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Top British school makes historic change to uniform policy

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

Brighton College breaks 170-year tradition to meet its transgender pupils' needs

From SheKnows UK

A British school has made history by changing its uniform policy to meet the needs of transgender pupils — both girls and boys.

More: "Man up" and other gendered terms are no longer allowed in English schools

Trans students at Brighton College will have the option of wearing a skirt and blouse or trousers and a shirt to school, reported The Metro. The top public school — one of the wealthiest in the U.K. — vowed to recognise that some children have gender dysphoria, meaning a person's emotional identity as male or female is opposite to their biological sex.

In making the change Brighton College has broken with hundreds of years of tradition and is setting a standard for all schools to follow.

Brighton College breaks 170-year tradition to meet its transgender pupils' needs
Image: Paul/Flickr

More: Boarding schools urged to adopt "gender neutral" uniform policies

Last week headteacher Richard Cairns told students that uniform codes going back 170 years would be replaced by a "trouser uniform" and a "skirt uniform" for all pupils up to the age of 16.

The BBC reported that the change came following requests from a "small number of families."

"If some boys and girls are happier identifying with a different gender from that in which they were born, then my job is to make sure that we accommodate that," said Cairns. "My only interest as headmaster is their welfare and happiness."

"I hate the idea of anyone being in my school who is miserable because they're being asked to dress in a way they are uncomfortable with," the head continued. "Brighton College has instead decided to abolish the notion of boys' and girls' uniforms altogether."

As expected of a public school, the uniform policy remains strict. The two options are a full Tweed blazer, tie and trousers, or a skirt, bolero jacket and open-neck Revere blouse. But transgender pupils will be able to choose either option, provided their parents write to the school beforehand.

Apparently girls are already walking around the school campus in trousers and more than one boy has expressed the desire to wear a skirt.

Bravo, Brighton College. Headteachers across the U.K. — be it in independent schools or not — should be talking a leaf out of Richard Cairns' book, by teaching young people in their formative years what it is to be inclusive and open-minded and encouraging them to be who they really are.

More: Kids should learn about transgender issues — it's just a matter of timing

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