The same process needs to be put into place for a RIS Transgender gender pupil moving to another school. At all times, the pupil and parents should be involved in any decisions and give permission for the sharing of sensitive information.
Dealing with concerns of Staff, Families and Carers
There is a clear expectation and understanding that all RIS staff give academic and pastoral support to the best of their ability, equally to all pupils. Confidential information about pupils must not be shared with other parents and any queries or questions from other parents about this must be referred to the Head of School. Unfortunately, there may be occasions when, due to their own personal beliefs or feelings, a parent or guardian may not always be a supportive or an appropriate person to assist the young person through Transitioning. It may not be necessary for a parent or guardian to provide permission for a Transgender gender pupil or student to take steps to Transition. In this case, the school will liaise with external agencies, such as Barnvern so they can provide the best support they can for both the young person and their family.
The School shall provide factual information regarding this policy in relation to media inquiries. It will not make comments or provide details relating to any individual case. Media inquiries should be directed towards the Principal.
Use of Toilets and Changing Facilities
All toilets are unisex toilets at RIS these can be used by everybody, including Transgender pupils. Changing rooms have the option of using individual rooms reserved for staff and referees.
Personal Social Health Education and Curriculum
PSHE and PSCHE lessons are an important part of preparing young people for some of the issues that they will come across in their lives. The curriculums will be updated to reflect an awareness of Transgender issues, sexual orientation and differing family structures, which are implicitly embedded within ideas of tolerance, equality and difference. Explicit references to these issues are covered at age-appropriate times using carefully selected resources. The school nurse will support the wider school community to ensure that gender education is in line with Norwegian cultural expectations and legal requirements.
Changing Names and Gender
Changing their name and gender identity is a pivotal point for many Transgender gender people. If a Transgender pupil wishes to have their personal data recognised on school systems, this will be supported and will feed on to letters home, report cycles etc. It is possible for most documents to be changed to reflect the chosen name or gender identity of the young person. Changing details on a birth certificate may not be possible depending on the country of origin.
Consideration should be given to allowing the young Transgender person to receive their vaccinations in private if the vaccination is gender-specific i.e. a F2M Transgender pupil or student may find it very difficult to stand in a queue of girls awaiting a female-specific vaccination. Vaccinations are not always separated by gender (male/female) and if it is still necessary to have mass vaccination sessions in school, then a mixed-gender queue will be used, as well as screens for the person receiving the vaccination be supplied to promote privacy.
School Trips, Exchanges and Overnight Stays
Learning about different cultures and lives and taking part in activities may lead to overnight stays, both at home and abroad. Transgender pupils are entitled to access appropriate trips, but consideration should be given well in advance to any additional needs, which may include having a parent or guardian (as a member of staff) accompany the trip to ensure that the student is fully included. The sleeping arrangements will need to be thought about before a trip is undertaken; it is possible that the student would prefer to have a separate room for example. Each individual case and trip needs to be thought of separately, and in-depth discussions should happen well in advance with any and all appropriate bodies. When traveling abroad, it is the case that, just as anyone can be searched, a Transgender pupil may be searched at borders and other places. Different countries will have policies and procedures that they will follow. It is good practice for the trip leader to contact the relevant border control or agency in advance so that any risk assessment is accurate for that visit or trip. There are countries that are not as legally and culturally open as Norway. In fact some have laws that make it illegal to be part of the Transgender gender community. Some countries even make it an offense not to report to the authorities that someone is part of the Transgender gender community. If there is any uncertainty about this the laws regarding Transgender communities in countries considered for school visits needs to be investigated. The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) have more information on their website about countries that pose a risk to Transgender individuals.
