Parents of trans children react to reports that same-sex schools may reject their children

Alarm bells are ringing for parents of transgender children with reports circulating that the government may soon issue guidance allowing girls’ and boys’ schools to reject trans pupils.

The advice is apparently drafted by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Equal Opportunities Minister Kemi Badenoch, and would mean that single-sex schools could legally choose not to admit trans children.

Understandably, parents of trans children are extremely concerned about what the future might hold for their children and for generations to come.

Janet Montague, whose trans daughter is 14, tells HuffPost UK: ‘I just want my daughter to be able to attend school and be respected at school, just like her peers are.

“I want her to be safe in school and accepted for who she is.”

She said if schools are able to reject a young person based on their assigned sex at birth, “the government, I believe, is sending a clear message that it does not see trans women as women and trans men as men and that they are willing to endanger our children and deprive them of their rights”.

The UK government has already this year blocked gender recognition reform – which would make it easier for people to transition – after it was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

She also made headlines for considering amending the Equality Act that would make it legal to ban trans people from same-sex spaces and events.

What do the latest guidelines say?

He is expected to say, according to The Telegraph, that schools will not be in breach of the Equality Act if they do not admit trans pupils.

So a boys’ school might reject someone who identified as male, but whose assigned gender was female at birth – and vice versa with a girls’ school.

School principals may also reportedly refuse to use a pupil’s preferred pronoun, even if requested by the pupil and parent.

There is no suggestion that a child questioning their gender would be forced to drop out of school if already enrolled.

Last month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government would soon share guidelines for schools on gender identity issues.

It came after a panel of experts said safeguarding principles were being ‘ignored in many secondary schools’ when it came to gender identities – and schools said they were caught in the ‘crossfire’.

What do parents of trans children think?

They are understandably unhappy with the move.

Theresa Hill, whose teenager is 16 and identifies as non-binary, says she feels “ashamed that we have become such a hard-hearted country”.

Her son was offered a place in a single-sex school before he socially transitioned – and this school has “provided them with a safe place to come out and express their identities among supportive friends”.

“The last thing they wanted was to be treated differently from their peers or to be singled out,” Hill said.

“Trans children don’t pose a risk to others, they are the ones at risk.”

The mom acknowledged the murder of trans teen Brianna Ghey earlier this year and added, “Do we really want to generate more hate?”

Being a teenager is tough, but trans teens face even more obstacles. They experience higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicide and are more likely to be victims of bullying and violence.

If a talented trans child finds out they’re barred from a same-sex elementary school, “we block social mobility in their path,” Hill continued.

“For children from disadvantaged backgrounds, educational opportunities can be life-changing and provide safety and support where it’s needed most, which is crucial for trans children living in hostile environments,” she added.

The prospect of schools choosing not to use a young person’s chosen pronouns “is very difficult to think about,” Montague added. “Schools are meant to be safe places, where respect, inclusion and kindness are taught.”

He added that respecting someone’s chosen name and pronouns is “critical” – and said suggesting that schools can ignore a young person’s wishes and feelings “is irresponsible”.

“Being a teenager is hard enough, being a trans teenager is even harder,” she continued.

“My daughter just wants to go to school, learn, have fun with her peers and go home again, without fear that someone will become transphobic with her, ask her to go to the bathroom, misgender her or discuss her existence.

“I’m so worried about how much harder things are going to get for my daughter at school, it breaks my heart.”

Professor Jessica Ringrose, from University College London (UCL), studied the trauma that misgendering causes to young people and suggested the new guidelines reported “they are a dangerous development” and “a total violation of the protection of minors”.

“The policy is about protecting parental rights over youth rights,” he said in a tweet.

The Mermaids charity, which supports families with trans children, said respecting a young person’s chosen gender expression, including pronouns, in a safe and supportive environment “brings transformative benefits to their lives”.

A spokesperson told HuffPost UK: ‘Schools need guidance to support them in providing an inclusive and trusting space for all children, especially trans youth who experience transphobic bullying, disproportionately low self-esteem and hate crimes. increasing”.


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