The Daily Telegraph

Drag queen told young pupils of ‘73 genders’

Sex education in schools on Isle of Man suspended after parents object to ‘inappropri­ate’ speaker

- By Louisa Clarence-smith

SEX education has been suspended in Isle of Man schools after a drag queen, brought in as a guest speaker, allegedly told 11-year-olds there were 73 genders.

The Isle of Man government has launched an independen­t review of its personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum after parents raised the alarm about the “graphic, disproport­ionate, indecent presentati­on” of sexual acts and gender identities understood to have been taught in lessons.

Parents at Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel reported that Year 7 pupils were taught by a drag queen who told them there were 73 genders. When one “upset” child responded and said “there’s only two”, the guest speaker allegedly responded “you’ve upset me” and made the child leave the class.

Some 11-year-olds at the school were allegedly taught about oral and anal sex, while another group learnt about sexchange operations and were reportedly shown how a skin graft taken from a girl’s arm could be used on an artificial penis. “A lot of children are just too traumatise­d to even talk to their parents,” Eliza Cox, vice-chairman of Marown Commission­ers, told local radio station Energy FM. She claimed one teacher on the island had told her she had to teach a group of boys and girls in Years 7 and 8 how to masturbate. Another teacher was said to be so uncomforta­ble with the content of the PSHE curriculum that they urged pupils “please don’t listen to me” while they taught the lesson.

A petition by parents at Queen Elizabeth II High School has been launched, calling for an “immediate investigat­ion into the alleged actions of teachers delivering the age-inappropri­ate material to children”. The petition, addressed to the school’s head teacher and signed by more than 500 people, states: “We consider the attendance of a ‘drag queen’ in class and alienating students [who were] clearly confused about informatio­n discussed during this session [to be] wholly inappropri­ate.”

The self-governing crown dependency introduced a new PSHE curriculum in September but the Isle of Man government has now said it will commission an independen­t review to “gain an independen­t understand­ing of what has taken place”.

Miriam Cates, a Tory MP on the Commons education select committee, warned that parents in England were kept in the dark about age-inappropri­ate content taught to their children.

She said: “When parents raise serious safeguardi­ng concerns ... the right response is to pause these lessons while the matter can be investigat­ed. I applaud the authoritie­s in the Isle of Man for making this decision.”

However, she added: “Similar and worse materials are being used in schools across the UK and the Department for Education (DFE) has persistent­ly ignored whistleblo­wers.”

Charlotte Clarke, the head at Queen Elizabeth II High School, said: “Given the concerns being raised and, in order to be open and transparen­t, we requested an independen­t review into the situation ... and would encourage our community to avoid speculatio­n.”

The DFE in Westminste­r said: “Schools must make sure all content is factual and age-appropriat­e and engage with parents so they are aware of what their children are being taught. We will write to all schools this term to emphasise the rights of parents to see teaching materials being taught to their children in schools.”

‘Similar, or worse, material is used across the UK and the DFE has persistent­ly ignored whistleblo­wers’

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