This week's Blog post comes from one of our own, Miss/Mix Joe Dutton, a Residential Support Worker and Teaching Assistant at the school.
We are forever grateful to have Joe on our Equality & Diversity Committee she is able to keep the school informed on these matters. This helps us understand the political context our learners may need to navigate as they get older and make decisions about their own identities.
Without further ado, we introduce Miss/Mix Joe Dutton's insightful piece on LGBT+:
Yesterday (at time of writing) marked the end of LGBT+ history month here in the UK, and what a month it has been!
Unfortunately, for some time now the rights of trans and non-binary people in the UK have been significantly under attack, both in the mainstream press and in parliament.
For instance, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is changing its advice in ways which undermine the freedoms of all but the 1% of British transgender people who have gone through the lengthy and undignified process required to gain a gender recognition certificate. This potentially opens the door to establishments legally 'gender policing' anyone without a GRC at the toilet door.
This represents a significant rollback since Gender Recognition Act reforms were snatched from the jaws of victory in 2020 under the care of Liz Truss, now our Foreign Secretary and who still holds the brief of Women and Equalities minister. The new GRA contained, among other things, provisions for gender self-identification.
At the same time, our detractors are spreading the same old lies - claiming that young children are being given hormone replacement therapy (minimum age 17), or gender reassignment surgeries. In a world where transgender people are so poorly understood by the general public, misinformation about us can spread very quickly, and the only vaccine against that is already knowing the truth.
Yes, sadly it has been a poor month (and more) for British LGBT+ people politically, and to say otherwise would be failing in my responsibility to accurately represent this state of affairs. However, at Gretton it is not at all bad news. In my two-and-a-half-years working here I have been deeply supported in my gender transition, and watched as more and more staff and students have felt safe enough to 'come out' as LGBT+ and be supported to live an authentic life.
Difficult as things are, Gretton is a place where we do not shy from the work and self-education needed to make our society fairer for all. Undoubtedly the lives of more students than I can count on my fingers have been permanently improved because of the effort you have all been willing to put in. Thanks again to all my colleagues on behalf of all our LGBT+ students and staff for contributing to making Gretton school a truly safe space for all.
Mix/Miss Joe Dutton