Having been essentially barred from returning to lessons in my government MOE school, I have become a target of the MOE.
To give a bit of background, I am transgender male-to-female, using she/her pronouns. I used to attend an all-boys’ primary school and it was the worst period of my life – I couldn’t fit in and constantly got bullied because I was ‘too soft’ and ‘needed to man up to the bullies’. Despite being there, I always wanted to dress like girls, have a typical female hairstyle etc.
Things took a turn ever since I entered a co-ed secondary school; I started making more friends and understanding my identity. I was then taken to the gender clinic at the IMH.
However, since getting a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria from the IMH, my schooling life in the MOE system has gone from great to utter trash, pretty much forcing me to transfer from my current school to a polytechnic course which is not really ideal and not exactly in line with what ambitions I had in mind. (Gender dysphoria is listed as a disorder under Gender identity disorders in the ICD-10 by the WHO)
Here’s a timeline: ever since getting the diagnosis, I informed the MOE of it through my JC, and the reply from the MOE according to my school’s administration was simply that ‘This is a new issue and we would like to work with you to learn more about it.’
All was well for several months, though rules were vague given that I had a proper diagnosis from a qualified doctor. My classmates and subject tutors are highly supportive.
Then, as I was about to undergo hormone therapy (a treatment explicitly stated in the ICD-10, again, and recommended by the multiple doctors attending to trans patients in Singapore) the request was suddenly blocked as the MOE had intervened, apparently for the reason ‘students in MOE schools are under our control, and we have every right and say over their treatment’.
This meant that my doctor had to call off the referral, causing me further mental trauma as this affected my ability to pass and present as a female.
Alongside this, I was informed that I had to cut my hair to fit the boys’ hairstyle in the handbook, and that I was specifically to wear the male uniform; that could probably have slipped under the radar but it seems unlikely as all these troubles started in the same month.
In addition, if I became unable to fit in the boys’ uniform if I somehow got hormone therapy, I would be expelled from school, instead of being allowed to wear the female uniform. The principal’s explanation for this was that ‘due to your presentation, you would be disruptive to the school environment as a student with severe autism’.
What right does the MOE have over the MOH? Why is the MOE interfering with my medical care, and the irony of MOE advocating for mental health issues. I cannot speak for others, but in my experience, these are outright lies and just a farce to gain support from the younger generations of students.