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The Government’s school trans guidance is not ‘extremist’

Why is it now controversial to state the obvious about child development? Credit: Getty

December 19, 2023 - 1:15pm

Today the Government published its draft guidance for teachers on how best to support gender-questioning pupils. The proposals look both eminently sensible and guaranteed to cause total panic. Reading through them, I found myself feeling a mixture of both. It’s a measure of how far things have been permitted to drift that recommendations which ought to be uncontroversial sound shocking. 

It should not be controversial to point out that social transition is not a neutral act, or to recognise that parents should generally be involved in decisions affecting a child’s long-term physical or psychological wellbeing. It should not be controversial to preserve female-only sports for female pupils, or to state that other pupils should not be forced to use language which contradicts their own perceptions of sex and gender. It should not be controversial to state that residential accommodation for teenagers should be sex-segregated, or that schools should accurately register the biological sex of pupils. 

None of this should be contentious, but all of it is. What’s more, the sheer oddness of having to state such obvious things makes it all look strangely suspicious. If I were someone who knew nothing about this debate, I might well adopt the “bigots trying to stoke a culture war” response. 

This is, of course, the line that many are already taking. The guidance has already been deemed “extremist” and accused of putting “the ‘anti-woke’ ideology of ministers before the welfare of young people”. I am not entirely unsympathetic to this position. From where we are right now — a world in which adults in positions of authority have encouraged children to believe that any deviation from trans activist beliefs is equivalent to hate — it is very hard to step back without causing more harm to others, particularly vulnerable young people. Nonetheless, it is worth asking just whose fault this is. 

Reporting on the guidance, the Guardian claims that “the decision to keep some protections in place so that children are not automatically outed is likely to frustrate some on the Tory Right who have been pushing for parents to be told in all circumstances.” There’s a tell in references to “outing” and “the Right”. Those who have led us to the current position, in which children are genuinely fearful of their “right to exist” being obliterated by the use of the wrong pronoun, wish to keep pretending that we are witnessing a replay of 1980s gay panic. 

It’s not true, though. I am old enough to remember when Left-wing women first started warning of the consequences of allowing gender to overwrite sex, only to be dismissed by Tory Equalities Minister Maria Miller as women “purporting to be feminists”. 

Since then, as Hannah Barnes documented in her book Time to Think, more and more taboos have been placed on exploring the multiple reasons why adolescents — especially those who are same-sex attracted, autistic and/or have experienced abuse — may be rejecting their sexed bodies. We have been asked to pretend that increasing numbers of young people, at an incredibly volatile moment in their lives, have understandings of gender that are utterly untainted by misogyny, homophobia, gender stereotypes, trauma or the ordinary anxieties of growing up. We have been asked to treat them as oracles, while any mother who fears a child embarking on a path to transition is dismissed as a pearl-clutching bigot. 

Those now railing against the new guidance make no distinction between parents who may be genuinely abusive, and parents who may wish to protect their children from harm. For them, there is no difference between bullies who pick on the gender non-conforming, and children who wish to preserve their own boundaries. Nor is there any distinction between challenging gender norms and pandering to the most regressive beliefs about men and women. 

It is very hard to undo all of the harm that has been done. Children will suffer because of this, not least because activists will now be telling them they are more hated than ever before. This could have been avoided. All this time, we could have been supporting children to challenge gender norms in ways that are actually joyful and healthy.

Instead, we are at a point where recognising basic biology is viewed as extremist. Perhaps, one day, those who brought us here will acknowledge what they’ve done.


Victoria Smith is a writer and creator of the Glosswitch newsletter.

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54321
54321
5 months ago

It should not be controversial to point out . . .

