Leaked document: girls “ignored” for trans rights in new rules for schools

A leaked document reveals that new policies proposed for schools in England and Wales will allow male pupils who change gender to use female changing rooms, amongst other requirements.

The draft document produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been described as “ignoring the rights of girls”.

The Sunday Times reports that the new rules would apply to pupils born male “who are simply exploring their gender identity”, with or without medical intervention.

“In sensitive areas of day-to-day life, where pupils have traditionally been separated by sex, schools will either be required or advised to open up to those identifying as the same gender,” the paper writes.

“On school trips, schools can lawfully decide to place trans pupils in single-sex rooms if they identify with that gender. A policy that requires all pupils to use the facilities of the sex recorded for them at birth could amount to indirect discrimination against a trans pupil.”

Parents have said they are appalled by the document and described it as ignoring the rights and the needs of girls.

The paper quotes Tanya Carter, of the campaign group the Safe Schools Alliance, which includes parents, doctors and teachers.

“She highlighted the case of sex education classes for girls, which must now be opened up to trans girls. ‘What use is it to that pupil to learn about periods or breast development? No one is asking the girls whether they would feel happy with a trans pupil in that group. The EHRC has not listened to the voices of the concerned parents and teachers who would have to deal with the fallout if these policies are put into practice’.”

Teachers are warned in the document that they will be in breach of the law if they fail to call transgender pupils by their new names and pronouns. The Equality and Human Rights Commissions says pupils need only obtain parental consent to change their name, and teachers are expected to be vigilant in enforcing the change, with a requirement to “investigate concerns about repeated or deliberate use of a previous name or pronoun.”

The EHRC told The Sunday Times in a statement: “This document is a draft. This will be an important document for schools to help them support all children and meet their legal duties under the Equality Act.”

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