‘Please let me be a girl’ - Transgender teen and mum hit out in school dress row

Ashlyn Parram, 16. Photo: Matthew Power/Swns.com
Ashlyn Parram, 16. Photo: Matthew Power/Swns.com

A TRANSGENDER pupil from a Boston school was allegedly denied the chance to sit an exam because of the way she was dressed – until she presented the head with a copy of the Equality Act.

Ashlyn Parram, who suffers from gender dysphoria, claims she was sent home by exam invigilators at Giles Academy in Old Leake when she arrived for the test wearing a girls’ uniform.

So the 16-year-old says she printed out a copy of the law – which makes it an offence to discriminate against transgender people – and took it straight to headteacher Chris Walls.

She then says she sat the exam, but was separated from other pupils.

The school rejects the allegations, which attracted the national spotlight after being reported by The Sun and Daily Mail.

Ashlyn’s mum Miranda Johnson said: “The way Ashlyn has been treated by the school is just appalling. She’s just a child. If she had been black, or disabled, there would have been uproar.

“Giles is not a bad school, but this is about a few bigoted people who need to start operating in this century.”

Ashlyn, who was born Lewis, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria a number of years ago. She has lived as a girl at home for two years, but has toned down her appearance at school and was still known by her male name.

However, on her last day at Giles she decided to take the plunge and wear girls’ uniform.

She claims she was banned from leaving the classroom at break time because of her outfit. Despite that, however, she continued to wear the uniform to her first exam. Staff had been told about this, Miranda said, but she was still sent away.

She added: “It was a bold and brave move in wanting to show who she really was.

“She’s just a normal teenager, she just happens to have been born into the wrong body. We are making the best of it, but it’s a difficult way to lead your life.

“It’s all about education.”

It was not the first time that Ashlyn and her family had clashed with staff at the school over her condition, as there had previously been issues with where she would change for swimming lessons and what she would wear in the pool.

Giles’ chair of governors Frank Pickett said the school rejected allegations made by Ashlyn and her family.

He added: “Our key concerns are to ensure our duty of care to all our students and to further ensure that they reach their full potential academically and become well-rounded members of society.”

He told The Standard the school had never before had a pupil who suffered from gender dysphoria before, and he felt it would now be prepared for future students who suffered from the condition.

Ashlyn is on the waiting list to start receiving hormone blockers to stop male characteristics developing.

She cannot have full sex change surgery until she is 18, but says she wants time to be certain before she has the operation.

Ashlyn said: “It is still incredibly difficult to be a young person and admit you are gay or transgender.”

Miranda said: “I’m incredibly proud that Ashlyn has found the strength to be who she really is at such a young age.

“Ashlyn is our daughter. There was never any question of us supporting her.”