There are so many things about this debate which should not be controversial, or even necessary, to point out. Unfortunately that’s how far through the looking glass trans-rights activists have gone and forced everyone else to follow. Its a deliberately bad faith tactic to tie up their opponents’ time and energy arguing over even the most fundamental facts which no rational person could honestly dispute.
A personal favourite is the TRA claim that there is “no scientific evidence men have a performance advantage over women”. A claim so ridiculous that it could be a Monty Python sketch. What do they think more than a century of recorded performance data and observational evidence is?
For example:
In 1921 Charlie Paddock set a World Record for the 100 metres at 10:4 seconds. The first women’s record, set by Marie Mejzlikova at 13.6 seconds, was recorded in 1922.
In the century since there have been advances in training, nutrition, and preparation. The introduction of professionalism. Improved kit, spikes and tracks. The slow but steady march to respect for women’s athletics. Title IX funding equality for men and women in the US college system. Mass state sponsored doping in the Eastern Bloc during the cold war. And so on.
Yet to this day no woman has run faster than Charlie Paddock did 102 years ago. The women’s record is Florence Griffith Joyner’s time of 10:49 set in 1988, which itself is such an anomaly and so shrouded in suspicion that it has long been considered unattainable and only recently has another female sprinter, Elaine Thompson-Herah, dipped below 10:55.
And there you have the perfect illustration. I’ve just spent 10 minutes writing this post and checking my facts on times and dates in order to refute a clam which is so absurd that it should not require anything more than a cursory acknowledgement of the bleedin’ obvious.
That’s not a problem for me because work is quiet and I’ll be honest, I enjoy sporting statistics a lot. But when the whole debate is shot through with these bad faith arguments, it turns into a massive grind which is exhausting for those fighting this madness and boring for everyone else who understandably wonder why grown adults are fighting over things which they assumed were self-evident. But of course that’s the purpose of the TRAs tactic. Make the whole thing such a slug-fest that the general public loses interest until its too late.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

This is brilliant. Thank you for looking up these interesting stats. Not that it will matter. The trans-rights crowd and the politicians that get votes by peddling to them never let the facts get in the way of an oppressor/oppressed narrative.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Thanks for this. A question: does male and female sports performance follow a bell curve, and in the middle are the differences not that great. Or are the male and female bell curves pretty much out of alignment, so that at every point there is a big difference in performance? Honest question. I’m curious. It matters at least a bit for this discussion.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

The bell curves will overlap because an elite female athlete will beat a club-level male athlete in most cases.
The degree to which they overlap will depend on how sex-affected the sport is. Weightlifting, for example, is extremely sex-affected but in some sports, e.g. equestrian events, there is no significant performance advantage and some evidence women actually have a performance advantage over men in events like ultra long distance running. As a simple rule of thumb, the more a sport requires explosive upper body strength, the more of an advantage men will have so the smaller the area of overlap between the bell curves.
One of the arguments of TRAs is that because of this overlap it is impossible to presume that a transwoman (man who identifies as a female) has a performance advantage over a woman. But of course this misses the point. As we are currently seeing in the case of Park Run, where they allow self-ID, men who register as women are as a matter of course improving their relative position and therefore relegating women, even if they are not beating every woman in the event.
So, for example, a man who runs the 5k in 20 minutes may finish 100th man one week, then run exactly the same time the following week but finish 2nd woman. This is of course what happened in the case of William/Lia Thomas who went from being a very mediocre male college swimmer to a champion female, relegating all but a few of the women who previously occupied those places.
Does this answer your question?

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Thank you very much. I just wondered how much difference it made at school, as opposed to elite level.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thank you very much. I just wondered how much difference it made at school, as opposed to elite level.

Depends on how old they are. I’ve seen a table of world’s best 100 metres times at all junior ages. I can’t put my hand on it right now, but from memory up until puberty times are very close between boys and girls, with the majority but not all, of the boys records being faster. After puberty, its no contest.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that on the whole where schools run mixed events boys win much more often than girls.
Having said all that, any individual school is a very small sample, so there will be mismatches. An elite girl sprinter in a school full of non-elites is going to beat everyone, because of the bell curve overlap we discussed earlier.
When I was 11 I was fast enough to run at the first representative level “District”. But I never won the school race because I was in the same class as a girl called Sarah who went all the way to compete at the All England level. She was an elite sprinter and I was just pretty quick for a big guy who would go on to play rugby at a higher level.
But she was a unicorn, right at the tip of the bell curve for her cohort. There were maybe 50 girls as fast as her among all 11 year old girls in England. All she proved was that the bell curves overlap.

