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Backing for head in transsexual row

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  • Claire Ashton
    Source Claire Ashton http://www.thisisbrighton.co.uk/brighton__hove/archive/2001/11/13/NEWS490ZM. html First published on Tuesday 13 November 2001: Backing for
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2002
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      Source Claire Ashton

      http://www.thisisbrighton.co.uk/brighton__hove/archive/2001/11/13/NEWS490ZM.
      html

      First published on Tuesday 13 November 2001:
      Backing for head in transsexual row
      by Carrie Buckle

      The school head involved in a row about a transsexual supply teacher has won
      the backing of his union.

      The National Association of Head Teachers has called for better guidelines
      on the employment of transsexuals in schools after Natasha Thoday was asked
      to leave Telscombe Cliffs Primary School by head teacher Andrew Kearsey
      because of her gender change.

      An NAHT South-East spokeswoman said: "Mr Kearsey demonstrated he was in no
      way prejudiced against Ms Thoday when he welcomed her to the school in the
      knowledge she was transsexual."

      The spokeswoman said the supply agency involved had told the school Ms
      Thoday was a transsexual prior to her appointment.

      She said: "We are appalled no guidance has yet been issued by the Local
      Education Authority on the subject of gender reassignment and how this
      impacts on equality laws.

      "It is not enough to simply send out a reminder to schools about equal
      opportunities."

      Mr Kearsey has been unable to comment on the settlement reached with Ms
      Thoday following advice from East Sussex County Council.

      A council spokeswoman said: "We have supported the head teacher and
      governors throughout this dispute and in the matter of compensation for the
      breach of regulations that took place.

      "The wider issues of employment regulations and gender reassignment are
      relatively new for all employers and we will take account of experience in
      this case in producing further guidance for schools."

      Ms Thoday, 35, began tribunal proceedings against the county council under
      the Sex Discrimination Act but accepted an out-of-court settlement of £3,780
      in September.

      Last week, she took her fight to be fully recognised as a woman to Rosie
      Winterton, the minister with new responsibility for transsexuals.

      Ms Thoday said: "The meeting went really well and Ms Winterton took
      everything I said on board.

      "She said it would take a long time, as it would be a matter of liaising
      with different governmental departments before anything became concrete. But
      I felt the wheels were starting to turn."

      Brighton transsexual Persia West, Brighton Pavilion MP David Lepper and
      three civil servants were also at the half-hour meeting, in which the
      implications of a change in the law were discussed.

      Ms Thoday said: "My next step will be to write to thank Ms Winterton for
      meeting us and start asking more specific questions.

      "Transsexuals have a right to life like anyone else. We should not have to
      live in fear."
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