Equality Act (2010)
The Equality Act (2010) legally protects people from direct and indirect discrimination. Local government, local authority schools, the police, the NHS, etc. have to abide by the Equality Act (2010). This act is a “blanket” equalities legislation and listed within it are nine “Protected Characteristics”, characteristics that a person might have, but it is illegal to discriminate against any person on account of them. The nine protected characteristics are:
- gender reassignment,
- marriage and civil partnership,
- pregnancy and maternity,
- religion or belief,
- sexual orientation.
Although this law uses the phrase “gender reassignment” when talking about trans people, both the governmental guidance and a number of court cases have enshrined it to cover all trans people, no matter what stage of a transition they may be at.
So, if a young trans person feels they are being discriminated against, for example, if they are being transphobically bullied at school and the school does nothing to put an end to the bullying and protect the young person, then they are not adhering to the law.
Public Sector Equality Duty (2011)
The Public Sector Equality Duty came into force in 2011. In a nutshell, it states that all local authority maintained schools and other public sector organisations are required to go beyond dealing with discrimination as and when it arises, by actively working to eliminate discrimination, fostering good relations between people with the different protected characteristics and actively promoting equality of opportunity.
Most organisations will have some kind of Equality Policy and schools may also have an Anti-Bullying Policy. These policies may or may not explicitly mention trans people, but they often refer to the Equality Act (2010) and the protected characteristics. You can often access these policies on an organisation’s website or you can request to view these policies.
In all circumstances, young trans people have the right to be respected, including having their correct name and pronouns used. If you feel your young person’s identity is not being respected, and they are directly or indirectly being discriminated against, do not be afraid of raising your concerns that the organisations or schools involved are not complying with the law. Please get in contact if you would like help with raising these concerns.
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