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Schools urged to ignore ‘dangerous’ gender guidance



Schools are being urged to ignore “dangerous” new guidance on pupils’ gender from a pressure group.

Transgender Trend, an organisation set up by parents who “question the trans narrative”, has this week published what it calls a “schools resource pack”, offering advice to teachers and school leaders about how to support pupils dealing with gender issues.

The group believes an increase in the number of children worried about their gender is the result of pupils being taught about gender identity, and blames internet use and “social contagion” for “glamorising medical transition” and causing “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” in children.

The idea that listening to young people and taking steps to make them feel included might encourage them to be trans is quite simply a myth

Its guidance urges schools to abandon what it sees as “special rules” for transgender pupils and to ignore existing advice, which it claims is biased in favour of transgender people.

But the LGBT charity Stonewall, which advises hundreds of English schools, said the guidance is “packed with factually inaccurate content” and warned schools they “must have nothing to do with this deeply damaging publication”.

Hannah Kibirige, Stonewall’s director of education and youth, said the document not only “fails to reflect the real experiences of trans young people”, but “actively encourages schools to take steps that risk them falling foul of their legal duties and duty of care to pupils”.

“The idea that listening to young people and taking steps to make them feel included might encourage them to be trans is quite simply a myth,” she added.

“Most teachers would agree that effectively supporting any young person begins with listening to them, and understanding their experiences and needs. Supporting trans young people is no different. Talking to young people about what steps will help them to feel included, happy and welcome at school just makes sense.”

Stephanie Davies-Arai, a spokesperson for Transgender Trend, said: “Our schools pack has divided opinion, which is a reflection of the controversy surrounding the issue. We ask parents and educators keep an open mind, read it and decide for themselves.”

In its guidance, Transgender Trend claims that some groups of pupils, including lesbians, those on the autistic spectrum and children with troubled backgrounds and mental health issues, are more prone to gender-nonconformity, and are being “encouraged to interpret their non-conformity as a sign that they are transgender”. 

The document also warns that schools “should be cautious of giving a transgender child rights that are not afforded to other children”, and should adopt “a consistent approach to interests and personal style (clothing, hairstyles, footwear) without having special rules for a transgender child”.

According to the document, much of the existing advice on transgender issues comes from “organisations specifically set up to promote the political interests and needs of transgender people”. This guidance sometimes “fails to take account of the needs and rights of the whole school community”, the group said.

Kibirige said increasing numbers of schools are “welcoming, safe places for young people who are trans, or who simply don’t conform to the gender stereotypes society expects of them”, and warned the guidance would create confusion.

“As more schools open themselves to learning about how to be trans inclusive, there is a hunger for information from teachers, school staff and others involved in education,” she said.

“That’s why the ‘schools resource pack’ produced by Transgender Trend this week is so dangerous. Masquerading as professional, ‘evidence-based’ advice for schools on how to ‘support trans and gender-nonconforming young people’, the pack in fact provides the reverse. It is a deeply damaging document, packed with factually inaccurate content.”

The Department for Education declined to comment on the content of the guidance, but confirmed that it did not endorse the document, or provide any funding to Transgender Trend.

 



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28 Comments

  1. Vicky Gooding

    This is a seriously worring move by the anti transgender group Transgender Trend. To attempt to muddy the water on the treatment of transgender children is truly appauling. All children need support to achieve their potential. Let us hope this concentrates schools on an inclusive supportive approach. Please read the GIRES website for advice.

    • Posie Parker

      Many “trans” groups teach affirmation. Let’s remember what that means.
      Affirming an identity that is trans will result in puberty blockers and cross sex hormones.
      Puberty blockers alter the structure of the genitals with no evidence that these effects can be reversed. The interaction between our body and brain and the development throughout our teen years is unknown and so the risk of puberty blockers on the developing brain is unknown. We do know that many kids on blockers report no libido or sexual function, which I would argue is a gross form of abuse to inflict on a person. If we found totalitarian countries doing this to teenagers we would be very angry. There are numerous scandals involving puberty blockers, which are rebranded off label chemo drugs, and kickbacks to the tune of $millions, and the other side effect that prostate cancer sufferers died of heart failure as a side effect. Puberty blockers also have other long term risks.
      Then most kids with retarded genitals, i.e. 16 year old boys with penises the size of a nine year old, go on to cross sex hormones. This means they are rendered infertile.

