What does Scotland’s U-Turn on Transgender Schools Guidance Mean for England and Wales?

Jul 14, 2019 by

from Transgender Trend:

The Scottish government has taken the welcome step of having a rethink on many areas concerning changes to the GRA. (Gender Recognition Act – ed) The LGBT Youth transgender schools guidance has now been withdrawn in Scotland due to concerns about girls being excluded from their own toilets and changing-rooms. The Scottish government will produce their own guidance following consultation and a full Equalities Impact Assessment. Scotland is leading the way on action which must now also be taken by Westminster on the schools guidance used throughout England and Wales.

We analysed the LGBT Youth Scotland transgender schools guidance when it was first published in 2017 and compared its advice with a selection of transgender schools toolkits used across England and Wales, including guidance from Stonewall, Allsorts and GIRES. Our report can be seen here. Our analysis shows that authorities in England and Wales are recommending that schools follow exactly the same advice as in the guidance recently withdrawn in Scotland, which has been shown to have a negative impact on the rights of girls. Equalities Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville made this announcement to the Scottish Parliament:

“However the complexity of these issues mean valid concerns have been raised. The Scottish Government recognises that in taking the unarguably good general principle of inclusivity, and developing specific recommendations, the approach risks potentially excluding other girls from female-only spaces. That cannot be right.”

This is a major victory for grass-roots feminist campaign groups such as For Women Scotland, Women and Girls in Scotland and Scottish Women and the courageous politicians who have spoken out, notably Joan McAlpine who said in a statement:

“I also welcome the government’s decision to replace the LGBT Youth Scotland transgender guidance for schools, which was shown to have a negative impact on the privacy and dignity of girls, as well as the government’s recognition that statistics on sex matters. For too long public authorities have failed to distinguish between sex and gender and this must change.”

All school policies must be fully compliant with existing Equality law and protect the rights of all groups under the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. Information taught to children must be able to withstand scientific scrutiny and must not be based on ideology. We developed our resource pack out of concern about the existing guidance and in response to the demand from parents and teachers for an alternative resource. It has been widely praised by teachers and parents for being evidence-based, clear and child-centred, and was recommended recently in the Times Educational Supplement as the most consistent with EHRC Technical Guidance for Schools and the only transgender schools guide to be based on safeguarding.

Read here


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