The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) called out the Ministry of Education on Wednesday (Jan 27) and urged it to look into the issue of gender policing in schools.
In a statement, the gender equality advocacy group said: “It is unfortunate that MOE did not respond adequately to Ashlee’s complaints. Between Ashlee herself, yesterday’s protesters (via their statement) and other individuals and organisations in civil society, valuable, substantive and consistent points have been made, both about the specifics of Ashlee’s case and about the larger problem of gender policing in schools”.
The association added that they would like to see MOE respond with more clarity to the complaints listed in the protesters’ statement, and also make public its general principles and practices regarding LGBTQ students.
AWARE’s statement comes after three people protesting in support of LGBTQ+ students were arrested outside the Ministry of Education (MOE) building in Buona Vista on Tuesday afternoon (Jan 26).
The trio — Elijah Tay, 19; Lune Loh, 24; and Kokila Annamalai — were seen holding placards outside the building.
The protest was against transphobia in the education system. The protest comes after a recent viral Reddit post of a transgender student – Ashlee – alleging discriminatory treatment by her school and the MOE sparked a huge backlash on social media.
Ashlee claimed that the ministry blocked her from receiving hormone therapy.
Last Friday (Jan 22), the MOE and the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) issued a joint statement on the case. The ministry and institute said that decisions about final medical treatment involving the use of hormonal therapy rest with clinicians and their patients. The MOE also clarified that it was not true it had interfered with the student’s hormonal treatment, and that MOE and schools work closely with and respect the advice given by healthcare professionals.
AWARE added that : “Our society cannot be fair if it only grants respect, dignity and autonomy to those whose gender expression fits neatly into conventional male/female boxes, and those who are heterosexual. Our society cannot be gender-equal if schools perpetuate discrimination against transgender students”.
They urged the government “to take into account the frustration of the protesters and the challenges faced by the transgender community, in schools and society, and act with leniency”. /TISG
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