News from Europe

Transgender guidance: schools to keep parents informed

The newly published UK government guidance assists Christian values, as it requires teachers to inform parents if their children wish to change their gender identity.

The guidance, which is applicable in schools in England, has been promised since 2018.

Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch confirmed that teachers and pupils should not be pressured into using different pronouns. The guidance made it clear that “schools do not have to accept a child’s request to socially transition” – this refers to when someone wants to change their name, pronoun, or clothing to reflect their gender identity.

Lizzie Harewood, leader of the Association of Christian Teachers, has endorsed the guidance as a “helpful start”, but she expects it will be challenged by the trans-lobbyists. She emphasized that Christian teachers opposing trans-ideology need to deal with confused pupils in a loving and careful manner. There are still some question-marks on how this new guidance will affect parents who have been previously disciplined for misgendering and for expressing gender-critical views:

“It’s good news for Christian teachers, who would have found it really difficult to acknowledge a child’s new identity on faith grounds. I don’t think the guidance entirely settles the issue. I also don’t think it will restrain activists. I’ve already been reading some teachers who are saying that they will ignore parts of the guidance, and some schools saying that they will also follow suit. So that does concern me, although I do think, in general, it’s a step in a better direction. We have to remember as Christians, as teachers, as professionals, as human beings, that if there is a child presenting with confusion or quite clear gender dysphoria, we need to treat them with kindness, with compassion; that doesn’t necessarily mean affirming their chosen gender.”

According to Baptist minister and founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust, Steve Chalke, the impact from some parents may not be safe for children who are unclear about gender and the school should be a safe haven: “This is what I’m struggling with. We’ve got to create a place of safety and sanctuary for some children who live in a repressive religious regime where to announce you’re anything other than straight is a very condemning thing. If a child chooses to tell you something that matters to them, what a school needs to be is a sanctuary.”


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