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A teaching union has called for more to be done to support LGBT teachers and pupils in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Teachers’ Union also says that schools should consider introducing gender-neutral toilets, and for the Education Authority (EA) to set up committees to help schools address LGBT issues.

Approximately one per cent of children in schools in Britain and Northern Ireland are transgender.

“Recently one of our members in an inspection was asked by the inspectorate what provision they had made for transgender pupils,” said UTU secretary Avril Hall-Callaghan.

“Those are questions that are being asked and we do need answers to them.

“All of us had better sit down and work out what those answers are.”

Jacquie Reid, UTU deputy general secretary, added: “Many schools in America and mainland Europe already have gender neutral toilets and recent publicity around the Eddie Redmayne film The Danish Girl has brought the issue of transgender into the public domain.

“When it comes to sexuality issues, transgender is arguably the most controversial because it is an area which many people understand the least due to a lack of education.”

Ms Reid suggested that the inspectorate should instead outline its expectations and provide training and support for teachers.

Some parents say their children do not want to use facilities split with the opposite sex, however, as it makes them feel uncomfortable.

UTU members planned to discuss numerous equality issues today.


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