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Transgender student rebuts Education Minister Lawrence Wong’s comments in Parliament

In her case, "flexibility" meant that she would be doing full Home-Based Learning despite being physically able to go to school

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Singapore — The saga of alleged transgender discrimination continues as the student,  Ashlee, rebuts Education Minister Lawrence Wong’s comments on the matter in Parliament on Monday (Feb 1).

The 18-year-old took to Reddit once again, posting on Tuesday morning (Feb 2) regarding the events which have transpired since her first post.

[Rant] An update to Transgender Discrimination in Singapore Schools from r/SGExams

On Monday, Workers’ Party MP He Ting Ru (Sengkang GRC) had asked about the Ministry of Education’s policies and guidelines on students with gender dysphoria, and the level of autonomy that schools have in setting policies on these issues.

In response, Mr Wong was quoted as saying that “where there are valid medical grounds, schools can exercise flexibility and work out practical arrangements for students diagnosed with gender dysphoria and undergoing hormone therapy if they face difficulties with certain school rules”.

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However, Ashlee seems to have faced a different situation from that stated by the minister. She shared that in her case, “flexibility” meant that she would be doing full Home-Based Learning despite being physically able to go to the lecture halls and classrooms. It also meant that she was cut off from attending science practicals, CCA  and project work, which are necessary for her holistic education as well as future prospects.

Additionally, she had been in contact with the school administration. However, despite many promises by both the school and the MOE to “work with [her]”, she said that the results had been dissatisfactory. “Their overall inconsistency, intentional disregard for proper medical advice and discrimination is showing,” she added.

Ashlee also included an image of her official doctor’s memo, which includes her gender pronouns. However, in the statement by MOE, it continued to misgender her by addressing her using male pronouns.

Photo: Imgur image / AcanthisittaParty986

She said the MOE was attempting to cover up a meeting between them and her doctor in July-August 2020. The MOE had insisted that schools had to work with and consent before any referral was done or life-changing decisions made — in addition to the family — and that the doctor was not to write memos for trans students to schools. Her family had long supported her decision and the only opposing parties were her school and the ministry.

She ends the post with the question: “Why is the MOE contradicting and denying proper medical advice, treatment and quality education?” She links numerous scientific papers published regarding gender dysphoria and education in her post as evidence.

Denise Teh is an editorial intern at The Independent SG. /TISG

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