      Most orgs. like GIRES and Mermaids seem to forget that there are other children in the school. As far as I’m aware neither has qualified experts on their teams.

      I love this measured and researched approached by transgender trend and have supplied my local schools with them.

      • “The interaction between our body and brain and the development throughout our teen years is unknown and so the risk of puberty blockers on the developing brain is unknown. We do know that many kids on blockers report no libido or sexual function, which I would argue is a gross form of abuse to inflict on a person. If we found totalitarian countries doing this to teenagers we would be very angry. There are numerous scandals involving puberty blockers, which are rebranded off label chemo drugs, and kickbacks to the tune of $millions, and the other side effect that prostate cancer sufferers died of heart failure as a side effect. Puberty blockers also have other long term risks.”

        This is all true and cannot be repeated enough.

        • It is not true – puberty blockers have been used for over thirty years, and if they resulted in these side effects, there’d be a heck of a lot of lawsuits going on right now. Repeating lies does not, in fact, make them true.

  2. This is a really irresponsible piece of writing! Why have you not asked the person who organised it’s commission to comment. Have you actually read the insane guideance from stonewall and the awful way they are treating women who speak up? gender clinicians themselves are saying the same things as this document. I really think you should pull this article, it’s libelous.

    • Happy to report you have now got a comment from transgender trend, and as a result the article reads entirely differently. Having read ALL schools guidance available on the subject of the transgender issue, imho the Transgender Trend guidance is the most comprehensive, compassionate and balanced of all and I’d urge anyone involved in the education and welfare of children to read it with an open mind. Beware anyone telling you to ‘burn’ anything as LBGT groups have been demanding of this document all week.

      • Yes, we really shouldn’t burn hate speech. What’s it ever done to you! FFS. It wasn’t even a verified piece of literature by the DfE!! I mean the arrogance of you people just takes my breath away!

        • ‘Hate speech’ is very strong language, and possibly libel, please give examples of ‘hate speech’ in the document. Please state what exactly is factually inaccurate?

          The lengths to which trans advocates (usually adult men) will go to to have access to and influence over other people’s children really is quite worrying.

          • As a woman, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s only men who disagree with transphobic hate speech. The majority of women are not transphobic, think groups like Transgender Trend are disgusting, and don’t appreciate women like you defaming us by pretending that being a woman and being a transphobe are synonymous.

  3. I’m astonished that you publish this ‘article’ without apparently having read the guidance you seem to be damning and without comments from Transgender Trend (who produced the guidance) or the Department for Education. Given that Stonewall claim that the guidance risks schools ‘falling foul of their legal duties and duty of care to pupils’ I am interested to learn more about this. Certainly the Transgender Trend guidance provides a different interpretation of Schools’ legal position and I hope that the Department of Education will be able to provide some clarity on this important issue.
    I expect Schools Week to adhere to higher academic and journalistic standards than are exhibited in this article. I look forward to a more considered article which includes input from more than one source and which clarifies the disputed areas of legal fact and ‘best practice’. I hope this will be in your next edition?
    Meanwhile I trust that teachers, parents and governors will not ‘shred it’ as recommended by Stonewall but rather, will read the competing sets of guidance and develop practices best suited to their school community.

  4. Strange that Stonewall won’t actually say what is ‘damaging’ or ‘factually incorrect’ about the leaflet. Also very suspicious that they are desperate for people not to read it. Probably because it makes too much sense. It’s written by educators and child psychologists and is meticulously researched, unlike material from Mermaids or Gendered intelligence.

