After promising since 2018 to release transgender guidelines for schools, the government has said it will release details by Christmas.
Even then, recommendations on how teachers should deal with an increasing number of students questioning their gender will not come into force for some months. The publication of these guidelines will be followed by what Education Secretary Gillian Keegan described as a “long consultation.”
We will get it out before Christmas. And then we’ll have a long consultation because I don’t want teachers to spend their Christmas worrying about it as much as I’ve spent most of the year worried about it.
Details of the expected guidelines are so far slim. The Daily Telegraph reports that these are “expected to tell schools that they can stop children entering opposite-sex toilets and prevent them from joining opposite-sex sports teams.” But the government has been flip-flopping so much on the issue of transgender issues in recent months that, at this stage, next-to-nothing can be said for certain.
PinkNews, which describes itself as the “most influential LGBTQ+ media brand,” cited teachers who said they are concerned about “the potential of having to inform on pupils if they wear opposite gender clothes or begin to use a new name, especially if their parents are transphobic.”
But given the Conservative government’s recent decision to push ahead with banning trans conversion therapy, which could criminalise conversations between parents and their children, it appears as though social conservatives ought really to be concerned about the likelihood of parents being left in the dark about significant decisions being made by their children.
With no firm guidelines in place, some schools have already been allowing students to change their gender identity without notifying their parents. It is not at all certain that these institutions will stop doing this even if the upcoming guidelines recommend the opposite action.