Last edited 5 months ago by 54321
Angelique Todesco
Angelique Todesco
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Thank you for this, really interesting to see the cold hard data, as you say TRAs fluff it so much that you end up just losing interest and they ‘win’ the argument as you just lose the will to live.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

I’m playing devils advocate here just to tease out the issue – but if a particular ethnic group excelled at certain sports (or sports generally) and another did poorly (say with similar overlapping bell curves to males and females) – would it be unfair for them to compete against each other.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

From a strictly logical point of view, i.e ignoring all the political aspects, sensitivities etc, then it would be arguable IF the performance gap was (a) anything like as big as between men and women and (b) clearly attributable to the same extent to biological factors.

To illustrate:

Elite black athletes of west african descent are a majority in many explosive sports such as sprinting and basketball. But there are still elite white sprinters on the circuit and plenty of white NBA players.

If we abolished the protected single sex category for women there would be no women Olympic sprinters and no professional women basketball players. Not to mention no female Wimbledon participants or professional women footballers etc etc.

To put this another way, the fastest time ever by a white sprinter is 9:87 by Cole Beck in 2023. The fastest time overall in 2023 was 9.83, shared by a couple runners.

In contrast every year thousands of elite men, college males, and even the very best high school boys record times faster than the fastest female.

As for the reasons for this advantage. I think it’s absurd that we seem unable to acknowledge that there is some genetic advantage which people of west african descent enjoy in explosive events. Its not a bad thing and in my view it should be celebrated because its given us the majesty of Usain Bolt, the poetry of Thierry Henry, and the extraordinary brilliance of Barry Sanders. But it’s not all there is to it. There are also social factors and other advantages / disadvantages in play.

But as far as males vs females goes, in explosive sports biology is a gateway. Go through female puberty and it doesn’t matter how good you are compared to other elite women or what other advantages you enjoy, you can’t compete with elite men. The gate is shut.

I hope this explains how I see the difference.

philip kern
philip kern
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

I think the difference is greater than implied here. I was a decent high school middle distance runner, not good enough to attract anyone’s attention. But when I was 17 my time was sufficient to go through to the Olympic women’s final for the 1500 (a race I’ve only run once in my life).

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

You obviously sat somewhere around the point in the male bell curve where the elite women start to overlap.

The performance gap between males and females in the 1500m is consistent with other running events below ultra. A difference of ~10% in world record times.

You have to be a little cautious in comparing 1500m times from big competitions though. It’s often a highly tactical race with nobody prepared to take on the pace. The best runners usually try to expend the minimum effort necessary to get through each round.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

At “elite level” – the USA women’s national football team – that won the women’s world cup, so are as elite as you can get – were beaten 5-2 by an under-15 schoolboy’s team.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Wouldn’t the instinct be for the national team to hold back somewhat and not ‘hard tackle’ under 15’s too aggressively?

Nancy G
Nancy G
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Recommended reading: Sharron Davies’ book Unfair Play provides extensive detail of the male advantage in sports, extensively researched and documented. Facts, not feelings.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
4 months ago
Reply to  54321

Thanks for this – and the ensuing further explanations. Very instructive and helpful.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago

Today the Government published its draft guidance for teachers on how best to support gender-questioning pupils. 
Here’s a radical thought – how about teachers teach the subjects they were hired to teach and stop with the social engineering that fixates outsized attention on a scant minority of mentally fragile children. We have allowed this tyranny of the less-than-one-percent rule our lives well beyond its expiration date. How many kids must be damaged for the amusement of a perverse group of evil adults?

