Credit: Shutterstock / Pixabay

INTO course designed to ‘turn teachers into activists’ on transgender issues

An INTO course has told primary school teachers that they should be prepared to “challenge attitudes” in children, introduce transgenderism to Junior Infants, and get children to challenge their own beliefs on issues around gender.

Teachers were told they need to “task” themselves with “disrupting gender stereotypes”, and that “cisnormativity and heteronormativity is damaging to the LGBT+ community, as well as to all other members of society”.

The course also advises teachers how to facilitate ‘social transitioning’ (a child changing name/appearance) in primary schools, despite medical experts now warning that supporting such transition was “not a neutral act” and that it could have significant effects on the child’s psychological functioning.

Sandra Adams, a spokeswoman for the The Countess Schools and Safeguarding team, who have raised concerns about gender ideology  being pushed in schools, said that the course seemed designed to “turn teachers into activists”.

Teachers who have Junior or Senior Infant classes were encouraged in the course to use a picture book called ‘My Princess Boy’ as a “metaphor for transgender people” and to encourage children (usually aged 5-7) to “challenge their own concepts and ideas”.

Open photo

Another book on transgenderism, ‘10,000 dresses’, is aimed at 3rd and 4th – typically 9 and 10 year olds.

Teachers were told that the resource seeks to show children that transgender people find happiness in “living life as their true selves”, while it should also be used to encourage children to “be true to themselves”.

In this context, children should also take part in classroom activities and debate whether “boys and girls should only wear clothing from the boys’ and girls’ section of shops,” the teacher’s course said.

In the course – entitled ‘Creating an LGBT+ inclusive school’ and part of the INTO’s Professional Development Summer Course Programme 2023 – teachers were also advised to “change their language and lessons to make them trans/gender non-confirming inclusive”.


“Informing people about somebody’s social transition should be led by the person who is transitioning,” the course tells teachers. “Students could be informed with a planned day or half day of lessons related to gender identity. This would educate their classmates and inform them of a name and pronoun change.”

However, a NHS-commissioned report by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass warned last year that allowing children to “socially transition” was “not a neutral act”, that it could “have significant effects on the child or young person in terms of their psychological functioning” and that “better information is needed about outcomes.”

Earlier this year, NHS guidelines were redrafted to remind doctors that children may simply be going through a “transient phase” when they say they want to change sex.

The guidelines also cautioned medical practitioners to adopt a ‘watchful approach’ towards children, and to be mindful of the possibility of autism and other mental health conditions.

Professionals were reminded that it is not a “neutral act” for healthcare practitioners to facilitate children who want to transition socially by using their preferred new names or pronouns without consideration of other factors.

Now, schools in the UK are expected to be warned to take the same precautions against “socially transitioning” children who question their gender.

Much as with the NHS guidance, teachers will be told that allowing children to change their names and pronouns is not a neutral act and could have a significant impact on their psychological wellbeing.

Parents in the UK have been especially concerned after a report found that many secondary schools are letting children change gender without informing their parents.

Sandra Adams told Gript that there was “clear evidence from the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Sweden that social transition promotes and amplifies gender dysphoria/gender identity distress rather than alleviating it.”

“These jurisdictions are moving away from this model of care. In light of this knowledge it is negligent of the INTO to promote or to train teachers to facilitate social transition in the classroom,” she said.

“There is nothing neutral about confirming the lie that a child can be born in the wrong body or in co-opting the entire school community to participate in this fiction. The Ombudsman for Children’s recent Mental Health Survey, May 2023, shows that the numbers of students who do not identify with their birth sex has been increasing steadily from 1% in 2012 to 6% in 2023. The report also shows that 94% of those students who do not identify with their birth sex reported having some mental health difficulties, and 61% rated their mental health as “not good”. The promotion of social transition as a magic bullet to address a range or adolescent mental health problems is not working. It’s making things worse.”


The introduction to the INTO course acknowledged that the Department of Education and Skills (DES) have not issued “agreed guidelines” for teachers in the area, but a decision had been made by the INTO to provide the course nonetheless.

Ms Adams, said that the decision to run the course without DES guidance led to several pressing questions for the INTO.

“So who is responsible for the module if not the union hosting it – i.e. the INTO – and who takes the hit if the inaccuracies in this training cause harm,” she asked. “All Government department and public bodies have what’s called a Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty. Every policy should be impact and risk assessed before introducing any change. This is not being done.”

“It says there are no DES guidelines but teachers can ‘get ahead despite the lack of DES guidance’. Get ahead of whom exactly? Parents? People who actually understand the harm of this teaching?” she asked.

“Who is legally responsible for the harm to the rest of the peer group in the class. We’ll assume that a child being transitioned in primary school is being transitioned with the active participation of the parents. But the rest of the class don’t get a say,” she said.

The course was “significantly contributed to by the INTO LGBT+ Teachers’ Group, in particular,” the INTO introduction to the module said. The teachers’ grouping had been previously criticised for its production of a video for primary school teachers that promotes gender identity as fact.



The course defines “cisgender” as ” person whose gender identity and gender expression is aligned with the sex assigned at birth” – and advises that teachers “might hear LGBT+ people refer to their cisgender colleagues when they mean a colleague who is not trans or non-binary.”

“In Ireland, when a baby is born the doctors will look at their genitals and will declare a the baby male or female (other countries allow for a 3rd option, intersex). If you were assigned male at birth and you are a man, you are a cisgender man. If you were assigned female at birth and you are a woman, you a cisgender woman. If your gender identity does not align with your sex assigned at birth, you are trans or non-binary,” it claims.

Ms Adams said that the course promoted an organisation called Educate and Celebrate as a source of information regarding gender neutral toilets in schools.

“This organisation should be nowhere near education,” she said. “On February 8th 2020 by Dr. Elly Barnes, CEO of Educate and Celebrate a UK based LGBT+ education addressed an “Equality Conference” of the INTO. Ms Barnes advised schools when embarking on LBGT+ education “don’t send a letter home…[or] hold a parents meeting”…….we’ve had to have parent consultations, and the only advice I can give you around that is, don’t send a letter home to say you’re about to embark on this work…….That’s the worst thing you can do.”

Educate and Celebrate also list controversial figure Peter Tatchell as a patron. Mr Tatchell has become a leading rights campaigner in Britain, but he has also previoulsy stated that ‘not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive or harmful’.

“The INTO invited Dr. Barnes to address the conference. Were they aware of Mr Tatchell’s involvement with Educate and Celebrate? Does the INTO endorse Dr Barnes advise that parents should be kept in the dark about what their children are being taught?” Ms Adams asked.

The Countess spokeswoman also said that the course directed  teachers to an interview with Ray Darcy on RTE 2, where parents state at the end of the interview that puberty blockers are reversible.

“Puberty blockers are not reversible,” she said, pointing to a decision by the NHS to stop prescribing the treatment to children outside of clinical trials, which was followed by the HSE’s decision to order a review of same.

The course brought teachers through a variety of ‘identities’ including being pansexual, gender queer, asexual and non-binary. They are told that is they make a “mistake” regarding a person’s identity to apologise and continue the conversation.

They are reminded that “verbal introductions and check-ins are great opportunities to solicit pronouns when meeting a new staff member or parent/guardian”. Examples are given: “My name is Louise and my pronouns are she and her. What about you?” and “What pronouns do you use?”.

The INTO have been asked for comment.


Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related Comments Members can comment by siging in to their account. Non-members can register to comment for free here.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do you agree with the Government's plan to reduce speed limits?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...