Speaking in Parliament on gender dysphoria, Education Minister Lawrence Wong reiterated that all medical treatment decisions, including the use of hormone replacement therapy, ultimately rest with medical professionals, the person with gender dysphoria and their family.
“Such medical decisions are beyond the purview of MOE or any educational institution,” Mr Wong said. The Education Ministry’s focus is “on the school environment and the students involved”.
Where anyone below 21 is concerned, parental consent is also required before any hormonal treatment can commence, he added.
He was responding to a parliamentary question from WP MP He TingRu. Ms He had asked about the MOE’s policies and guidelines on students with gender dysphoria, and the level of autonomy that schools have in setting policies on these issues.
Don’t import culture wars to divide our society
“I recognise how strongly some people feel about this issue. We welcome continued dialogue and feedback, and will strive to provide a supportive environment in schools to support our students holistically,” Mr Wong said.
“Issues of gender identity have become bitterly contested sources of division in the culture wars in some Western countries and societies. We should not import these culture wars into Singapore, or allow issues of gender identity to divide our society.”
Duty of care to every student
Schools are a common space for all students regardless of their backgrounds and circumstances, Mr Wong said.
“We have a duty of care to every student. For students with gender dysphoria, our main focus is continuing to provide them with a conducive learning environment and to support their overall well-being. Recognising that the issues are complex and that there are diverse opinions among students and their parents, we strive to deal with these situations sensitively and with compassion.
On Ms He’s suggestion that MOE consider presenting a public report on these matters to Parliament on a regular basis
Mr Wong said that family members, especially parents of such students, are “very uncomfortable” with their situation being aired publicly.
“We ought to respect their requests for privacy, and avoid putting out information that will compromise any student or family confidentiality. Let us give the students and their families time and space to resolve matters among themselves, in consultation with their doctors and counsellors.”