Vic Valentine: Why children should learn about trans people in school

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Challenging gender stereotypes in schools is crucial to give all children and young people the tools they need to navigate a world that has many unspoken rules and expectations around gender that are taken for granted.

It is important that amongst these lessons is an introduction to trans people – people whose sense of their gender does not match up with what we might have expected based on what our bodies looked like when we were born.

Recognising that some people are trans is an important part of challenging gender stereotypes – which are all rooted in the idea that the body you are born with defines who you are and who you can be.

Not teaching children the fact that some people are trans does not make us all magically disappear.

READ MORE: Primary one children will be told ‘your gender is what you decide’

Pupils may be attending school with a classmate who has a trans parent, with an older sibling who is trans, or may even be trans themselves.

It is not the inclusion of trans people, but in fact silence within schools about our existence that is much more likely to cause confusion.

This silence leaves some children and young people without the knowledge they need to embrace the real diversity they will encounter in the world.

And it leaves the children and young people who already have trans people in their lives confused and unsure about why this is treated as something not to be spoken of in the classroom.

Often, what gets left out of our lessons sends as loud a message to pupils as what gets in.

READ MORE: James Morton: Trans rights trump ‘sex’ vs ‘gender’ battle

For as long as trans people are treated as too different to be mentioned, we will know that change needs to be made.

Better inclusion of trans people in our schools is an important step in ensuring we better include trans people throughout society.

Vic Valentine is the policy officer at the Scottish Trans Alliance

READ MORE: David Robertson: Children are being indoctrinated over gender