William Jacobs
William Jacobs
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Your argument goes both ways. Teachers shouldn’t encourage transitioning, nor should they discourage it. It is outside the scope of their mission and the bulk of educators will have no appreciable ability to address the issue.
Expending time reinforcing ineffective parents is nothing any teacher should be required to do as part of their already challenging job.
Nothing at school is going to make the difference if a child declaring trans status is opposed by the parents. I find it an absurd demonstration of faith in our public educators that they will be able to do what parents failed at. It seems the opposite of what we are told. They can’t teach math and science, but by golly they’ll convince the kid to use their corresponding birth gender pronoun!
Teachers are bumbling knuckleheads, or ingenious psychological wizards. Honestly, pick one. It cannot be both. If parents cannot teach their child that their genitals dictate their pronoun, how in holy heck do we demand a civil servant do it for us?

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  William Jacobs

It would be absolutely fine if teachers just refrained from actively promoting trans ideology in schools.
We parents would be 100% happy with that. We know that children are still vulnerable to other bad influences – social media, legacy media, each other… we are not expecting you to eradicate all the bad things that exist in society: Just refrain from actively harming them. DO you think you could try to manage that, please?

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
5 months ago

The government diktat for schools that should have been issued (backed by legislation) would have prohibited any promotion or discussion of this trans nonsense, with the exception of dismissing it as a pseudoscience cult in biology lessons.
It’s astounding that the British government are playing along with this dangerous, fantasy ideology.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I disagree. I think there are few basic things they should teach in schools at an appropriate age. I think most kids are smart enough to get it and trying to keep the world as it is hidden from them is ultimately counter-productive.
1) That sex refers to the fact of human sexual dimorphism and whether your body is organised around the production of large gametes (eggs) or small gametes (sperm).
2) That gender is a cultural concept referring to the characteristics, behaviours and artefacts commonly associated with either sex.
3) That some people are, for whatever reason, happier presenting to the world as the gender other than their sex or as no gender at all.
4) That some people have one of a small number of medical conditions which lead to development of anomalous sexual organs and as a consequence may be presumed to be the other sex, especially in infancy but sometimes for life.
5) That all of these people are entitled to live in peace, safety and under the same protection of the law as everyone else.
6) That some services and spaces are reserved for people of one sex only as a proportionate means of achieving legitimate purposes, such as safety or fairness.
7) That presenting to the world as the gender other than your sex does not grant automatic entry into such services and spaces.
8) That none of the above means humans can “change sex”.
9) That presenting to the world as the gender other than your sex does not entitle you to insist that the rest of the world affirms any personal belief that you have “changed sex”.

Last edited 5 months ago by 54321
Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Until relatively recently the concepts of “gender” and “sex” were synonymous.
The definition of “gender” you present is a modern confection that was intentionally introduced to create confusion and act as a trojan horse for the pseudoscience of gender ideology.
Go back 30 years and nobody referred to what “gender” a person was except to clarify their sex. Parents at the school gate didn’t ask one another what “gender” their sons or daughters were. No man asked his friend about his “gender”.
The biological differences between males and females create typical behaviours and physicality. Of course, individual men and will display these characteristics to a greater or lesser extent. But we already have words to accommodate this in: “masculine” and “feminine”.
Instead of engaging in the fiction of “transgenderism” – something that doesn’t make sense on its own terms because there is no transition. It is an illogical extension of transsexualism – human societies have just described people who are atypical as feminine men or masculine women.
The human race got along pretty well for many thousands of years this way. The redefinition of “gender” has done nothing but introduce confusion and act as a means through which an extreme and dangerous ideology has swept through our institutions, presenting an imminent danger to women and children.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

You’re pretty much right, except for:

The definition of “gender” you present is a modern confection that was intentionally introduced to create confusion and act as a trojan horse for the pseudoscience of gender ideology.

The sex/gender dichotomy was introduced by feminists to remove any possibility of biological determinism. Gender was disconnected from biology so that it could be viewed as socially constructed and therefore malleable and capable of change. It long predates the current trans issue.

Dominic A
Dominic A
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

“The sex/gender dichotomy was introduced by feminists…”
The way I see it the difference is evident in millenia of writing – in words and phrases such as, ‘becoming a man’; ‘she’s a real woman’, effeminate, tomboy.