Appendix 1: External Support and Resources
Organisations that exist to provide support to pupils, staff and parents
Appendix 2: Useful Book List (Please check the book’s age range to ensure it is appropriate)
It’s Okay To Be Different Todd Parr
The Family Book Todd Parr
Who’s in a Family? Robert Skutch
Picnic in the Park Joe Griffiths
Prince Cinders Babette Cole
The Princesses Have a Ball Teresa Bateman
You’re Different and That’s Super Carson Kressley
We’re Different, We’re the Same Bobbi Kates
Incredible You Wayne Dyer
10,000 Dresses Marcus Ewert
The Boy in the Dress David Walliams
My Princess Boy Cheryl Kilodavis
The Sissy Duckling Harvey Fierstein
William’s Doll Charlotte Zolotow
The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler Gene Kemp
Be Who You Are! Jennifer Carr
Tutus Aren’t My Style Linda Skeers
Choir Boy Charlie Anders
Freak Show James St James
Morgan in the Mirror C C Saint Clair
My Brother Beth Rebecca Sardella
Parrotfish Ellen Wittlinger
Luna Julie Anne Peters
My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You or Something Else Entirely Kate Bornstein
Feeling Wrong in Your Own Body: Understanding
What it Means to be Transgender gender Jaime A SebaHow Stephen Became Stephanie and Other Transgender gender Tales Kate Lesley
Grrl Alex: A personal journey to a Transgender gender identity Alex Drummond
Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex and Gender Diversity Tracie O’Keefe & Katrina Fox (eds)
Am I Transgender gender?: The Transgender gender Primer Vol 1 A Lite
Adults & reference:
The Transgender gender Child: A Handbook for Families and
Professionals Stephanie Brill & Rachel Pepper
Transgender parent: Love, Family and Living the T with Transgender gender
Teenagers Cris Beam
Understanding Transgender sexualism Mildred Brown & Chloe Rounsley
Helping Your Transgender gender Teen: A Guide for Parents
Transgender gender Explained For Those Who Are Not Joanne Herman
The Transgender gender Studies Reader Susan Stryker & Stephen
Grrl Alex. A personal journey to a Transgender
gender identity Alex Drummond
Transgender Bodies, Transgender Selves: A resource for the Transgender gender Community Laura Erickson-Shroth
Appendix 3: Film List
Tomboy – rated U
Ten year old Laure isn’t like most girls. She prefers football to dolls and sweaters to dresses. When her family move to a new neighbourhood a local girl mistakes Laure to be a boy. Laure becomes Michael, and begins a summer of long sunny afternoons, playground games and first kisses. Yet with the school term fast approaching, and with suspicions arising amongst friends and family, Laure must face up to an uncertain
Transgender America – rated 15
A movie about Bree, a pre-operative male-to-female Transgender sexual awaiting gender reassignment surgery who learns she has a wayward teenage son named Toby. When facing her past, she bails Toby out of jail and they end up on a road trip across the country.
Ma Vie En Rose – rated 12
The story of a little boy; Ludovic, who wants to be a girl. Convinced that he’s the product of misplaced chromosomes (he imagines the mix-up in one of many delightful daydream sequences), he sets about righting the mistake by wearing dresses and high heels and experimenting with lipstick and makeup.
Breakfast on Pluto – rated 15
A dark comedy about a M2F foundling searching for love and her long-lost mother in small town in Ireland and London in the 1970s.
Better than Chocolate – rated 15
Comedy, drama and romance with a group of friends and family including characters across a hugely diverse spectrum.
Appendix : Glossary of Terms
Binding – a FtoM adolescent who is developing breasts may strap down their chest so that it is less obvious. This can be hot, uncomfortable and restrictive but very important to their psychological and emotional wellbeing. It might make certain PE lessons difficult
Blockers – Gonadotrophin inhibiting agents are not hormones that will give the body changes associated with cross-sex hormone therapy. Rather they block the body from releasing the hormones that change the body of boys and girls during puberty to either a more male or more female form and keep it at pre-puberty stage of development.
Stopping treatment allows the body to go through the normal puberty for that child or alternatively, if the child wishes, he or she can elect to have cross-hormone therapy when they have reached an age where they can give their informed consent to such treatment.
CisGender – ‘not Transgender ’ this would be a person that has no conflict between their assigned sex at birth and their gender as it develops.
FtoM – Female to Male, a person that was identified as Female at birth but came to feel that their true gender is actually male.
Gender – the way that a person feels about themselves in relation to their physical and mental self; the basis of their identifying as male, or female, or neither, or either, both.
Gender Dysphoria – the medical condition that describes the symptoms of being Transgender gender.
GenderFluid – moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity.
Gender Identity Disorder – GID is a medical term describing being Transgender
gender, this tends not to be used owing to the negative subtext around the word
GenderQueer – is a catch-all category for gender identities other than man and woman,
thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. having an overlap of, or
indefinite lines between, gender identity, two or more genders or without a gender.
MtoF – Male to Female, a person who was identified as male at birth but came to feel
that their true gender is actually Female.
Non-binary – refers to a spectrum of people who do not welcome or accept the gender
label of ‘male’ or ‘female’ the gender identity of a man or a woman. The gender
identities within the spectrum can be presented or revolved around terms such as
masculine and feminine as they please but they define as neither male nor female.
Packing – a FtoM person may wear a prosthetic item in their pants that will give a
‘bulge’ in their trousers so as to appear more male.
Pronoun – the descriptor relating to gender that identifies an individual – such as ‘she’
‘him’ or ‘his’.
Sex – the way a person’s body appears, sometimes wrongly, to indicate their gender. It
is the assigned determiner on a person’s birth certificate.
SMSC – Social, Moral, Spiritual & Cultural.
Transgender gender – a person who feels the assigned gender and sex at birth
conflicts with their true gender.
Transgender itioning – the process by which a person starts to live in their true
Transgender – a word used as an umbrella term to encompass all forms of
Transgender gender, Transgender sexual, Transgender itioning etc.
Transgender sexual – a Transgender gender person who lives full time in
their true gender.
True Gender – the gender that a person truly feels they are inside.