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Government guidance on gender lessons welcomed

November 2020

Ciarán Kelly
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Christian groups have welcomed guidance from the Department of Education (DfE) which says schools must not use gender stereotypes to tell children they might be transgender.

In new guidance for schools on how to plan their Relationships and Sex Education curriculum, the DfE told teachers to present equality issues in a balanced way.

The guidance also tells teachers to avoid setting homework involving researching a subject which might direct children to pornography or other ‘over-sexualised content’.

Ciarán Kelly, deputy director for The Christian Institute, welcomed the guidance and said it was a sign that radical trans ideology was ‘being expelled from the classroom – and not before time’.

He commented, ‘For too long, schools have been harangued by groups like Mermaids and Stonewall to promote and adopt a mindset that pushes harmful gender stereotypes on unsuspecting children.

‘It is clear all such ties should now be cut, any associated materials consigned to the recycling bin, and that parents have been given the green light to hold schools to account on this.’

Mr Kelly said there was a wider point to make, as the guidance also ‘explicitly’ acknowledges that teachers and pupils alike should be encouraged to hold and express a variety of views, ‘and they should not have a particular position pressed upon them’.

In recent years, pro-trans groups have frequently used gender stereotypes to promote transgender ideology, while presenting femininity and masculinity in a negative light, or suggesting that a tomboyish girl might be transgender.

One training slide from trans group Mermaids features a gender identity ‘spectrum’, with a Barbie doll at one end, and a G.I. Joe toy at the other. In the middle are effeminate men and women wearing caps. Another book, Jamie, suggests that girls who like fixing things were born in the wrong body.

But the DfE guidance states, ‘You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear.

‘Resources used in teaching about this topic must always be age-appropriate and evidence based. Materials suggesting non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity should not be used, and you should not work with external agencies or organisations that produce such material.’