by Debbie Hayton
Monday, 3
January 2022
Reaction
11:30

A win for common sense at the Girls’ Day School Trust

The body deferred to established law, not Stonewall law
by Debbie Hayton
Kensington Prep School is a member of the GDST, which revised its policy for trans admissions this week

We live in strange times when schools are applauded for applying the law. The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), which represents 25 schools across England, has revised its admissions policy for pupils who identify as transgender.

Unfortunately, the headlines in the press have been somewhat misleading. “Trans pupils are turned down by girls’ schools as threat to status,” said one. But this policy is not about gender reassignment; it is about sex.

As the law stands, children in the UK cannot acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate which means they cannot change their legal sex. So that means that there is no question about girls’ schools excluding girls who choose to identify as boys: they are still female legally as well as biologically. Trans-identified girls are not being turned down.

The group being excluded are boys who identify as girls, but not because of their gender identity. One only needs to look as far as the Equality Act 2010, which allows single-sex schools to “refuse to admit pupils of the opposite sex” [my emphasis]. Those boys remain legally male and therefore ineligible.

The Equality Act does permit single-sex schools to make some exceptions without losing their single-sex status, but those are limited and pragmatic. For example, a girls’ school may offer certain courses that are not offered to boys in their own school. A colleague who taught in a Birmingham girls’ school for 14 years told me that:

Boys did join us for some A-Level classes but it worked because their own school was only next door, so they were never too far from their own facilities. All our pupil toilets and changing rooms were for girls.
- Pupil

But boys who identity as girls and seek admission to a girls’ school would hardly want to use the facilities in the neighbouring boys school. If they have been led to believe that they are girls, then they are likely to demand to use the girls’ toilets and changing rooms. In other words: expect the girls to budge up and make room. That is unreasonable and thankfully the law is clear about it.

But while that might be the real law, for too long the trans lobby has been promoting Stonewall Law — “the law as Stonewall would prefer it to be” — in the words of barrister Akua Reindorf, recently appointed as an EHRC commissioner.

No doubt the lobby will be upset by the GDST policy, but schools must not be misled by them. In the recent past Stonewall Law has been introduced into too many organisations without apparent challenge. But this stand by the GDST is one more sign that things might be changing and both the real law and common sense might be returning. For that they should be applauded.

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Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago

‘Common sense might be returning’. I hope you’re right Debbie, and if you are it will be due in no small measure to the efforts of people like you. Many thanks, and happy new year.

Angelique Todesco-Bond
Angelique Todesco-Bond
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Absolutely second this comment, Debbie you are fast becoming my go-to Guru on this topic, you always give a thoroughly, well-argued and balanced view. It is people like yourself who will be the change that trans people need. Normality not pedestals.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
4 months ago

Absolutely agree. Bless you Debbie, for all the work that you do.

Tim Knight
Tim Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I absolutely agree. Thank you Debbie. And happy new year.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
4 months ago

The whole situation is still troubling, though. According to the Times report GDST will be accommodating girls who claim to be boys and apparently there are far more of them. So the waters are already muddied as a child’s claim of gender identity must be affirmed. It’s in Stonewall’s and other trans organisations’ interest to encourage supposedly trans children because this in time will undermine single sex schools.The pressure on single sex spaces and the provisions of the Equality Act will increase. The future is theirs unless the whole ideology is dismantled.

Last edited 4 months ago by Judy Englander
David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

According to the Times report GDST will be accommodating girls who claim to be boys and apparently there are far more of them.

But only since very recently. What we really need to know is what on Earth is going on. What is the substrate, if you like, on which this desire to be male (or believe that you “really are” male) is built.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

‘The Rise and t/riumph of the Modern Self’ by Carl Trueman is fascinating on this subject!

Peter LR
Peter LR
4 months ago

Thanks, Debbie: “As the law stands, children in the UK cannot acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate which means they cannot change their legal sex.” Simple isn’t it.
I did think that single-sex schools might escape the ravages that gender stuff imposes. My teacher friend in a mixed school got in trouble for misnaming someone; but they had already changed their name for the third time. All the common sense people have got to win this one. What adults choose to do is entirely up to them and shouldn’t affect the wider community to the degree that a minority can in a school community.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
4 months ago

Thanks Debbie, Happy New Year!

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
4 months ago

Good!

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
4 months ago

Some good news for the New Year.

