The Right to Choose Applies to Children, Too.

As a teenager, I was outed and shamed for questioning my identity. At first, I thought I was Bisexual, then was shamed into thinking I was either Straight or Gay. When I questioned my gender, I was told I had to be a man or a woman – so I hid my Non-Binary identity until I was 18.

On several occasions, teachers outed me to classmates and family members. So much abuse was given to me by my peers and strangers because of what teachers had announced.

Less than a week after the petition was created, over 3,000 people have already signed it [as of 16:30, 01/05/2023].

This isn’t an uncommon situation. It’s not unheard of, and it’s sadly too familiar for LGBTQ people. So, why would the government think it’s a good idea to put guidance in place that forces schools to tell parents or guardians if their child is questioning their identity?

At this moment in time, this guidance is aimed at Trans and Non-Binary people. If they choose to go by a different name in school or wear a different uniform, the guidance suggests that the teachers and school must contact the parents to inform them.

If you think it’ll stop at Trans and Non-Binary people, I can guarantee it won’t. If this gets implemented, it will likely be extended to other identities – such as Gay, Bisexual, Asexuals, and Pansexuals, to name a few…  Anyone who doesn’t fit the heterosexual and cisgender box will be immediately outed to their parents. 

I’d been questioning my gender identity from as young as four and my sexuality from the age of eight. The amount of physical, emotional, and psychological trauma I went through from children, as well as adults, is disgusting. I was shunned, made to conform, regularly silenced, and my poor mental state was ignored to the point that I began self-harming as a means to cope.

I had to struggle with hating myself, an eating disorder, self-harm, suicidal ideation and parentification – on top of bullying from students, teachers, and those closest to me.

The reason I didn’t tell my parents about my identity when I was little was that I saw my parents being homophobic and transphobic – mainly because while they knew people in the LGBTQ, they didn’t know the harm those words caused, and they hadn’t been around them enough to know the struggles LGBTQ people have to deal with.

I can confidently say that if I had been outed to my parents earlier than I was, I suspect I would’ve been abandoned. 

And this isn’t a stab at my parents; this is entirely aimed at the education system. Because this is a system that is designed to fail students, especially those with a low-income background, and only ever fuels hate and misinformation. It’s been like this for over a century and will continue to be like this.

Right now, a system that lacks the tools to help students is about to be put under further stress by forcing teachers to out their students to potentially harmful and abusive families.

We should never assume someone’s identity on the off chance that a tomboy girl is a trans boy – because everyone expresses their gender differently. And we certainly shouldn’t be taking away a child’s choice to come out to their parents. 

There are usually reasons why a child doesn’t tell their parents. Sometimes it’s nerves – but sometimes, it’s something much more severe. 

If you’re here to support the LGBTQ community and don’t believe that LGBTQ individuals should be outed by teachers and schools – please sign the following petition.

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