Trans­gen­der pupils ‘to use any chang­ing rooms they choose’

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Kate Fos­ter Scot­tish Health Edi­tor

SCHOOLS have been told to al­low trans­gen­der pupils to use any toi­let or chang­ing room they wish – and to ed­u­cate any com­plain­ing par­ents about their ‘mis­con­cep­tions’.

Con­tro­ver­sial guid­ance has been is­sued to Scots pri­maries and sec­on­daries to make them more ‘in­clu­sive’.

It says trans­gen­der chil­dren – those who do not iden­tify with the sex as­signed at birth – should be able to share rooms on school trips with oth­ers who share their gen­der iden­tity, and there is ‘no rea­son’ to in­form the par­ents of the other chil­dren.

Mean­while, pupils who feel ‘un­com­fort­able’ about shar­ing fa­cil­i­ties should be sent to other toi­lets or told to get changed af­ter the trans young per­son.

The guid­ance, pub­lished this week by LGBT Youth Scot­land, is en­dorsed by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and 16 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

But par­ents’ groups are an­gry that such pupils will have ‘priv­i­leges’ over oth­ers.

The guid­ance, Sup­port­ing Trans­gen­der Young Peo­ple, is backed by 31 or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing lo­cal coun­cils, health boards and chil­dren’s groups. Its pub­li­ca­tion comes as the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers pro­pos­als which would let chil­dren have the right to legally change gen­der be­fore hit­ting pu­berty.

Plans an­nounced on Thurs­day would per­mit those as young as 12 to switch or iden­tify as nei­ther male nor fe­male – with­out parental con­sent.

A grow­ing num­ber of Scots chil- dren are iden­ti­fy­ing as trans­gen­der, with 188 un­der-18s be­ing re­ferred to Scot­land’s largest gen­der iden­tity clinic – the Sandy­ford, in Glas­gow – last year.

A re­cent study found 77 per cent of trans­gen­der young­sters had been bul­lied in school.

The new report says: ‘Be­ing able to use the school toi­lets and chang­ing rooms is fun­da­men­tal to young peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ence of school.’

At ceilidhs and school dances, it says phrases such as ‘gen­tle­men, spin your ladies’ should be re­placed with ‘those on the out­side, spin your part­ners’.

Fer­gus McMil­lan, chief ex­ec­u­tive of LGBT Youth Scot­land, said: ‘We want to as­sist in cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive school ethos, where all young peo­ple, in­clud­ing trans young peo­ple, can ben­e­fit from re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ships and achieve their full po­ten­tial.’

But Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Trans­gen­der Trend, a sup­port group for par­ents ques­tion­ing the tran­si­tion of chil­dren, said: ‘We are cre­at­ing mon­sters here. This guid­ance gives trans­gen­der chil­dren priv­i­leges and enor­mous power over oth­ers.

‘Schools should be gently sup­port­ive of chil­dren with gen­der dys­pho­ria… but call­ing kids trans does not mag­i­cally trans­form boys into girls or girls into boys. Par­ents are very an­gry that schools are deny­ing ba­sic bi­ol­ogy.’

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: ‘We wel­come this pub­li­ca­tion, which out­lines the sim­ple steps that can be taken to en­sure no one ex­pe­ri­ences dis­crim­i­na­tion or prej­u­dice be­cause of their gen­der iden­tity.’

‘Deny­ing ba­sic bi­ol­ogy’

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