The Attorney General has sent a powerful warning to schools
Suella Braverman has put schools on notice: the social transition of pupils is not a neutral act. In a keynote speech yesterday, the Attorney General described it as a “serious intervention and should only be done upon the advice of an independent medical practitioner”. Braverman added:
She had much more to say. There was clear guidance, for example, about school toilets, dormitories and sports teams. In short, sex means sex and children cannot self-identify into spaces reserved for the other sex. Schools that continued to allow “trans girls” (biologically male children) to use the girls’ facilities might — in Braverman’s words — be guilty of, “unlawful indirect discrimination against the female children”.
But most significant for me in this speech was the cautious approach to the social transition of children. Social transition had a profound impact on me — and equally significantly — those around me. It changed my relationship with the rest of society. For children and adolescents also grappling with the prospect of puberty and all that it brings, it must be monumental. Repeatedly, Braverman indicated the need for schools to take medical advice, and certainly not to act purely on the word of a child:
And to those schools who have facilitated a child’s transition without informing their parents, there was a warning:
Indeed, trans children are children and they deserve the same rights as other children. That means they should be treated with compassion, not set apart as special. They are children — some in psychological distress, others possibly not — but they are not the opposite sex.
Vitally, Braverman offered support for children (and maybe adults) who do not buy into the fantasy that people can change sex:
For too long schools have taken advice from the wrong people, or simply made it up as they went along. Sex is real, and it is a protected characteristic. Braverman could not be clearer. Schools that fail to respect that may find themselves not so much on the wrong side of history, but on the wrong side of the law.