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Discrimination based on sex, gender or sexual orientation

Education

Schools, universities and polytechnics can’t discriminate against you

Schools and other educational establishments can’t use your sex, gender or sexual orientation as a reason to:

  • refuse to enrol you
  • enrol you with worse terms or conditions
  • restrict your access to services they provide
  • exclude or expel you or do anything else negative.

If there’s a gendered uniform, you are allowed to choose which one to wear. See “Problems at School” and Rainbow Rights in ‘Other Resources’.

Exceptions: When schools and other educational institutions can legally discriminate against you

Human Rights Act 1993, ss 58–60

There are some exceptions where discrimination is legally allowed – here are some of the more common ones:

  • Single-sex schools and educational institutions are allowed. However, single-sex schools can allow transgender students whose gender aligns with the single-sex school if the school wishes to (for instance, a transgender woman could attend an all-girls school) – the Ministry of Education says that this decision is up to the individual school and suggests that the school consult with their community about it.
  • Education providers can restrict who they provide highly personal courses or counselling to, on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation.
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