Barriers and Enablers of Education Equality for Transgender Students

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This paper reports the results of research on education inequalities in Northern Ireland, carried out by a team from Queen’s University Belfast on behalf of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. A focus group and individual interviews were carried out with key stakeholders (transgender individuals, parents of transgender students, and advocates from organisations that support transgender students) to explore and understand the contributory factors and manifestation of educational inequalities for transgender students at different stages of their education, along with potential enablers of equality. The main barriers found were: gender stereotyping in schools; a lack of awareness and understanding of trans issues; a lack of guidance for schools; inflexibility around school rules; exclusion (including self-exclusion due to feelings of not being accepted); the timing of transition; difficult enrolment processes; moving away from home; and inappropriate facilities. Enablers of education equality for transgender students included: central directives and joined-up working between government departments; training for school staff; flexibility in school practices; and a systematic approach to data collection concerning the experiences of transgender students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalReview of Social Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2016
Event International Conference on Gender and Education: Critical Issues, Policy and Practice - School of Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, United States
Duration: 28 May 201530 May 2015


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