The recent media spotlight on gender identity showed that with communication and support, the subject can be handled positively and constructively in schools. St Paul’s Girls’ School made positive headlines recently with their proactive and supportive handling of pupils who wished to consider the question of changing their gender identity.
At the heart of the matter, was Employment partner Patrick Howarth, who advised and supported the school with their stance on the subject. He commented, “gender identity is increasingly being openly discussed in schools and businesses. It needs sensitive handling to ensure everyone is comfortable with the new normal and to avoid decisions being made that are unwittingly discriminatory. Schools and workplaces are communities which have a range of stakeholders, and everyone’s input is crucial for success.
Clarissa Farr, High Mistress of St Paul’s Girls School commented that the school: “Takes a neutral stance, neither encouraging nor discouraging a student’s decision to identify either as a boy or gender-neutral. We consulted the pupils to find out what the issues were. Their main preoccupation has been to look after people who don’t want to identify as one gender or another. Patrick’s assistance was invaluable to help us all with a situation which required careful thought, but above all to ensure we were approaching the issue in the right way legally.”
Patrick is a Partner within the leading law firm’s Employment team. He is one of a few lawyers who has practical expertise in this new field, covering both areas of diversity and discrimination. The area requires a combination of both legal skills and emotional sensitivity.