Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Guidebook Urges Teachers That They Should Not Call Pupils ‘Boys and Girls’ at School

Published on December 13, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

Controversial: Children as young as seven are to be taught in schools to stop using the terms 'boys' and 'girls' – in case they discriminate against transgender pupils (stock photo)

UKDailyMail

Children as young as seven are to be taught in schools to stop using the terms ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ – in case they discriminate against transgender pupils.

A guidebook for teachers, parents and pupils to be sent to schools around Britain advises against using language that suggests there are only two genders. It also condemns saying ‘ladies’ and ‘gents’.

Instead the book – described as ‘damaging’ by critics – offers a bewildering array of alternative terms to describe gender and sexuality. Children who think of themselves as being the gender with which they were born are described as ‘cisgender’. Other terms offered include ‘panromantic’, ‘intersex’ and ‘genderqueer’.

The organisation received £200,000 of taxpayer-funding from former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and is endorsed by Ofsted. Earlier this year, the watchdog described as ‘innovative and visionary’ their work educating staff and children on gender and sexuality.

But politicians and leading religious figures last night lambasted the advice to stop saying boys and girls as ‘damaging’.

The book follows Kit, a 12-year-old who is transitioning from female to male, and features illustrations that may appeal to young readers, including one of a ‘gender-neutral’ unicorn whose genitals are masked with a star. A key passage from the book advises that the use of ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ excludes transgender children – and reinforces the idea that there are behavioural differences between the sexes.

Former Tory Party chairman Lord Tebbit said: ‘I think it is damaging to children to introduce uncertainty into their minds.’

Sir Anthony Seldon, the former Master of Wellington College, said: ‘We have to respect the feelings of everybody, including teachers and parents who want traditional modes followed.’

And the Bishop of Chester, the Right Reverend Peter Forster, added: ‘This is likely to sow more confusion than clarity.’

As an alternative to using the terms ‘boys’ or ‘girls’, the book by C.J. Atkinson – a poet, academic and ‘trans advocate’ – suggests: ‘It may instead be preferable to group students into classes, or houses, or pupils.’ In another part of the book, Kit talks about his fictional school, explaining that when children in his class were split into groups they were divided by numbers or heights. Kit says: ‘This meant that when we were asked to do something, I didn’t feel that I was weird or different.’

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