A trans teenager is suing his £13,000 a year private school for ‘injury to feelings’ after he says teachers described his transition as a ‘phase’ and insisted that he continue to wear the girls’ uniform.
The case has reached the Royal Courts of Justice after being announced earlier this year. Hereford Cathedral School claims it was never informed of his diagnosis.
In preliminary hearing, Judge Ian Avent was told that the 16 year old boy, who was born a girl and has had no reassignment surgery, had suffered many ‘psychological and emotional problems over the past two years’, and heard allegations that the school had failed to support him in his request to be allowed to dress as a boy.
Do rights come into play here?
Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must not treat pupils less favourably because of their gender reassignment, and have to ‘factor in’ gender reassignment when considering their obligations. It isn’t necessary for the pupil to have had, or to be planning to have reassignment surgery, but they must be taking steps to live as the opposite gender, or proposing to do so. Similar restrictions exist for such ‘protected characteristics’ as gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability.
The school claims that staff never had sufficient material to make them aware of the boy’s reassignment, and that “in any event it did not discriminate” against the boy. They also say the boy’s family removed him from the school before it had time to address the issue.
The family, on the other hand, alleges that his GP had supported the request to be allowed as the gender he identified as, and that staff were fully aware of his gender dysphoria.
His mother has described the school’s treatment as ‘appalling’, adding ‘they made my child out to be a freak, and someone who would contaminate the other students’.
‘Injury to feelings’ can be claimed by anyone who has been the subject of discrimination under the Equality Act, and can lead to wins of significant amounts of money if the injury has been severe. In this case, the boy is claiming £30,000.
A full hearing is expected to take place early next year.
Want to know more about equality and rights? Yes!
- See this news story on a couple told they couldn’t adopt a white child
- Take a look at the right not to be discriminated against
- Understand how human rights protect trans people