Protecting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Children – A Submission to the 2015 Inquiry into Protecting Children by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children
The United Nations have placed pressure on all countries to support greater recognition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in direct international legislative provisions. This section of the report outlines the report’s focus in relation to violence, bullying and discrimination in schools.
Protecting Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Children
This section outlines how same-sex attracted students have suffered significantly increased discrimination, verbal abuse and violence in schools over time, particularly in religious educational institutions. Religious schools could particularly be seen to contribute to difficult conditions and problems of conversion attempts. Policy protection was shown in research to have halved rates of suicide attempts for this group.
Protecting Transgender Children
This section of the report considers information on transgender children (those whose gender identity does not reflect their allocated sex) from Australian data. Many had genderqueer/ gender diverse identities, rather than seeing themselves as the sex ‘opposite’ to that allocated to them at birth in a more traditional understanding of ‘transgender’. Over two thirds of the group had experienced verbal abuse because of their gender identity(ies), and almost a quarter had experienced physical abuse. School staff’s use of language (such as personal pronouns) had an impact on their experiences of abuse according to a key study.
Protecting Intersex Children
Children with intersex variations were born with chromosomal, hormonal, anatomical or other variations to their sex characteristics. Most of these people have medical interventions in their infancy/ childhood, before they are able to discuss their own autonomous preferences for their sexed body and gender identity – thus many have very traumatic experiences of intervention. Only a quarter of these children rated their overall experience at school positively, many were bullied. They most commonly wanted information on intersex variations to be provided at school, alongside references for counselling and bullying protections.
The report concludes with a series of numbered recommendations discussing the recommended changes arising out of research and consultations with reference groups.