  5. Future shock

    The affirmative approach is leading to exponential increases in trans teens. Especially 14 year old girls. School should educate kids, not validate their new identities and socially transition them , especially without parent and doctor approval! All of this trans activism , preached by stonewall and mermaids etc , is creating an epidemic. Kids bodies aren’t wrong , they don’t need to change their pronouns hormones or bodies to be their authentic selves. Why do schools promote this ideology? If anything they should break down stereotypes and refer to “questioning “ students by their last names only – no pronouns. It’s not that hard. When the kids are adults they can transition if they want. Or if the parents think it’s neccessary. Not every trans Id-big kid is the same, many are autistic or have anxiety or depression that needs addressing, the one size fits all approach offered by trans activists is ludicrous and potentially harm

    Transgender Trend’s pamphlet is cautious and sensible. Read it and you will see.

  6. People should read this for themself and I’ll provide it myself. It’s gathering very positive reactions from parents on Mumsnet, Twitter and elsewhere.

    https://www.transgendertrend.com/transgender-schools-guidance/

    The initial twitter thread where Stonewall denounced this document was filled with criticism of Stonewall including by many LGB people. They’ve been challenged on both their claims about illegal advice (resulting in them deleting their own tweet) and on the “packed with factual inaccuracies (to which they have not responded).

    Their chief objections to it are:
    · It competes with their own approved school packs such as by Scottish Trans.
    · It discusses desistence (people changing their minds)
    · It discusses the effect of policies on other children’s well-being (such as safety and enjoyment impacts on allowing a boy to compete in girls sporting events).

    In comparison, school information approved by Stonewall has been impracticable and in some cases downright dangerous. As an example of the former its guidance on dealing with parents concerned about boys being mixed in with girls changing is to – in essence – explain to the parents that they are bigots (which is both unhelpful and likely not true).

    As an example of their advice being dangerous, they have approved statements such as ‘delaying a child’s transition is harmful’ counselling schools to encourage children to start the process. They also provide posters and a list of celebrity role-models to celebrate and encourage children to come out as trans. Again, that’s frankly dangerous.

    Stonewall’s guidance also does almost nothing to emphasise that gender nonconformity is not the same as being trans. Something which this new school pack covers along with many other difficult areas. It is in fact very neutral and well-researched. It most definitely is NOT transphobic.

    Parents and teachers should read it for themself. In particular they should NOT let Stonewall convince them that doing so is disrespectful to the LGBT community. Right now Stonewall is being criticised heavily by many LGBT people over this. Stonewall have been asked repeatedly to substantiate their claims above since this was released and have failed to do so.

    • Transgender Trend’s guidance getting praise from one of the most transphobic groups on the internet is not the hot take you seem to think it is.

      Companies have literally cut ties with Mumsnet due to the vicious levels of bigotry on their boards.

  7. The new guidelines for schools from Transgender Trend is a long-awaited breath of fresh air that teachers have been waiting for. Stonewall have not actually said what is damaging about them. Read them for yourself and decide for yourself

  8. Julia Hippely

    What a shame that this reasonably balanced article features such a sensationalist headline and picture. Anyone who actually reads these guidelines- as I have done- will see that they are fair, balanced, compassionate and inclusive. I cannot for the life of me see what Stonewall is objecting to, and calls to ‘bin’ or ‘shred’ something without reading it do not strike me as promoting either education or equality.

  9. Why should schools have to divert finances meant for education from already over stretched budgets, in order to cater for this ever growing ideology.
    If you removed all environmental influences and the kids had no knowledge of this trans and inbetween concept then there would be no cases of kids feeling the following: confused / misguided / the need to stand out and not conform with reality / the need to be centre of attention. Would be an interesting study at least.

