Boarding schools in UK to address transgender kids as 'zie'

Boarding schools in UK to address transgender kids as 'zie'

Boarding schools in UK to address transgender kids as 'zie'

Britain's boarding school teachers have been ordered to address transgender children as 'zie' rather than 'he' or 'she' to avoid offending them.

The official guidance issued by the UK Boarding Schools Association calls on teachers to address transgender pupils as "zie" to avoid offence, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Staff have been told they need to learn a "new language" for a growing number of pupils who demand not to be addressed as 'he' or 'she'.

Zie is considered a gender-neutral pronoun which has been gaining ground in its usage across Europe and British teachers are being advised to address children by their "pronoun of choice", including they or 'zie'.

Elly Barnes, founder of charity Educate and Celebrate and author of the new guidelines, said that as more trans pupils "come out" in boarding schools, it becomes an imperative to "break the binary".

"Schools need to make sure that all students are treated equally and fairly according to the Equality Act," she told the newspaper.

"We need to educate adults to speak a common language because we grew up in a generation with no prior experience about the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities)," she said.

New guidance also reminds schools in England, Wales and Scotland of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 under which gender identity and "reassignment" is one of so-called protected characteristics. 

The Act reads: "A child has protected characteristics of gender reassignment as soon as they make their intention known to someone whether that is at school, at home or elsewhere".

According to latest figures, roughly 10 per cent of the population in the UK identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

"Therefore it's important to 'make reasonable adjustments'… It's a new language that's absolutely needed in schools.

We have, of course, restrictions within the English language but the more we use these pronouns the more they become part of the language.

If you're new to the 'trans' community, this is very new language," Barnes added.
Many schools in the UK have already introduced gender-neutral uniforms, including Brighton College in the private sector and roughly 80 state schools.

Single-sex private schools have also been told to remove the use of terms like "girls", "young women" or "young ladies" and replace it with more neutral terms like "pupils" or "students".

Now leading boarding schools, including the famous Eton boarding school, are also being told they should display an "equality pledge" for all visitors to read and sign at reception.