A member of the public recently attended the school’s transgender training webinar for teachers. As expected, much of the content is of concern, in that it unquestionably affirms gender identity ideology and breaches the Equality Act provision for single-sex facilities. The host from LGBT Youth Scotland also revealed that the long overdue replacement transgender guidance for schools will be published shortly and that, contrary to the Cabinet Secretary’s statement, it has not been written by the Scottish Government, but is an extension of LGBT Youth’s current guidance – which was previously deemed “not legal” by Ministers.
We were also rather surprised to see several pupils on the webinar video, given that it was a staff training session. This was particularly worrying given the lax security around signing up for the webinar.
The national resource for relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) education for children and young people has changed quite considerably since it first came online at rshp.com, when the Scotsman reported on parents concerns about 5 year-olds being told they could decide whether to be a boy or a girl (see our earlier blog post).
This aspect, along with several others, has thankfully now been removed, and we welcome the improvements. However, there are still considerable concerns over the content.
Mr Ben (on Twitter @crit_gen) sent us the letter that she wrote to John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Education, outlining the main issues. We have reproduced it here with her permission to help other parents write their own letters – Mr Swinney can be emailed at DFMCSE@gov.scot
A recent Freedom of Information response, as reported in today’s The Times, has revealed that referrals for Scottish children to the Sandyford Young People’s Gender Service have risen by an unprecedented 705% since 2013, in comparison to a rise of 438% for the Tavistock in London over the same time period.
As of 2018 there are also an additional 470 children (aged 16.5 years or younger) on a waiting list for a first appointment.
The age group with the largest number of referrals is that of 15-16 year olds, for whom referrals have increased by 35% in the year from 2017 to 2018. Worryingly the number of much younger children referred has rocketed with a rise of 62% for 11-12 year olds, and a startling rise of 83% for 4-10 year olds between 2017 and 2018.
In 2017, guidance for schools was published by LGBT Youth Scotland, entitled “Supporting Transgender Young People: Guidance for Schools in Scotland”. While its aim was to help schools support children who identify as transgender, the publication was heavily criticised for its failure to consider the specific rights and needs of girls and the negative impact that many of the recommendations made within the guidance would have on them. The production of the guidance was funded by the Scottish Government and it carries the Scottish Government logo prominently on its front cover. Despite this, the Scottish Government were reluctant to take any responsibility for the guidance stating, in response to the sustained criticism, that it would be inappropriate for them to review the guidance and that it had the full support of Ministers. However, in June 2019 the Scottish Government unexpectedly announced their decision to replace the LGBT Youth Scotland publication with guidance produced by the Scottish Government. This post explores the reasoning behind this decision, what we know about the development of the new guidance so far, and LGBTYS involvement.
Of concern was the section on gender in the level one guidance aimed at Primary One aged children. Despite a seeming ignorance about how sex is observed either before or after birth and by whom, this started off promisingly, telling children that they are not limited by their sex and that they can participate in any activities or wear any clothing. However, the guidance became muddled when it started to talk about gender, saying that “your gender is what you decide” and that sometimes when people grow up “they decide to change their gender so that they are happier with who they are, this is called being transgender”:
Whenever I go away for some training, or to meet other teachers, in corners and when chatting over cups of tea, we are all asking each other…do you have any yet? What is your Council policy? Is this right?
Well, I found out the policy of my local authority very recently when a pupil declared themselves to be trans to a colleague of mine.
I will say ‘they’, not because of any non-binary status – this pupil very definitely wants to embrace one side of the binary – but because I want to protect this pupil and my own job in one of Scotland’s largest councils.