One of the oldest and most exclusive all-boys colleges in the country will allow a male student who has transitioned to a girl to stay in school.
A male student who has made the switch to a girl will stay at the prestigious Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, a first for one of the oldest and most exclusive all-boys schools in the country.
In a sensitive and complicated case, the South Australian institution – which is not co-educational and does not enroll female students – decided that the year 12 student, known only as Alice, could become her first transgender student as she finished her final year of studies, according to a report by The Australian.
The newspaper reports that the decision to stand by Alice was largely driven by students.
In a letter to families at the $28,200-a-year school of 1,100 students sent on Tuesday, principal Bradley Fenner explained the background to Alice’s story and why the school chose to break with 152 years of tradition. letting her become his first transgender student.
“This morning a student, who has been at Prince Alfred College since the Early Learning Centre, told her peers that she is transgender, identifies as female and will henceforth be known as Alice,” wrote Mr. Fenner, as reported by The Australian.
Broadcast your news live and on-demand with Flash for $8/month and no lock-in contracts. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends October 31, 2022 >
“The response from the Year 12 cohort was, as we would have hoped and expected, both respectful and encouraging.
“Alice has struggled with gender dysphoria for some time and has been well supported in her journey by a range of professionals both inside and outside the College.
“We know of some former PAC transgender scholars, but Alice is the first student to transition into the College. It was Alice’s desire and preference to stay at Prince Alfred College and we fully support her in this.
The school – which has 1,100 students – was never open to boys only, only opening to a small number of girls during World War II.
Mr Fenner added in his letter that ‘uniform and presentation issues’ were being worked out so that Alice ‘would be able to express her transition in this way’.
Alice’s acceptance, the principal noted, was in line with PAC’s mission statement which values inclusion and the celebration of diversity.
“I think it’s a compliment to the College, to our staff and to our students that Alice wants to complete her education here,” he said.
“While there will no doubt be challenges along the way, Alice has felt very well supported by those close to her and the key staff involved.
“Our strategic plan commits us to “promote a culture of inclusion where diversity in all its forms is valued and celebrated”. Supporting Alice is a tangible demonstration of this commitment.
Founded in 1869, when the colony of South Australia was just 36 years old, PAC alumni include politicians such as former senators Cory Bernardi and Nick Xenophon, Holden founder Edward Holden, winemaker of Arenberg Chester Osborn and cricketers Ian, Greg and Trevor Chappell. , among others.
PAC’s decision comes less than a year after one of Melbourne’s oldest all-boys Catholic schools, Xavier College, also backed the decision of one of its students to transition to a girl and continue his studies.
Xavier’s headmaster William Doherty wrote to parents last April saying that while the issue of gender fluidity sparks a range of different opinions, the school aims to respect “the dignity of each unique person”.
“After a long period of personal discernment, guidance and expert advice, we note that a Grade 12 student today announced to the Xavier Community her identity as a woman,” the letter reads.
“We welcome the opportunity to accompany him through this emotional and difficult time in his life, throughout his time at the College and in his life beyond at Xavier.”
The power of religious schools to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or pregnancy was removed from the federal government’s controversial religious freedom bill in February – although that it may not be submitted to the Senate before the elections.