Recently listened to Richard E Grant, of all people, talking about a classification system of people he uses – male-female; male-male, female-male etc, to describe the leading and secondary personality traits. Try it out on the people you know – simplistic of course, but interesting – worked for me a treat!

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

You’re just not talking about the same thing. The feminist claim is basically that sex is purely physical, while gender (personality, behaviour, roles etc) is socially constructed. There is nothing traditional about that at all.

Dominic A
Dominic A
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

So one could say, ‘a new sex/gender dichotomy was introduced by feminists’. The dichotomy(s) having existed for a long time, which was my only point.

Janet G
Janet G
5 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I think the first person to use the word “gender” to apply to sex-role behaviours was John Money.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

The meaning of words mutates all the time. It’s nothing to worry about.

Rather than being a negative, think of this as an opportunity to clarify how sex and gender are different. Because then we have a language which can allow people to be whatever gender they dream up while recognising the immutable nature of sex.

miss pink
miss pink
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Okay. So explain what is the difference between sex and gender. To me, gender is a grammatical term.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  miss pink

I explain the difference in my post above.

Sex is a biological classification according to sexual dimorphism. Your body either produces large gametes (eggs) or small gametes (sperm) and has primary and secondary sexual characteristics organised around that, or would do except for developmental disorder or similar.

Gender is a set of cultural phenomena (characteristics, behaviour, artefacts etc) commonly associated with a sex. How we dress, how we speak, our names and titles etc.

Understanding this difference clearly allows us to say that gender is changeable, a man can wear a dress and lipstick and call himself Betty, just the same as he can wear black clothes and call himself a Goth. While maintaining that sex is immutable and remains the basis on which certain aspects of society are organised, eg women’s refuges.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

I don’t think your novel way of categorising humans which you call “gender” – as you describe it – is at all useful.
All you need to say is:
Human beings are sexually dimorphic.This sexual dimorphism extends to the brain and the way men and women think and behave.These differences lead inevitably to stereotypes about how men and women behave which – like any stereotypes – may be rooted in real differences but often become ridiculously exaggerated.No need for any new categorisation of humans other than male/female & adult/child/infant.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

The idea – as you must know – that the redefinition of “gender” has produced clarity is absurd.
Gender ideologues now actively dispute the scientific basis of sex and have conflated sex and gender, declaring through the lens of postmodernism that both are arbitrary constructs reflecting power within society.
Given the patent dangers and damage trans ideologues have already done to confused children and women, your assertion that there is nothing to worry about makes no sense.

54321
54321
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I’m not suggesting that sex and gender have been defined with clarity. Certainly not by TRAs who benefit from maintaining confusion.

I’m saying that if we recognise and clearly define sex and gender as different, ie. sex=biology and gender=cultural stuff, then we will have a language which will allow us to, for example, refuse entry to women’s single-sex spaces to men who identify as the female gender.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

There are actually two (at least) competing views on gender. The one as described above (basically a role determined by society). This is the default feminist view, consistent with post modernism and held by some people in the trans area.

The other is that gender is what you really are inside, regardless of what body you have or the role society thinks you should fill. It’s a bit like a soul or essence. Other people in the trans area hold this view.

The two are almost opposites.

Me – I think the sex/gender distinction is a piece of ideological sleight of hand. I don’t think sex and gender can be separated out in that way.

Janet G
Janet G
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Go back 80 years (to my childhood) and no-one used the word “gender” at all except when they were learning Latin, French or German at school.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Very succinctly put.

Dominic A
Dominic A
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

Excellent post – one day the government will pay a hedge of KC barristers a few hundred million quid to ‘discover’ the points you made. Even then, they will miss one or two and dance around several others.

philip kern
philip kern
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

There was a time when some of this behaviour was considered a cry for help. What is a child supposed to do today if he or she is desperately crying for help but everyone simply affirms whatever they might be doing?

