Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 14:54 by Ivan Martin
State schools should not impose particular uniforms or facilities on gender variant students but allow them to choose a uniform according to whichever sex they identified with, according to a new government policy.
Unveiled today, the Trans, Gender Variant and Intersex Students in Schools Policy instructs government schools to allow students transitioning from one gender orientation to another, to wear a uniform congruent with their own gender identity.
The same goes for school facilities such as bathrooms and changing rooms. The policy states that students should be allowed to use the facility which tally’s with their own gender identity, or ideally provide gender neutral facilities.
Students are to be addressed with their preferred name and pronoun, congruent with their gender identity; however, all these are to be done once an application for gender transition has been filed in Court.
The policy also says that students are to be permitted to participate in physical education classes and sports activities, including competitions, in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
The new policy was launched by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo together with Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli.
Dr Dalli said the government had been working on the policy for more than a year, ever since the issue was flagged by a student experiencing difficulties.
She said the student had all but dropped out after regulations on school facilities had not tallied with her own gender identity.
Another student, she added, had experienced problems finding employment because the name on his certificates did not tally with his new gender identity.
The policy puts forward provisions for qualifications to be amended accordingly.
A Student Transition Management Plan shall be adopted in schools to help students going through gender variation. This will help students cope with stresses as well as guide them through any conflict with reconciling their gender identity with segregation in schools.
Malta Gay Rights Movement Head Gabi Calleja said the policy was a response to an existing situation and was necessary to help students transition.
As part of the team that helped draft the policy, Ms Calleja said the government would be meeting with the heads of state schools to liaise on difficulties that might arise.