Activists are praising Wynberg Girls’ High for becoming the first school in the country to welcome a transgender pupil into its halls. The 14-year-old girl has been attending boys’ schools since grade one, and will be the first transgender girl to attend an all-girls school.
She has identified as a girl for her entire schooling career. TimesLIVE reported that her mother approached Wynberg Girls’ in September to apply for admission. The school’s governing body made the decision to welcome transgender students last November.
The teen will begin attending classes at the start of the third term, which kicks off in July. Her acceptance into the school has prompted the provincial government to develop policies to assist schools in being more inclusive.
“There has not been a departmental policy, we are only really drafting it right now. There are quite a few principles at schools who have been dealing with these issues over the past few years and needed guidance on it and there is no national or provincial policy on this,” Bronagh Hammond, Western Cape Department of Education spokesperson, said on CapeTalk. “The main thing we need is communication and education and an understanding of what is actually going on with that learner so everyone can accept this learner on the first day of school or accept the process that the learner is going through.”
The department will also have a case-to-case approach to the developing policies, as each learner’s circumstances may vary.
LGBTQIA+ organisation The Triangle Project has commended Wynberg Girls’ High for this big step. “Learners who identify as transgender are often forced to do homeschooling or drop out because of the challenges they face at school,” they said. “This is a really positive step. The issue is about access to education – transgender learners should be incorporated into schools of their choosing if they meet criteria.”