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  54321

The only thing that really needs to be taught in schools is 1.
Sure – Gender Dysphoria – is a real clinical condition, but the number of people who genuinely suffer from it is tiny.
There are very many medical or psychological conditions that exist, and are much more common, but schools don’t go out of their way to teach about those.
Likewise 4 – people who are intersex. In reality almost no-one is born whose sex cannot be identified due to anomalous development of their sex organs.
If children are actually properly taught 1, they will understand it, and all the rest will fall into place.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
5 months ago

I can guarantee with absolute certainty that “those who brought us here” will never acknowledge what they have done.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
5 months ago

The Guardian says ‘“Children can be very confused about these things and just want to have a conversation about it and what it all means with a trusted adult,” one government insider said. “That shouldn’t necessarily mean it is automatically flagged to parents.”’

Name 3 transgender people you would trust to talk to teenage girls about their bodies.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

I’m hard pressed to think of three “trusted adults” within the system to talk to kids, irrespective of what those adults are or think they are. If someone told you 15 years ago that grownups would push for medical experimentation on kids, you’d wonder about their supply of tinfoil.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
5 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Indeed that is the problem. The number of teachers that can talk sensibly to a child regarding any confusion the child has on matters of their sex and to what extent they should conform to social norms in respect of masculine and feminine behaviour is now very small as a result of trans ideological propaganda.

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Right on. As a former teacher, I can attest that a great many teachers, who are otherwise intelligent and reasonable, have a big blind spot about ‘gender’, having been indoctrinated by past and current activists, so much so that any discussion that questions it is impossible. Confusion reigns.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago

I’d bet everything I own that they will never acknowledge what they’ve done and go on believing in their ideology despite reasoned arguments, scientific data, or public backlash, because they’re the dogmatic religious zealots in this equation. They’re every bit as devoted to their ideology as the terrorist who blows himself up to receive his 72 virgins and certainly far more than those they accuse of zealotry.

Last edited 5 months ago by Steve Jolly
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

What i’ve always wondered is where the 72 virgins come from? Whose population is producing them, thus massively depleting the female cohort and thus depriving 72 males of potential breeding partners?

Also, what happens to them once they’re no longer virgins, thus no longer deemed fit to be partners of anyone else? Is the poor blown-apart martyr meant to keep servicing them all, for eternity? I think Muslims need to rethink this…

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

To convince people that mass murder and suicide are noble things, the “reward” has to be equally out there.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

There’s a joke on one of America’s raunchy animated sitcoms where a terrorist walks into heaven and finds his 72 virgins are all nerdy computer guys. One of them asks if the terrorist would like to join them in playing Magic: The Gathering and he curses Osama bin Laden.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The virgins are created anew every day; once used by night, they just evaporate away, to be replenished by fresh virgins on the morn.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

So basically, they’re like the monsters in video games that respawn every so often just so players can slaughter them again. Good to know.

Paul S
Paul S
5 months ago

I wouldn’t hold my breath unfortunately. Ideologically captured people aren’t known for Mea Culpa. They’ll use rhetorical fortressing to ensure they’re well protected.

j watson
j watson
5 months ago

Sensible move by the Education dept that has taken too long. They need to ensure it’s not only ‘draft’ guidance for long.
However there is a nuance I don’t think should be lost. When we read such Articles and see references to parents being informed and having that right to be informed we tend to see it through our own parental prism. Most of us subscribers are probably middle class, educated and thoughtful (well most of us at least). The idea the details of what our child was saying/requesting/obtaining from teachers would be kept from us would be deemed an outrage. Yet not all parents are ‘us’ and not all parents are great. Some may be v dysfunctional, even abusive. Teachers have to navigate this and it is not as straightforward as we often think.

Last edited 5 months ago by j watson
S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

But this would be dealt with by the normal safeguarding protocols that all schools are required to have in place. Children can be at risk from parents, for example when disappointing academic results or over matters of poor attendance, and schools are aware of this and have procedures in place. Where necessary outside agencies with specific expertise are involved.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

I sometimes wonder, if a few decades back we took a wrong turning. A point at which we decided that normality itself was oppressive and should be decentred. The point which led to talk of toxic masculinity, cis heteronormativity and the rest. And set women against men.

