Handling enrolments in single-sex schools

Schools cannot impose conditions on enrolment or refuse a student’s enrolment on the basis of their gender identity.

Single-sex schools may rely on an exemption under the Anti Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) to refuse to enrol students not of the prescribed sex. This means that a student who has a gender identity that aligns with the gender of the school is entitled to enrol in that school. For example, a single-sex school for boys cannot refuse to accept the enrolment of a female-to-male trans student. However, a school may choose not to rely on an exemption under legislation if it finds it can accommodate student diversity without discriminating. Many private schools, including faith-based schools, are leading the way in accepting and affirming trans and gender diverse students. For example, a girls’ school encouraged a trans male student to remain in the all girls’ school, where he already had strong support of his peers, after transitioning.

The single-sex exemption to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 only applies at the time of an initial enrolment. To ask a student to leave a single-sex school on the grounds they have transitioned gender may amount to direct and indirect discrimination. Many students who transition while in single-sex schools choose to stay in that school with friends and established support, even if it means they are the only girl in a boys’ school or vice versa. These students have a right to stay, and their needs must be accommodated.

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