Can I go to a Single-Sex School?

There is nothing to prevent a single-sex school from accepting a transgender pupil. A pupil who has transitioned or wants to transition should be allowed to continue to attend a single-sex school. Every situation will, however, be dealt with on a case by case basis but according to the Education Authority (EA), if a policy only admits pupils based on their sex recorded at birth this would disadvantage transgender pupils and may be potentially open to challenge.

If you need information or advice on this, speak to a legal advisor confidentially on 0808 8085678, email or online at REE Live Chat.

Can my exam records/entries/certificates be updated to reflect my name change?

The name you choose to enter exams with must match a name on suitable identification, like a passport or birth certificate. If your name and gender have not been legally changed at the time you are being enrolled for exams, your school will have to use your legal name and gender. This is because your Unique Learner Number (ULN) is only linked with legal names not preferred names. Your ULN application is normally made when you are 14 or over and the name and gender used will be your legal name and gender at that time.

If you legally change your name and gender your school can update your details on your Personal Learning Record if you provide the legal documents to support this, such as your deed poll.

Can I use my chosen name/pronouns in school and get my school records changed to reflect my name/gender?

Your school should respect your wishes by using your preferred name/pronouns, and your records can be updated to reflect this. Remember to tell a teacher you trust so they can make sure other staff members know too.

If you are under 16 and want to be known by a different name or pronoun that is not supported by your parents/guardians, talk to a staff member that you trust as you may still be able to use your preferred name/pronoun in school.

If you want a document with your new name on it, your parents/guardians can apply to change your name through deed poll at any age. However, to change your name through deed poll without your parents/guardians’ consent, you must be 16 or older; and to change your legal name on your birth certificate you must be 18.

Your records cannot be updated to your preferred gender identity, unless you have legally changed the sex record on your birth certificate. You can do this by applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) when you are 18, if you have lived in your acquired gender for more than 2 years.

You can have your school records amended when you do legally change your name and gender – even if you have finished school, to reflect your transition.

For more information and advice contact us on 08088085678, email or online at REE Live Chat.

Whatever your question about your rights, ask REE. Always there, always safe, always right, always anonymous, always confidential, never judgemental.

Can I play in a sports team that is my preferred gender identity at school?

If you want to join a school team or a team outside your school, talk to your teachers/coaches and they can advise you on whether it is possible for you to compete with people who share your preferred gender identity.

This will be decided on a case by case basis and the outcome should ensure that you are safe and comfortable, even if this means not competing with members of your preferred gender identity.

Your school should not rely on assumptions or stereotypes but instead adopt a “common sense approach” that considers the age and stage of physical development of the pupils, as well as the level of physical contact involved (if any).

Can I choose which uniform to wear at school?

There is no legislation governing the wearing of a school uniform in Northern Ireland, so it falls to schools to determine this. Education Authority guidelines state that “schools can either have a gender-neutral uniform policy or a sex-specific uniform policy.” In either case, it is recommended that schools adopt a flexible approach to meet the needs of a pupil who is transgender.

However, no matter which uniform you choose to wear, you are expected to follow the uniform policy in the same way as other pupils, so you must follow the rules of your uniform of choice, such as no jewellery or makeup, etc.

If you attend a Further Education College, you are allowed to wear clothes that make you feel the most comfortable as there is no set uniform. Be sure to comply with any college-specific guidelines.