James Joyce
James Joyce
4 months ago

As the law stands, children in the UK cannot acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate which means they cannot change their legal sex.
The commentators seem to approve of this piece and some suggest that “common sense is returning,” but is that really the case?
The quote above refers to “charing one’s legal sex,” which might be read as “changing one’s biological sex,” which seems oxymoronic to me.
This whole transgender “thing” is a fad, in my view. Yes, some exceedingly rare number of people may have such a condition, but for MANY people to have it and then be immediately “affirmed” strikes me as being off. I was unpopular, and then I came out, and everyone “affirmed” me. Be careful what you wish for, mate, actions have consequences. One can get caught up in one’s own ploy, as a friend likes to say. 
I don’t even claim to understand what is going on here and frankly I’m not that interested. Let’s treat all people with respect–at least initially, until they deserve otherwise–support trans people by treating them normally, based on how they act, if they are good people. But enough already!

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
4 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

The quote above refers to “charing one’s legal sex,” which might be read as “changing one’s biological sex,” which seems oxymoronic to me.
Yes. It just means creating a legal fiction so that in the domain of law one can be regarded as if they changed sex, but have not done so in reality. In law sex is still biology but the creation of a legal fiction creates a fictional bubble within the domain of law. At least that is my understanding.

Al M
Al M
4 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

The quote above refers to “charing [sic] one’s legal sex,” which might be read as “changing one’s biological sex,” which seems oxymoronic to me.”
As a student of biological sciences rather than law, I’m happy to be corrected; but surely many areas of law are predicated on ideas that have no basis in physical reality. An individual may change nationality, but without the same familial or cultural background as the settled majority; the conceptual entity of a corporation may be afforded the same rights as a named individual; during WWII, a brown bear became an enlisted soldier in a Polish artillery division. The bear had no idea he was an artilleryman, but according to Allied military authorities he was.
What Debbie’s articles contain is an affirmation of what you address. Much like changing nationality, changing sex under law is a request that the individual makes of a society. If this is morally neutral and has no negative impact on others, then the individual should be granted their wish – with conditions. The current process in the UK understands the significance of this decision, requiring the individual to show commitment and a genuine need to make the change. The problems come when barriers to the process are lowered and, as we see, are amplified by aggressive lobbying groups who attempt to subvert the law. Their MO is to move beyond ideas of reciprocal acceptance in order to exploit the experiences of individuals for their own ends; and from there to invalidate the lived experience (or observed reality) of the majority. Actions do have consequences.
As for the decision of the The Girls’ Day School Trust, this represents a green shoot for common sense, observing the law is it stands, and resisting the influence of hectoring lobbyists.

James Joyce
James Joyce
4 months ago
Reply to  Al M

There was a Dutch guy on BBC some years ago who wanted to change his age officially.
Hear me out. He said that he had been medically certified, his heart, mental, all aspects of health suggested that his desired age was much lower than his chronological age. 
Female BBC reporter really tried to take the mickey…. But you’re 65, not 45. Yeah, but I feel 45, doctors have certified that I have the heart/mind of a 45 year old….
BBC reporter just kept saying But you’re not 45….
Sure you want to stand by what you said? He’s not hurting anyone, is he? In fact, he said he wanted to change his age officially so he could go on dating sites and “honestly” say he was 45, that he was being discriminated against because his true 45 year old identity was limited by society’s arbitrary rules. He felt 45, he had medical certification, where’s the harm?
Or was Auntie being “ageist.” Imagine the furor if a BBC reporter conducted an interview with an aspiring trans person like that….
But you’re not a girl, you have male anatomy…..
Unintentionally one of the best BBC interviews ever….

Tom May
Tom May
4 months ago
Reply to  Al M

A nationality is a legal fiction. It’s made up and a complete random thing based on who your parents are, where you were born and grew up. A corporation is a legal fiction that allows people to cooperate and take and share risk (lefties would say that a corporation’s primary purpose is to exploit other). Sex is concrete and embedded in physical reality.

William Cameron
William Cameron
4 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

But difficult to treat people who call you phobic -with respect . Their position is agree with us or you are transphobic

James Joyce
James Joyce
4 months ago

No. I said treat individual trans people with respect–if they deserve it. Always start initially with respect, BUT if that is not merited, give it a go….

Warren T
Warren T
4 months ago

Glad to see some good, old fashioned common sense law prevail for once.

Andrea Re
Andrea Re
4 months ago

Busy day for Debbie 😀

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
4 months ago

Amen to that Debbie.
There does seem to be a slight glimmer of hope that common sense is returning.

Marcia McGrail
Marcia McGrail
4 months ago

Good grief! Why is a school conferation’s confirmation of its on-going status even being discussed! Who else’s business is it anyway?
Sheer, utter tittletattle text selling lunacy.