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Western Cape Releases First LGBTQ+ Guidelines For Schools

The Western Cape Education Department has released a draft of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation guidelines. These guidelines are the first of their kind to be introduced to the South African school system. 

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The guidelines aim to make schools a safe and inclusive environment for all learners. The Democratic Alliance has shown support for the release of the draft, as it hopes the guidelines will fill the gap left by the National Department of Education. 

Some of the guidelines in the draft include the following points:  

  • Learners who reveal their sexual orientation must be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality
  • Counselling and assistance by social workers or psychologists should be offered to learners
  • Learners can choose the first name that they want to be addressed by, regardless of their gender or assigned sex at birth
  • Schools must accommodate the dress code preferences of LGBTQ+ learners
  • Learners must be allowed to participate in any sport 
  • Schools must have unisex bathroom facilities
  • LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming learners may not be excluded during school excursions
  • Learners should be able to bring a partner of their choice to school functions and matric dances, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Schools should create a safe space for LGBTQ+ learners
  • The curriculum should educate learners about issues of sex, gender, gender identity, homophobia and transphobia.

Lorraine Botha of the DA commented on the release of the guidelines. 

“The provincial department’s gender identity and sexual orientation guidelines are a landmark towards achieving proper understanding and respect for LGBTQ+ rights at our schools in the province."

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