The School Policy and Advisory Guide is said to provide Victorian government schools with “quick and easy access to government and operational policies and advice.” Under the title Student Health there is a sub category called Specific Condition Support. This section is designed to “support students with a range of medical conditions; provide support for student pregnancy and parenting; and manage medical incidents including response to and treatment of: anaphylaxis and asthma.” A list is then provided of various policies within this section. These policies relate to conditions such as, allergies, diabetes, epilepsy and… gender identity.1
The Gender Identity policy details its purpose as follows: “To ensure schools support students’ gender identity, including those with intersex status, in line with both the Victorian Equal Opportunity Acts 2010 (Vic) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).”2
The policy itself states, “schools must support and respect a student’s choice to identify as their desired gender when this does not align with their designated sex at birth.” And while it’s suggested, “the young person and a family representative/carer must be invited to be part of the formulation of a school management plan,” they admit, “there may arise circumstances in which students wish to change their gender identity without the consent of their parents, and without consulting medical practitioners.”3
If a parent has not consented to their child identifying as the opposite sex – remember this is not age specific – “it will be necessary for the school to consider whether the student is a mature minor enabling the student to permissibly make decisions for themselves without parental consent.” Further, “should the school consider that the student is a mature minor, in these circumstances it may not be appropriate for the student’s family representative/carer to be invited to participate in formulating the school management plan.”4
What makes this policy even more troubling is how it addresses the obvious issue of toilets, showers and change rooms. All of these are said to be specific to each school and “the arrangements for the use of these facilities should be made locally…” Further, it’s suggested, “careful consideration should be given to the use of facilities that are appropriate to the student’s preferred or chosen gender.” It’s noted that “regular use of disabled toilets by a student without disabilities can draw attention to the student and is not appropriate for these purposes.”5
So, how long do you think it’ll be before schools are required to install urinals in all female bathrooms? How parents feel about all of this is quite irrelevant, according to the Victorian Government. They’ve made it clear: ultimately, it’s up to the state school, not the parents, to decide what’s best for your children.
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