  10. I went to read the document also, and found it both sane and compassionate, striking a careful balance between the needs of a child experiencing doubts over their gender and the effects on the wider school, including reducing the effects of social contagion. There was an understanding of child psychology underpinning all of the content that any parent will appreciate. Creating a healthy and accepting atmosphere for young gays and lesbians, and giving a respectful space to children who identify as trans to explore those feelings strike me as just plain good sense. Surely we should be exploring all the ways we can make young people comfortable in their own bodies before signing them up for surgery and a lifetime of dependence upon medication.

    • The fact that you believe in the transphobic myth of social contagion makes your lack of insight into this issue, and your prejudices, very clear. People like you called being gay a social contagion back in the 1980s. It led to years of misery for gay kids.

  11. The Dutch gender clinics and one trans organisation are against lowering age for treatment and lowering age for changing their sex in legal docs. Because it means that desisting children are pressured to persist. Studies have found and the clinicians as well, that social transition is also a risk for children that would oherwise desist. The clinicians are for an individual approach that can determine case by case if a child can socially transition. Another trans org and LGBT org puts trans kids at risk with supporting lower age of medical treatment and legal changes of their sex. I stand with the clinicians. Because children have rights. Gender non conforming lesbian and gay children are now at risk group. I want them to be free to outgrow gender dysphoria. That is their right. The transmovement is against this.

  12. NHS England ‘commission cross sex hormones for young people who meet the
    eligibility and readiness criteria described in this policy document from around their 16th birthday.’ The guidance insists that young people are made fully aware of the possible effects: eg low bone density, infertility, severe acne. This is made more difficult, the guidance says, because young people’s brains aren’t developed enough to assess long-term consequences. This is worsened when young people presenting for treatment are on the autistic spectrum.

    https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2016/08/clinical-com-pol-16046p.pdf

  13. Rather than read documents from rival groups, teachers should perhaps find out what the DfE or their LA advises. Couldn’t find much from the former (long-overdue perhaps) but Cornwall LA has produced guidance for schools which has been welcomed by a DfE spokesperson. http://www.lgbtqyouthcornwall.co.uk/images/TransGuidance/Transgender_Guidance_booklet.pdf
    But would academies be bound by LA guidance? If not, it would be up to academy trusts to devise their own.

  14. So a child cannot decide to have a tattoo, smoke cigarettes or have sex before the age of 16, but they are quite capable of making irreversible ‘gender decisions’ about themselves in KS1? What utter, dangerous nonsense.

    The correct response to ‘baseline testing’ and the associated DfE school judgements based on ‘progress measures’ is to reject it because of the fact of developmental variation, cognitive, emotional and physical in all children, which continues in bursts until well after puberty. See my article about the new publication from ‘More than a score’ from which the following is an extract.

    “Early assessment is a very poor predictor of later achievement. It should not be used to judge the subsequent ‘value added’ by teachers or schools. The most experienced Baseline test provider can only make correct predictions for 4 children out of 10 in terms of their likely attainment just two years later.”

    If early, predictive assessment (by teachers) of cognitive attainment and development is unreliable, then the same surely applies to sexual/emotional developmental assessment by anybody else, including self appointed experts with politico-sexual motives.

    That parents should be allowed to sanction the chemical castration of their children pre-puberty, with irreversible physical and emotional consequences is appalling and tantamount to serious child abuse and a shocking example of the penetration of an irrational LGBT mafia cult into an area of public life where protection of children from adults with political/ideological motives should be sacrosanct.

    The armoury of such people is to dismiss every contrary argument as ‘hate speech’ and to ‘de-platform’ anyone who dares to challenge them.

  15. Having read the resource pack can someone explain how it is evidence led? Most of the references come from. BBC online opinion articles, word press (anyone can set this up) and a study critising 2 peer led studies in the field and a few selected case studies from real people to back up their view.

    Although some aspects are food for thought much of what is being suggested seems implausible or tries to give teachers and parents who may be against trans ways to get out of doing certain things or providing ways to disrupt schools trying to genuinely help those under their care.

    Definately not something I support.

    What we need is something which is certainly research led and without prejudice. Not sure this can happen though.