Legal threat to transgender inclusivity

September 15, 2017

A couple have announced they are to take legal action against a Church of England primary school’s approach to transgendered bullying. The parents – who are being supported in their challenge by the Christian Legal Centre – have objected to the school’s acceptance of transgendered pupils and its view that refusing to acknowledge transgendered people’s true gender constituted bullying. The parent’s previously had a child at the school who they have subsequently withdrawn.

Commenting on the case, Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, saidThe right response to gender identity confusion is not to fuel ambiguity and anxiety but to give children the tools they need to embrace their birth sex. We need to expose this agenda for what it is – delusional, destructive and abusive.’

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ‘This case highlights danger to pupils from those who seek to delegitimize the acceptance of transgendered people and who try to force others to conform to artificial notions of gender.

‘Faith schools have long been shown to suffer from worse homophobia and transphobic than other schools. Church of England leaders should take this important opportunity to publically and robustly support its school’s defence of transgendered people.’

Under the Equality Act 2010 schools cannot discriminate against people for being transgendered, but the Act does not extend to the content of a school’s curriculum. In 2017 Stonewall published its third five yearly review into the experience of LGBT pupils at British schools. It found that levels of homophobia and transphobia had generally decreased since 2012 but continued to blight many schools and to be worse in the faith sector. Findings included that:

  • More than two in five trans pupils (44%) recorded that staff at their school were not familiar with the term ‘trans’ and what it means
  • Three in four pupils surveyed (77%) had never learnt about gender identity and what ‘trans’ means at school
  • Nearly one in ten trans pupils (nine%) have been subject to death threats at school

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