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Schools to be told to allow changing gender

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Schools are to be issued with the first national guidelines on transgender pupils in March. The guidelines are being drafted by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (ECHR). They are reported to suggest that pupils should be allowed to change gender “at any time”, and that parents and pupils should refer to children by their “preferred pronoun”. It is reported that cross-dressing should be allowed and that a pupil’s chosen gender may be kept confidential from their parents. Tim Dieppe comments on the implications of such guidelines.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is planning to issue the first national guidelines on transgender pupils for schools in March.

Pupils should be allowed to change gender “at any time”

Education Executive reports that:

“On request from a pupil, with the support of their parents, the school is able to change the name and gender of a pupil on their systems at any time, including sending these details to exam boards and requesting that staff and pupils use their new name and preferred pronoun.”

Currently, in law, you can’t legally change your gender until you are 18 years old. A person needs to demonstrate that they have suffered gender dysphoria and lived in their ‘new gender’ for two years, and intend to continue doing so until death.  This guidance proposes that children should have the right to self-identify their gender with no medical consultation and no cooling off period.

Staff and pupils should use “preferred pronoun”

The guidance then proposes that staff and pupils be required to refer to pupils by their “preferred pronoun”.  This amounts to state-enforced lying about who the pupil is. The article refers to Christian Legal Centre client Joshua Sutcliffe who was disciplined as a teacher for ‘misgendering’ a pupil.

“Whilst the very recent case of a teacher being summoned to a disciplinary for ‘misgendering’ seems frightening, this was seemingly because of his Christian belief that, ‘…it is not unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl’, rather than an accidental slip of the tongue.”

The prospect of pupils and teachers being disciplined for ‘misgendering’ is indeed frightening. ‘Gender’ is not a social construct or something that we can choose at will. It is biologically determined. Boys and girls should be taught to respect the differences between the sexes and not to try to change them.

Cross-dressing “should be allowed”

The article reports:

“Pupils should be allowed to wear the uniform of the gender that they identify with and schools should also offer a ‘gender neutral’ option, such as allowing all pupils to wear trousers. There are no issues under child protection or safeguarding that prohibit transgender pupils from using the changing room or toilet which reflects their gender identity – the child should be consulted as to their preference. It would be good practice now to assign some changing areas or toilets as unisex in case this is a pupil’s preferred choice.”

It is a fantasy to suggest that “there are no issues under child protection or safeguarding” surrounding people changing gender and using different changing areas. The most rebellious boys in secondary schools are realising that they can cause considerable trouble by telling the school to recognise them as girls. They then get to cause disruption in girls’ changing areas, breaching privacy and upsetting girls in the process. Sexual assaults are likely to emerge from a policy like this. What happens if a pupil refuses to identify as male or female? Should the school provide bespoke toilets for every possible gender identification?

‘Don’t tell parents’

Under the subject of ‘privacy’ It is reported that:

“As with all pupils, transgender pupils have a right to privacy and schools must only disclose the pupil’s transgender status to parents, carers and other members of the school community where there is a legal obligation to do so, or where the pupil has given permission.”

This raises the prospect of children identifying as one gender at school and another at home without parental permission. This seriously undermines parental rights. The Christian Legal Centre has already seen a case where parents feared that their daughter could be taken into foster care unless they allowed her to identify as a boy.

Sports competitions

What happens when boys identify as girls and enter girls’ sports competitions? This is clearly unfair and dangerous to girls. Already we are seeing biological men winning women’s competitions unfairly in the adult world. In schools, the guidance will suggest:

“In PE lessons teachers should take account of size, physical strength and ability in any event; therefore a common-sense approach should be taken as to whether a pupil should have the option of which gender they participate with. Representing the school in the gender they identify in should not be an issue if there is not a physical advantage; however this would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis with the relevant sporting body.”

This is a fudge. Clearly some biological boys identifying as girls will claim discrimination if they are not allowed to compete as girls. The only fair way is to split sports by biological gender and not to allow people to cheat by changing gender.

Defining issue of our time

Carys Mosely has written that “transgenderism is the defining issue of our time, as it concerns our very nature as male and female.”

The good news is that opposition to transgenderism is now gaining traction in society and in politics. Government plans to allow adults to change legal gender at will have now been delayed in response to growing criticism. Recent news items have highlighted some of the problems involved, such as with transgender women being allowed to use a ladies swimming pond. In another case, a woman who requested a female nurse to perform a cervical smear test was “embarrassed and distressed” when a person with stubble and a deep voice arrived to perform the procedure.

Christians need to stand firm on the scientific and theological truths about gender in order to protect women and children. We should not capitulate to state-enforced indoctrination or tyranny. While opposition is growing to what most people clearly regard as a step too far in political correctness, we need to call on the government to abandon their plans to allow gender change at will. Christian Concern intends to continue to keep up the pressure in the media and in the courts on this issue in 2018.