World

Brisbane mum of transgender girl slams school for discrimination

August 18, 2022 5:05 pm

Harley Jensen 's mum said the school assured her that her daughter's gender would not affect her enrolment.[Source: NZ Herald]

The mum of a transgender girl who had her application rejected by an all-girls school has launched a discrimination battle against the institution.

Emma Jensen, the mother of 12-year-old Harley Jensen, said she was assured by the staff at Brisbane’s Carinity Education Southside that her daughter’s biological sex would not be an issue during her enrolment.

“I said, ‘she’s a female. She identifies as a female and is on hormone blockers so she can transition. I don’t see the problem’,” she told 7News.

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“I wanted to make sure, I didn’t want to set it up to get hurt.”

At the time she was also seeking enrolment for her 13-year-old daughter Rylee. While Rylee’s application was accepted, Harley’s wasn’t.

Jensen claims that the day after her meeting, she received a call from the school informing her that they “were not taking Harley because she’s a male”. The family’s long-time social worker, Erin Oostenbroek backed up these claims.

Speaking to 7News, Harley said her mum has been aware that she identified as transgender since she was in kindergarten.

The family has now complained to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and is awaiting a hearing. In May, Jensen also launched a complaint to the Queensland Human Rights Commission, however, conciliation attempts with the school were unsuccessful.

“She has the right to be who she wants to be and no one has the right to judge her for that and question that,” said Jensen.

In response, Carinity Education Southside claimed Harley’s biological sex did not affect her application.

Instead, they claimed Harley’s application was rejected because she didn’t meet the enrolment requirement for their special assistance school.

In a statement to 7News, they said they were “supportive of transgender students” and had “a number” of students who identified as transgender.

According to the independent Christian school’s website, Carinity Education Southside provides an “alternative schooling option for students who are seeking a community environment”.

The special assistance school states they aim to support students who are “disengaged from mainstream schooling” and also work with youth workers and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention staff to support their students.