by Debbie Hayton
Tuesday, 11
October 2022
Reaction
16:09

Teachers’ union seeks to change definition of transphobia

Trans lobbyists want the term to go 'above and beyond legal compliance'
by Debbie Hayton
Credit: Getty

I am a teacher but I am not, and I have never been, a member of the National Education Union. That’s just as well considering the extent to which transgender ideology has gripped the union. At their conference last year, delegates waved through a motion that instructed the Union’s National Executive to work with the Trans and Non-Binary Network (TNBN) to develop a Union definition of transphobia that goes “above and beyond legal compliance”.

It seems that their wish has been granted. Proposals apparently written by the TNBN — and seen by UnHerd — suggest that “transphobia comes from a rejection of trans identity and a refusal to acknowledge that those identities are real or valid.” But what does that mean in practice?


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I’m trans, and I have no idea what a “trans identity” might be. As far as I am concerned, I am a human being whose mental health suffered as a result of a chronic psychological disorder. Gender reassignment offered some palliative relief. I’m thankful that I live in a society that accepts and includes trans people, and where it is illegal to treat us less favourably. What more do I need?

But the TNBN is on a mission not only to go beyond the law but also, it seems, to become the arbiters of what is allowed to be said.

The proposal continued with a series of examples of transphobic behaviour that “can come in many different forms”. Top of the list was the “incorrect use of pronouns”, swiftly followed by a garbled mishmash of ideas:

Propagating ideas, concepts and misinformation harmful to trans people and which erase and ignore trans history, such as trans as an ideology or contagion.
- Trans and Non-Binary Network

This has the hallmarks of a power-grab by an activist lobby that thinks it can determine the correct use of pronouns. If it gets its way, where does that leave members of the Union who think differently? Perhaps, teachers who hold the view that pronouns indicate someone’s sex? In extremis, where would it leave a member who was unwilling to refer to a male rapist as “she”? In a kangaroo court it would seem.

Those of us who can recognise a quasi-religious ideology when it stares us in the face — and demands our compliance — or who have weighed the evidence and concluded that there is indeed a contagion among children who identify as transgender, are presumably transphobic.

Further down the list, physical spaces are cited. Deliberate exclusion of trans people? Transphobia! Pity the women in the Union who might want to maintain single-sex spaces.

This astonishing, and badly written, document not only goes beyond the law — it makes demands incompatible with the law. That is especially the case following Maya Forstater’s Employment Appeals Tribunal victory. The National Executive Committee must consign this document to the bin. No doubt they will face further accusations of transphobia but, frankly, the word has become overused to the point where it is now meaningless.

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Aaron James
Aaron James
1 month ago

As farmers unions are not about the welfare of the sheep, chickens, pigs and cows – so teachers Unions are nothing about the welfare of the students.

This is a common mistake one makes when thinking of teaching unions; that they are about Teaching, and thus Students receiving the best educations. They are about protecting teachers from having to succeed at teaching wile receiving as many benefits as can be extorted by collective actions.

In fact they are about protecting union jobs by making it impossible to cull bad teachers, give greater benefits, more pay wile lessening the job difficulty, and uncoupling teachers success from the student’s success.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

No, I actually think teaching unions do care about pupils – but their political positions are increasingly wrong or misguided in some areas.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Ah disagree Graeme, the Teaching unions have a long history of undermining the education of children.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Could you provide some specific evidence? Thanks.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Ah Graeme, seeking evidence that the sky is blue. Just Google their history instead of kicking out the disingenuous ‘where’s your evidence’ query.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Oh, I thought you had some examples to hand….

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Here’s one: In the US, the teacher’s unions were the leading force behind keeping schools shuttered, while teachers got paid to do nothing.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

Eh ? Teachers got “paid to do nothing”? I thought the school work went on-line? Not a perfect solution, I grant…..I think it was other workers who were paid to stay home?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Some schools were very good others were atrocious. In general, there was a marked difference between private and state schools but then parents who were paying would not have tolerated less teaching.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Yeeeeaaah. Online teaching and Zoom classes. If I “taught” my students like that, they’d learn nothing at all. But that, I suspect, was the point all along.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Circumstantial, if not specific, evidence.
In my long-ish life I’ve never heard of a teacher’s union advocating for a higher quality of education; for more rigorous standards, text books with more text than pictures.
So while teachers, parents and administrators have been arguing for decades, the one constant is the dumbing-down of standards.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

Teaching unions failed to argue for “text books with more text than pictures” ? …..Art text books are awful, aren’t they ? !

Jay Toran
Jay Toran
23 days ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

I’m sorry. But is this edge case supposed to be relevant to the discussion? Because it isn’t.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Teachers’ unions, almost by definition, exist to promote the interests of their members, not the interests of those whom their members teach. It is possible that, on occasion, the aims of the two groups – teachers and students – might coincide. Indeed, this might generally be considered a sign that a union was on the right track. However, we need to bear in mind that even when this is the case, it is not a matter of intent or design, but merely one of serendipity.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

Teachers (who teaching unions represent) don’t care about the education of children…? Really….? No. And you provide no evidence..

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Wow wholeheartedly agreeing with you on this Aaron. That’s twice in two weeks, think I’ll go and lie down in a dark room.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 month ago

Do others here agree that Teachers Unions are mostly directed at actively harming children’s education, bringing teaching into disrepute, and acting as a political force to get those who hate their country elected to government?

Because that is always how they appear to be acting – as well as the decline in education the education industry produces year after year, and at greater costs shows they have a very suspect agenda.

(and how they behaved during the covid plandemic was a crime against humanity)
(I say all this because a bad teacher leaves so much damage in their wake, more than any other profession – I speak from experience. I had some bad teachers which sent me (obviously my fault mostly – but they were part of it too) into a wild rebellious position where I refused to do education, and dropped out eventually almost uneducated – lived years on the streets as a down and out drifter, was a stoner, and took years to settle down from – and then did my high school as an adult later. A bad teacher is something who can cause hugely disproportionate harm.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Aaron James
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Yes I do agree.

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Yes, I agree. Here in New Zealand, the Post-Primary Teachers Association has called on the government to end streaming, because apparently streaming is racist and sexist.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

There may be arguments or evidence against streaming (or in favour) I wouldn’t think racism or sexism was among them…

Last edited 1 month ago by Graeme Kemp
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

The Atlantic just published an article called The Racial Inequality of Sleep, so there is little racism can’t do.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

What arguments do they use?!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

“Argument”? That’s hate speech. They make assertions. No examples or back up is necessary. But do read the silly thing yourself: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/the-sleep-gap-and-racial-inequality/412405/

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Agreed.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

I was very successful academically as a child, mainly due to my parents with a little from the teachers. But even then I recognised that there were many clever kids alongside me who got left behind by poor teachers or an unhelpful examination system, and ended up dropping out of school. So much unrealised potential.

But then as a manager over the years I had the great pleasure of helping such people with no or few qualifications through adult education, job experience and training to go from very junior positions to senior positions – realising their potential, albeit later in life. This was especially applicable to women who married early in adulthood and were often left at the bottom of the pile.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ian Stewart
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Sounded like you had more issues than merely dealing with a couple of incompetent teachers. I arsed around in my middle years at school (14 – 18), and made up the shortfall in later years. But primary responsibility for my messing about remained with me.  

Jay Toran
Jay Toran
23 days ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Yes. Agreed.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

Well, one answer is to leave the National Education Union (NEU) – stop handing them money. There are unions like Affinity who seem to have a belief in free speech and fights for the rights of members: https://workaffinity.co.uk/

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

“I am a teacher but I am not, and I have never been, a member of the National Education Union.”

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 month ago

The NEU used to be OK.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago

There is always a section of society that delights in having the opportunity to punish people for invented offences.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 month ago

It is interesting that teachers unions seem to care so little that they are enraging parents and giving their opponents ammunition with their ideological signalling. They think they are untouchable but that is not true. If people can’t change the system – they will l leave it. In Arizona they have massively expanded a school voucher system that will lead to many more kids leaving the system. If it is copied in other US states it could trigger a crisis in the public school system.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Let’s hope so.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 month ago

Perfectly predictable. Seek to expand the definition to such a point that any dissent whatsoever to the ideology amounts to a hate crime and criminal prosecution.

And the people pushing for this are almost certainly the ones that are quickest to throw around the accusation of Fascism.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

Teachers and administrators in the US do such a bad job that they blame their bad teaching on a phenomenon called systemic racism.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

We do NOT care about this tedious, woke and irrelevant subject

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago

I find it interesting, in an horrific “where’s society heading / how dumber can people become” sort of way …

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

I do. I have a family member who is trans and have witnessed firsthand the damage this ideology has caused across three generations. While I am somewhat sympathetic to the jumbled mental state of these individuals, it should not become ‘normalized’ and promoted among young children which is happening in the US, and perhaps in other parts of the world too. It’s akin to a tobacco company coming into schools and promoting cigarettes.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It’s being accepted uncritically in Australia, following the USA’s lead. There is no prominent or comparable reporting on UK happenings like that clinic which shall not be named.

Last edited 1 month ago by Brendan O'Leary
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 month ago

Perhaps the article that I posted earlier will get approved. In the3 meantime, assuming it was a substack link that was unwanted, I will try:
I read in the Journal Of Free Black Thought substack, an article entitled ‘Prepare for More Black Mathletes’. Seems that the people of Houston made an experiment and paid off by buying out the teacher contracts of 46% of the teachers, and replacing them with people who were instructed to try a different method of teaching which they copied from charter schools.
Things went really well, but you wonder if this is the Dead Cat Bounce, or something that would only work in the districts where they tried it or if they are really onto something? Anybody from Houston here? How’s the project going now?

Last edited 1 month ago by Laura Creighton
Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
1 month ago

deleted

Last edited 1 month ago by Aphrodite Rises