A top British boarding school, Brighton college, has changed its 170 year old uniform code in order to facilitate transgender pupils. The uniforms stay the same, but now pupils can choose between a “trouser uniform” or s “skirt uniform”, regardless of their biological gender. Girls are already walking around the school campus in trousers and more than one boy has expressed the desire to wear a skirt. The change came following requests by a small number of families.
“If some boys and girls are happier identifying with a different gender from that in which they were born, then my job is to make sure that we accommodate that,” Richard Cairns told the BBC. “My only interest as headmaster is their welfare and happiness.”
“I hate the idea of anyone being in my school who is miserable because they’re being asked to dress in a way they are uncomfortable with. Brighton College has instead decided to abolish the notion of boys’ and girls’ uniforms altogether.”
The policy was welcomed by its pupils. Sixth former Amy Arnell commented to the Telegraph: “There really is no negativity towards this new policy at school. To be honest, when the headmaster announced it, no one was really surprised – there is just no reason not to do it if it makes people feel more comfortable about themselves.”
The number of transgender children is rising steeply in the UK. In five years, London’s Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service, where British transgender children are assessed, has seen their numbers increase with 50 per cent each year, from 97 cases in 2009 to 697 in 2014.
Earlier this month, Cairns also made the headlines with his views on gender, when he criticized girls-only educational institutes. He described single-sex education as a “deeply unrealistic world”.