MYTH: Gender labels are ‘harmful’

Gay teachers put forward case for gender-neutral toilets, uniforms
NZ Herald 5 October 2017
Family First Comment: No – gender labels are biological reality and toilets reflect that and the privacy and vulnerability of young students. What the teacher experienced was completely unacceptable. But the school should teach the students to respect ALL teachers at ALL times. But don’t use it to promote gender confusion.
First-year teacher Ruby Grant has had homophobic graffiti written on her classroom wall. Students have told her she will go to hell.

Now she is fighting back. She spoke out today at the Post Primary Teachers Association conference in support of a call for the Ministry of Education to issue new guidelines to make schools safe for “students, whānau and staff of minority genders and sexualities”.

The association wants the guidelines to include gender-neutral toilets and gender-neutral uniform options in all schools.

Grant, 29, trained as a statistician and gave up her job as a data analyst in Wellington to train as a maths teacher on the job at Onehunga High School this year under the Teach First scheme.

She had never worn a school uniform, attended the uniform-free Wellington High School, which she described as “the most liberal school in the country”, and said she had never experienced serious homophobia before.

“My whole life was this beautiful liberal bubble,” she said.

“Then I moved to South Auckland. I have really been struggling.

“My classroom has been graffitied with homophobia twice. I’ve had a few students come up to me and tell me I’m a sinner and I’ll go to hell.

“But I’m a visitor to South Auckland. People say, ‘Just be yourself and eventually they will respect you,’ or, ‘Try to be less gay.'”


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