College students reduced to tears after being ‘pressured’ to disclose sexuality on enrolment forms

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A number of students in Barnsley were left in tears upon filling out their college enrolment forms, when one of the first questions they were forced to answer was whether they were gay, straight, or bisexual.

Barnsley Chronicle reports that the 16 and 17-year-olds at Barnsley College were asked to fill in enrolment forms which included standard impersonal information about age, address, contact details, and next of kin.

But they were also asked to indicate their sexual preferences by ticking one of the following boxes: bisexual, gay man, gay woman/lesbian, heterosexual, or ‘prefer not to say.’ ‘Transsexual’ was also erroneously listed as an option beside these categories, rather than included as a separate question altogether.

Many said they were unhappy and also asked why such personal information had to be included on the front of the form, which carried pupils’ names.

Kelsey Bennett, 16, said: “You did feel under pressure to tick a box and then if you ticked ‘prefer not to say’, it might make people question why you’ve done that.”

Connor Hewitt, 16, said the college should not be defining students by their sexuality, adding: “I don’t get why they need to know.”

Ray Sanchez, 16, was also surprised to see the question listed on the front of the form: “It was odd because it was in amongst a jumble of basic questions you expect like contact details and ethnicity.”

A college spokeswoman told Barnsley Chronicle it was a way of monitoring success of the following ‘protected characteristic’ groups: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Last month, the first openly gay head boy was appointed by a top British public school, who used his position to criticise recent revelations that some academies have been operating with policies resembling Section 28.

The University of Cambridge last month also announced that it has changed its policy and now longer includes gendered requirements in the dress code of graduation ceremonies.

The change means that men will no longer be required to wear trousers suits and women will no longer be made to wear skirts, dresses or suits, for graduation.