TRANSformazzjoni is a documentary that provides an insight into Trans* peoples’ everyday lives in Malta. The documentary puts a spotlight on 5 Maltese Trans* people from different walks of life giving full visibility to a wide range of people in the Trans* community, which all represent a section of Maltese society and which different people can relate to.
It will also serve as an educational tool, featuring the recent laws and policies directed to enhancing the lives of Trans* people in Malta.
Location: University of Malta, Valletta Campus Date: 7th June 2019 Time: 7 pm
Addressing the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) issues in schools has long been a priority for MGRM although national data on the school experiences of LGBTIQ youth was hard to come by.
In the initial years following MGRM’s inception in 2001, access to schools by LGBTIQ organisations was often restricted and direct contact, when granted was often limited to that with educators. Few opportunities to engage directly with students existed. Schools were wary to explore LGBTIQ issues for fear of opposition from parents and many educators felt ill-equipped to handle explorations of LGBTIQ topics in the classroom.
Nevertheless, MGRM tried to make the most of
any opportunity to intervene that presented itself.
This included the publication and dissemination of
information booklets for LGBT youth through EU Youth
Programme funding in 2005, an anti-bullying campaign
produced with funding from the VOICES Foundation
back in 2009 and the donation of a number of books to
the Ministry for Education in 2015 purchased through
an EEA/Norway Grant.
When providing feedback on the proposed National
Curriculum Framework in 2011, MGRM remarked that
‘safety is a precondition for learning’ and advocated
for a number of measures that would help ensure that
the school climate was one that was inclusive of LGBT
students such as inclusive curricula, teacher training
and anti-bullying policies that made specific reference
to homophobic and transphobic bullying.
The EU LGBT survey conducted by the EU’s Fundamental
Rights Agency in 2012 found that homophobia, biphobia
and transphobia were experienced by 80% of students
in education across all EU member states and Malta
was no exception. It highlighted the need to provide
equal opportunities to LGBTIQ students.
Malta has come a long way over the past 6 years in
legislating for LGBTIQ equality and now boasts one
of the best legal and policy frameworks in the world,
including in the educational sector. Access to schools
by LGBTIQ community organisations has become much
more commonplace and the work with educators to
ensure that schools are safe spaces for all children and
young people under their care is ongoing. This is no easy
task and requires skilled and committed educators and
administrators who are able to implement appropriate
strategies that help to create inclusive environments
where diversity is not only tolerated but celebrated. This
process of mainstreaming is a long term project and
will take time to reach all those involved in education
whether they be school administrators, teacher trainers,
educators, support service professionals, students and
In 2014 the Ministry for Education launched the
‘Addressing Bullying Behaviour in Schools Policy’
which for the first time made specific reference to
homophobic and transphobic bullying. This bound
schools to develop strategies that were cognizant of
various forms of identity based bullying when drawing
up their school based anti-bullying policies.
This was shortly followed by the launch of the ‘Trans,
Gender Variant and Intersex Student in School Policy’
in 2015. The policy aims to foster a school environment
that is inclusive, safe and free from harassment and
discrimination for all members of the school community,
regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,
gender expression and sex characteristics.
Furthermore, the policy promotes the learning of human
diversity that is inclusive of trans, gender variant
and intersex students, and aims to ensure a school
climate that is physically, emotionally and intellectually
safe for all students to further their learning and well-
being. In practice, it translates to a shift away from
the often strict binary definitions and stereotypes of
what makes a boy a boy and a girl a girl, recognising
that traditional notions of gender and gender expression
do not necessarily apply to all students.
To implement the policy, over the past three years,
experts from the LGBTIQ movement and the Ministry
of Education collaborated in delivering training to
psychologists, counsellors, social workers, guidance
teachers and other student support staff in a systematic
Over the past two years, MGRM’s Rainbow Support Service has increasingly been involved in delivering training and assisting schools in dealing with a number of trans children and youth who are transitioning in state-run but also in Catholic and Independent Schools. Other LGBTIQ groups such as Drachma and Drachma Parents have also been involved in similar initiatives, providing training and support to teachers and parents. The drivers behind this shift in educational policy, as for much of the legislative and policy changes that Malta has undergone, have been the lived experiences of LGBTIQ individuals, in this case, children and youth. This school climate survey is aimed at garnering a better understanding of what it is like to be an LGBTIQ student in Malta and what still needs to be addressed given the lack of data at hand.
In the absence of quantitative data around the
experience of LGBTIQ students, MGRM partnered
with GLSEN and Columbia University to conduct this
School Climate Survey. Malta was one of a number of
European countries to conduct the survey. We hope
that this will provide baseline date against which future
progress can be measured.
“For 12 years I attended a Catholic school, it was horrible for any LGBTIQ+ students. In fact, the only few that were out were constantly either bullied or ignored. Even the staff was not supportive.”
The project involves the production of a documentary with the aim of providing an insight into Trans* peoples’ everyday lives in Malta so that the viewer is presented with the human aspect of Trans* people. It will also serve as an educational tool featuring the recent laws and policies directed to enhancing the lives of Trans* people in Malta.