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Is it ok for DS1 aged 17 to share a twin hotel room with a F2M trans student?

(52 Posts)
ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 17:49:46

DS1 has a friend that he has known since they both joined their mixed sex secondary school in yr7. In years 7-10 his friend attended school in the girls' uniform and was known by their birth (female) name. In year 11 they started to be known by most of the students by a male name of their choice and the school turned a blind eye to some uniform transgressions as they sat their GCSEs. The friend now attends sixth form in the boys' uniform and is known by staff and students by his chosen male name. He wears binders under his clothes, as he has undergone female puberty.

A residential trip is coming up connected with an extra-curricular activity and DS has been allocated a twin hotel room with this friend. The school have asked my views and those of DS. DS sees it as a complete non-issue and says he would feel comfortable sharing with his friend. He has shared rooms on similar trips with people that he hardly knew, and feels that this would be more comfortable for him than that was. He didn't specifically ask to share with this friend, this is just the proposed allocation made by the school.

I intend to follow his lead, and to make no objection to the rooming arrangements. But I do wonder - is the school doing the right thing in allowing this? Should the friend be given his own room? I understand that he shouldn't be asked to share with a girl. But should he be allocated a room with just one male student (DS)? And should DS be asked to share with him? DS obviously would never be allowed to share a room with one of the girls that are going on the trip.

DS is a sensible, intelligent and thoughtful young man who is very supportive of this friend, though they are not best friends or anything like that, just part of the same social group.

I would really value opinions from people who know more than I do, as google has not been tremendously helpful but brings up policies that seem to be suggesting a single room for the friend.

VashtaNerada Sat 05-Mar-16 17:56:33

Hmm, tricky one! Depends why schools normally separate boys and girls I suppose - if it's worries about sex, well, same-sex pairs could still have sex if they really wanted to! If it's fears about pregnancy then his friend could still technically get pregnant.
Is there anything to suggest a relationship between them or are you sure they're just friends? If that's the case and they're both fine with it, I think it's okay.

RudeElf Sat 05-Mar-16 17:59:08

They are 17 and

"DS sees it as a complete non-issue and says he would feel comfortable sharing with his friend."

So yes, its ok.

ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 18:02:01

Thank you for replying. There is nothing at all to suggest any relationship between them other than friendship.

SealSong Sat 05-Mar-16 18:05:09

If they're both fine with it then surely there's no issue.

ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 18:10:28

But should there be some sort of policy about it? Is it enough just to ask boys if they are ok with it?

MrsKCastle Sat 05-Mar-16 18:14:39

I'm surprised the school are encouraging this, to be honest. Of course there's no issue with the friends sharing a room if they were traveling under their own arrangements, but I would Have thought from the school's POV it would be better to get your DS's friend a single room.

PreAdvent13610 Sat 05-Mar-16 18:15:47

They probably don't want your DSs friend to be on their own, so have chosen your DS as best \ most suitable friend. However they are checking you are OK with this. The kids may have even requested this room arrangement.

Bambambini Sat 05-Mar-16 18:16:07

I'm surprised, i would have thought that the school would recommend a single room for his friend. As long as your son realises there are boobs and a vagina invilved here - though i'd imagine they will both dress in the bathroom for some privacy.

I would rather that my son share with another boy tbh.

ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 18:19:14

DS knows about the binders and understands the biology!

He definitely didn't request that they share. I suppose it's possible that his friend did.

ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 18:23:37

In fact, thinking about it, if his friend had been asked "who would you be comfortable sharing with?", he may well have suggested DS. There are other boys on the trip that DS would be comfortable sharing with and has shared with before. If he had been been asked to choose (which generally they aren't and he wouldn't expect to be asked), I think he would probably have chosen another boy that I know is going and that he is close friends with.

Bambambini Sat 05-Mar-16 19:08:35

I think the school are out of order just expecting your son to accept this. They don't seem to have given much consideration on his feelings about it. It's tricky.

Pontytidy Sat 05-Mar-16 19:25:13

I would think that the school should not even suggest a pupil shares a room in this instance. Asking a pupil puts them in an awkward position and therefore this is my opinion not appropriate. The friend should be given a single room.

ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 19:33:46

There must be guidelines about this somewhere? I can't find any though.

DancingDinosaur Sat 05-Mar-16 19:39:05

If your son feels comfortable with it and his friend is happy to share, then its a non issue.

StealthPolarBear Sat 05-Mar-16 19:39:24

This is becoming more and more of an issue and k don't know why.
and nothing is simple or straightforward as this thread suggests.
how do his potential room mates parents feel about it - do you know them?

TwistedReach Sat 05-Mar-16 19:41:25

What are you worried about?

Imnotaslimjim Sat 05-Mar-16 19:43:18

Personally, I would take your son's lead on this. If he sees it as a "non-issue" then go with that.

I think the reason you can't find guidelines is because while transgenderism isn't a new thing by a long shot, there does seem to have been a massive increase the last couple of years so guidelines weren't needed before then.

Waitingfordolly Sat 05-Mar-16 19:46:42

I think this poses the question why have single sex room sharing in the first place, and does this apply here? Is there any reason why boys or girls shouldn't share with each other as long as both are happy? If the school says not, then what is different in this case?

Waypasttethersend Sat 05-Mar-16 19:47:27

No I'd want him in a single room. Just because his friend is F to M how do you know his sexual preference? Still biologically female plus surely the binding etc needs some privacy.

School may respect their choice to live as a male but think they are sweeping a whole lot of practical facts under the carpet here.

StealthPolarBear Sat 05-Mar-16 19:49:41

" transgenderism isn't a new thing by a long shot, there does seem to have been a massive increase the last couple of years"
I agree but why? Is it an acceptance thing? Surely not so quickly

ProfGrammaticus Sat 05-Mar-16 20:10:07

I'm not sure what I'm worried about.

I understand that many people who present as the gender other than their birth gender in young adulthood ultimately don't transition, and live as their birth gender for the remainder of their life. I wouldn't be happy with him being asked to share with a girl. And that would never happen on a school trip.

I suppose as an abstract thing, there is a risk of false allegations of impropriety being made, especially in a room for two, though it doesn't seem very likely here. But I don't know his friend well, and he obviously has issues to deal with that I don't know about. I'm uncomfortable that there aren't any rules, I suppose, and I don't want DS to be put in a difficult position.

I know who the other mum is, but I don't know her and I don't have her contact details.

Waypasttethersend Sat 05-Mar-16 20:14:06

Oh fuck being PC loads of the lads I went to school with were bi / undecided / gay and ultimately weren't. This appears to be the new trend (flame away) yes there is a chance of impropriety, perhaps DS friend will ultimately transition but purely for privacy reasons shouldn't be sharing with EITHER sex when dealing with bindings etc.

TheChimpParadox Sat 05-Mar-16 20:19:10

Difficult one for the school.

The boy has a right to be recognised as a boy and therefore treated as such. If the school state he must have a single room whilst other boys are paired up then surely the school could be liable for Discrimination ? Just a thought.

Waitingfordolly Sat 05-Mar-16 20:26:13

But it's much easier to be straight Waypast and lots of people who are bi end up living as either straight or lesbian / gay because it's too difficult to shift between both worlds (studies have shown that bisexual people have worse mental health than those who identify solely as lesbian or gay). It doesn't mean that they didn't have those feelings in the first place.

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