Could we have taken a different course, which was happy to accept that being heterosexual and at home in your own body was the normal way to be – while still expanding our tolerance and acceptance for those who did not fit that norm? Which was content to loosen sexual stereotypes, without trying to tear up the whole distinction between masculinity and femininity.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
5 months ago

I have just read the full guidance and completed the consultation questionnaire.
https://consult.education.gov.uk/equalities-political-impartiality-anti-bullying-team/gender-questioning-children-proposed-guidance/
No doubt activist organisations will be getting as many people as possible to try to overturn what is actually a pretty unambiguous set of guidance. If those of us who largely support what the guidance says say nothing then they may succeed so can I encourage everyone to do the same it only took 30 mins to read the guidance and complete the online survey.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Well said.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
5 months ago

Mao used to take the ideologically pure away from their families and train them up for the People’s Liberation Army. These are his grandchildren, the gender activists.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Silly

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
5 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Real Marxism and cultural Marxism are not the same thing.

If you try to claim or promote any separate status in China based on gender distinctions, you will find your WeChat group shut down, and are likely to be summoned to give an account to the local party branch in whatever institution you’re in, as to why you’re attempting to foment divisiveness.

Last edited 5 months ago by Dumetrius
David Pogge
David Pogge
5 months ago

This all starts when some people deny reality and then use clever language to make the claim that doing so is an act of virtue. Those who do not share their counter-factual beliefs are then forced to either say things that they do not believe and know to be untrue, or risk being vilified, disenfranchised, and banished for speaking unpopular truths. As more and more data accumulate that make it clear that the ‘gender affirming care’ that is being so aggressively advocated is dangerous and harmful the fanaticism of those promoting this agenda will only intensify and their demands will only increase. The saddest and most ironic part is that the casualties they leave in their wake are the very people they claim that they wish to help.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
5 months ago

“ Perhaps, one day, those who brought us here will acknowledge what they’ve done.”

Dream on! These sorts of people never admit fault.

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

Perhaps, one day, those who brought us here will acknowledge what they’ve done.

But who is that? Surely feminists – with their insistence on deconstructing gender norms, the attacks on masculinity as toxic, and of traditional femininity as worse than a prison – have played a role. This has been rolling towards us for a long time. It wasn’t cooked up out of nothing in the last few years by a few trans activists.

William Jacobs
William Jacobs
5 months ago

I find it disturbing that you could compel public employees to parrot the words their customers want them to say, or face dismissal.
Requiring teachers to fight family battles in the classroom is nothing I expect teachers to do and yet teach the children what they’re supposed to.
Shall we insist teachers punish every utterance of profanity for every Christian parent that demands purity of tongue? Why is that parental upbringing tenet not required.
Should a child choose to put a prayer mat down and face Mecca, should teachers be required to enforce the parents’ faith?
Vice versa, if a child of an imam dons a cross upon entry to the school, are the teachers obligated to force the child to surrender it?
Parents can bring their children up at home. When they leave the house, it is a strong indicator of the parents’ methods whether teh child chooses to obey when not in direct eyesight and I do not see it as a good use of tax dollars to do teh same parenting being ignored/resisted.
Public education gets derided as low quality. This strikes me as an excellent way to make it substantially worse.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

I think that all the tjitter-chatter about everything, be it the color of one’s skin or the sexe of the body one is born in, should be vieuwed with an oversized portion of sceptism – in The Netherlands, where I come from, stipulated as “a hige grain of salt”. Let it all be, but DO NOT LET IT IN! Let it pass you, as an interesting topic for discussion or laughter but LET’S NOT TAKE IT ALL SO SERIEUS! Those who want to spend their time on these topics: let them be. Those who’d rather sit down with a good book: do so! Stay very close to yourself, to your feelings of harmony and beig certain of that harmony, just here and now.
Would you really start doubting about yourself? Then go into the world and ask it: “What woud you want me to do NOW?!” tHE ANSWER WILL BE: “HELP ME, PLEASE, NOW! Do not let your mind dwell on those things that can not be solved here and now: those things need to grow, in their own tim and own way and will come to the surface if they’re ready………………………….