A school in Singapore is threatening a trans girl with expulsion unless she cuts her hair and wears a boy’s uniform. The 18-year-old-student identified as Ashlee made the shocking claims in a post to Reddit, where she also revealed her school, the Millenia Institute, informed her doctor he needed to consult with the Ministry of Education and follow their instructions regarding her treatment even though she already has the full consent of her parents. While the school later denied the charges, a group of LGBTQ+ groups in Singapore signed a letter supporting Ashlee and providing chilling details of her ordeal.
“Having been essentially barred from returning to lessons in my government [Ministry of Education] school, I have become a target of the MOE,” Ashlee wrote.
She went on to describe how life as a student at an all-boys school was the worst period of her life, where she “couldn’t fit in and constantly got bullied” because she was deemed “too soft” and “needed to man up to the bullies.” Only after graduating to a co-education secondary school and receiving treatment for her newly diagnosed gender dysphoria did things improve. According to Ashlee, though, things went “from great to utter trash” once the school and government inserted themselves into her treatment and private life.
Just as she was about to begin hormone therapy on the recommendation of her doctor, the MOE intervened “apparently for the reason ‘students in MOE schools are under our control, and we have every right and say over their treatment’” she wrote. The school also demanded she abide by the dress and hair codes for boys, not girls, and threatened expulsion if she was unable to fit into a boys uniform as a result of any treatment she received.
Ashlee’s revelation spurred 60 LGBTQ+ groups in Singapore to sign a letter of support, and calling out the school and government for their demands.
“We affirm that medical advice, in particular medical advice on hormone dosage levels, should be left to healthcare professionals,” the letter reads. “Schools should not interfere with a student’s healthcare decisions and necessary medical treatments. In addition, schools should not punish - let alone threaten to expel - students for failing to adhere to gender stereotypes and binary gender roles, or invade their privacy by sharing their transgender identity without their consent.”
The Ministry of Education denied Ashlee’s claims it had “interfered with a student’s hormonal treatment” in a post to Facebook, but left unanswered her other charges. Multiple users noted the ministry’s use of improper pronouns in referring to Ashlee’s situation.
“HER* stop misgendering the poor girl and use the proper pronouns,” one user admonished.