Ethan’s Story

Being accepted at Clonturk

Ethan is student at Clonturk Community College

Hi, my name is Ethan. I am 12 years old and I am in first year at Clonturk Community College. I am just like any other boy, I enjoy football, hanging out with my friends and I really enjoy music, but there’s one more thing you should know about me. I am FTM transgender, which means that I was born biologically female but I now identify as male.

Going from primary school to secondary school was a very nerve-wracking time for me. I had been enrolled into a school that didn’t match up with who I felt I was on the inside. My parents tried their hardest to find a suitable school. We went to open nights, enrolled in quite a few with no result, until we heard about  Clonturk. It seemed like the perfect school for me because it was mixed, there was no uniform and with a good emphasis on the academics.  Move on to April of this year, I got a letter saying that I had gotten a place in the school. I was so overcome with emotions knowing that from that August I would be able to start a new school as the real me.

On the first day of school I went into the classroom that had been assigned for my clann group, I immediately sat down at a table with 4 other boys thinking that I had to show myself off as more masculine just to fit in. After a few minutes I moved to the table with the rest of the people in my clann, boys and girls, and that’s where I made new friends.

Being accepted in school was one of the greatest feelings. Knowing that everyone respected my identity and was accepting of me as male.

Like me, there are many transgender children starting secondary school, and for some it can be a whirlpool of name calling, bullying and teasing but with more LGBT+ education, which we have been doing in CSPE for a week or two, this can help teach kids that being different isn’t bad.

I was so happy when I started getting to know everyone in the school and I was never singled out for being transgender or being ‘the trans kid’. Everyone saw me as a boy and they saw past me being trans.

Having accepting teachers and staff can also have a huge impact in school. I know that the staff in my school are a few of the most supportive people I know. This allows me to attend school and have a normal education without feeling like an outcast.

Choosing to go to an Educate Together school, like Clonturk, was such a good decision due to their open mindedness towards everyone, no matter what.

As I have been elected onto our student council, I now have a stronger voice to speak out about issues concerning the student body. This is an issue very close to my heart and I would like to lay the foundations for an open minded school where any student can be free to be themselves, and you can do the same. You have a powerful role in creating your school environment. I would urge you to keep in mind students who may not have as strong a voice. Some of the things you can do to make your school a safe place could be: Pushing education and awareness campaigns like Stand Up week. You could arrange speakers or training from BeLonGTo or TENI for the student body and staff.  Create safe places for students to meet, for instance, we have a GSA group where we meet every Thursday to talk about problems people may have. I use my role to communicate any of these issues to teachers or management as they come up. I’m sure you’re all doing great things in your schools. I just wanted to share my experience with you in case it gives you any ideas.

Real stories from the Educate Together community

Educate Together’s schools mean so much to the lives of the children and young people who attend them, and to the communities that they are a part of. You can read, watch and listen to real stories from the students, staff and families involved in the Educate Together school movement on this page and at the links above. Do you have an experience from an Educate Together school which you would like to share? Share your story: