In December, the government unveiled its guidance advising schools on how to deal with Transgender pupils. Make no mistake, this has nothing to do with “protecting” children in any way, shape, or form. This guidance only does one thing, it continues the governments attacks against our community, but instead of calling all Trans People risks to women and children like they have been for years now in articles, speeches, and parliamentary debates they are now changing their approach and targeting transgender kids.
The guidance, now entering a 12 week consultation period before it is expected to become statutory (Unless an election comes first), pushes schools into a corner where they can either negatively impact the mental health and safety of trans kids by rejecting their individuality and respecting their pronouns and additional safeguarding needs, or they can support them.
However, in order to support the social transition, the school must also out them to their parents. This means betraying the trust of the child, and possibly puts them in danger of abuse, and most definitely puts them at risk of serious mental health challenges including self harm, and suicide attempts by having their identity exposed before they are ready.
Frankly, Transgender people are open with the people we tryst, If their parents aren’t already aware then there’s probably a good reason for that, maybe the kid doesn’t feel safe telling their parents, maybe their parents are openly hostile towards trans people and the kid knows that if they tell their parents, their parents hostility will be turned on them.
Its more than that too, if this guidance becomes statutory it would allow single sex schools to refuse admittance to trans kids, teaching them at a young age that they are worth less than others, that there’s something wrong with them to the degree that they’re not allowed to mix with the people they identify with.
Notably absent yet again was the guidance on how to safeguard intersex kids, children born with a combination of male and female biological traits, because this government has absolutely no interest in protecting LGBTQIA+ people, they have no interest in protecting sexed spaces, their interest is whistle blowing and playing to the tune of the far right in the hopes they get the votes to stay in power, they just see trans people as an easy target.
High ranking conservative officials already made it clear that the government planned to fight the upcoming election on trans issues and this is just the start.
The conservative party have a long history of targeting the LGBTQIA+ community for political gain, such as the legislative ancestor of this guidance, section 28, and if you want to know what the long term effects of this guidance will be, the harm section 28 inflicted on our community is a perfect example.
According to research done by stonewall 25% of Trans people in the uk experience homelessness at some point.
And 77% of LGBTQ+ young people gave, 'family rejection, abuse or being asked to leave home' as a cause of their homelessness. This new guidance if it became statutory would put kids directly at risk of being kicked out of their homes which happens far too often as it is. This is a complete safeguarding nightmare and needs to be stopped in its tracks.
The only positive to the release of this guidance is that it is going into a 12 week consultation period, giving parents and teachers the opportunity to reject this safeguarding mismanagement that would put thousands of children at risk. With rumblings of unions planning to take action, this guidance looks set to be hotly contested.
The trans community had a horrible year in 2023, we’ve seen a massive rise in hate crimes, our lives and worth have been debated left right and centre, and we’ve even heard harmful rhetoric coming from the very top of our government system. But our year as a community started when Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old trans girl was killed, for whatever reason you want to believe. On the same week the killers were found guilty of murder, this guidance was released, teaching kids that some of them are different, not in a way that teaches them to be tolerant and inclusive; it just teaches them that they’re different. It teaches kids that for some reason some kids aren’t allowed to pee in the bathroom that matches their gender, change where they want, identify how they want and gives them the green light to bully. It gives a green light for an open season on Transgender children, and we will see more Brianna’s if this guidance becomes statutory.
Transgender children deserve better than this.
Written by Charlie Overfield (They/Them)
Founder of Hull Pledge, Queer Activist, and Political Representative.