Non binary student surprised by school’s supportive stance

A 15-year-old Kavanagh College pupil who identifies as neither male nor female has been a “little surprised” at just how supportive the Dunedin Catholic school has been.

During the last term of last year Arryn, who identifies as non-binary and asks to be referred to using the pronouns they, their and them instead of he or she, changed uniform and stopped being called Erin.

All this happened with the school’s support and Arryn, whose parents asked their last name not be used, was “a little surprised” at just how willing the school was to let them wear boys’ pants and the girls’ uniform’s top half.

Arryn’s mother, Keely, said the school had been “absolutely brilliant” and concerns Arryn would be bullied after changing uniform were not realised.

Her advice to other parents with children who did not identify as either he or she was to “listen to what your child wants” and contact support groups if things were a struggle.

Mr Steve Read, the school’s deputy principal said Kavanagh College’s decision to be accepting fitted with its core values of service, respect, justice and truth.

“I guess justice and respect are the two that sit around this issue.

People don’t choose this path. They are born into it and feel like they are in the wrong gender and we need to respect that difference.”

Read accepted there would be some in the Catholic community who were against the school’s stance.

“Whereas we would say we are all made in God’s image … and therefore we should be being supportive and respectful.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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