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The Role of School Counsellors and Psychologists in Supporting Transgender People

  • Damien W. Riggs (a1) and Clare Bartholomaeus (a1)

As growing numbers of transgender people — including students, parents, and educators — become visible within schools, so comes with this the requirement that schools ensure their full inclusion. This article suggests that school counsellors and psychologists have an important role to play in supporting transgender people within schools. As an initial scoping of this suggestion, the article reports on findings from two Australian surveys: one focused on cisgender parents of transgender children, and one focused on cisgender school counsellors and psychologists in regard to their capacity for working with transgender people. The findings suggest that while the parent sample had largely negative experiences with school counsellors, the professional sample reported a high level of confidence in working with transgender people, although differences in gender and religiosity impacted upon school counsellors’ and psychologists’ acceptance of transgender people, and clinical knowledge for working with transgender people. The article concludes by advocating for ongoing training for school counsellors and psychologists in regard to working with transgender people, in addition to outlining the role that school counsellors and psychologists can play in facilitating a whole of school approach to transgender issues.

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Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Damien W. Riggs, School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia. Email:
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