and Gender Ideology :
What’s the Problem?
Schools should be providing an environment that supports and facilitates children’s resilience in learning and emotional well-being. Parents and carers should be able to feel secure in the knowledge that when their child or children attend school they are as safe as possible, both physically and psychologically. Currently, due to an agenda being driven by activists, Scottish schools are at risk of promoting a potentially harmful ideology albeit, perhaps unwittingly. ScotPAG professionals are working to support everyone to be aware of the potential harms that the promotion of gender ideology in education can have.
The Psychological Development of Children and Teenagers
We know from decades of psychological research that children and teenagers develop a gradual sense of themselves and their individual identity. This is based on a variety of factors impacting on and interacting with each individual child or teenager. So a child’s developing personality, their learning predispositions, their family environment, the impact of experiences and their immediate community including school, all have a potentially significant impact and influence on how a child develops. So psychological and emotional development for any child is a mixture of influential internal and external factors.
A child’s positive health and wellbeing is dependent on him or her being subject to a balance of learning experiences in safe and supportive environments with feedback which supports the child to understand concepts and ideas about their world. These ongoing developments throughout childhood, help the child and the teenager to progress in their learning and in their sense of themselves; that is that individual’s identity. No child is born with an innate sense or feeling about who they are. Children and teenagers are highly suggestible and open to influence as they grow and learn because that is how they develop towards adulthood.
A major problem with gender ideology is that it is based on false facts and where is it presented as truth in the school curriculum, this is confusing and misleading for all children and teenagers.
There is also growing evidence that social media is a major influence on children’s attitudes and perceptions and yet there does not appear to be any strategic planning across Scottish schools to assess and gather information about its impact on pupils. So in Scotland, the influence of social media combined with schools’ promotion of gender ideology alongside institutional capture is creating a context that raises various safeguarding concerns. It becomes a tricky balance for all parents to provide a supportive home environment which sets sensible boundaries to keep a child or teenager safe while they are supported to become increasingly independent and more self-reliant
The Scottish Educational Context
There is a history of gender ideology activism happening
over at least the last five years in Scottish education.
A combination of cuts to Councils, and Scottish Government
funding of lobby groups such as LGBT Youth Scotland and
Trans Alliance has meant that these lobby groups have
drafted guidance for schools and staff training rather than
educational practitioners and experts. Where professionals
and individuals have pointed out risks and safeguarding
issues, their concerns have largely been dismissed or
shut down as ‘transphobic’.
ScotPAG has concerns about the Scottish Government’s Guidelines: Supporting Transgender Pupils in Schools and elements of the resource Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP). Both resources present the theory of gender ideology as fact. There is no evidence to prove that children are born ‘trans’ and there is no clear definition of what is meant by the term ‘trans’. There is good evidence that the idea of the ‘trans child’ is a 21st century invention (M.Biggs 2019). Both the RSHP and the Scottish Government’s Guidelines Supporting Transgender Pupils in Schools, use resources which suggest that children can be ‘born in the wrong body’; both claim that ‘sex is assigned at birth’; both refer to children being ‘trans’ as a real concept.
Children’s emotional wellbeing depends on schools not providing leading material or resources which state that children and teenagers can be something that is not physically or biologically possible.
The RSHP has some useful sections but there is an underlying thread throughout that assumes gender ideology is real. RSHP includes worrying videos including a cartoon about a four year old boy who says he wants to be a girl and is affirmed by the parent. The resources sections recommend references used and written by activist organisations (eg Mermaids and LBGT Youth Scotland) without the balance of educational and psychological expertise. A worrying aspect of this is that LGBTQ youth groups and others present their materials using fairytale-like terms with colourful avatars and cartoons. This can only mislead and confuse children and teenagers. Children are potentially being sold a fantasy which infantalises and appeases them. This cannot facilitate the development of an informed and healthy mind.
Arguably, teachers’ wellbeing is also being affected. If their school is using the guidance, Supporting Transgender Pupils in Schools, they are actively and perhaps unwittingly, promoting untruths and causing potential psychological harm to children and teenagers. The guidance supports ‘trans’ affirmation and social transitioning amongst other potential harms (eg the use of breast binders). In future, headteachers and teachers may be held responsible for causing psychological harm, particularly to vulnerable pupils, and physical harm if they follow the medicalisation route.
Preventing Harm in Schools
For concerned parents and professionals, here’s a starter
preventive suggestions for schools. These suggestions aim, as far
as is possible in the current context, to minimise the harms that can
be caused by the promotion of gender ideology in schools
Here’s what to do to start off
For Schools/concerned staff
- Stop using Scottish Government guidance Supporting Transgender
Pupils in Schools
- Refer to Transgender Trend or Sex Matters guidance for schools
- If using RSHP, pick only the parts reflecting facts, avoid the fictions
- Advise caution regarding accessing LGBT Youth Scotland
- Keep toilets & changing rooms single sex
- Parental contact is essential where a pupil suggests he or she is
- Remember that affirming child as ‘trans’ is not a neutral act
For Parents/Carers/Families - Preventing GI Harm in Schools Checklist
Use the checklist below to discuss and address any gender ideology
concerns that you may have with your school. Ideally, concerned parents
should use this checklist with their local schools to work together to
develop a safeguarding plan aimed at preventing emotional harms
potentially caused by gender ideology approaches.
Check list for schools
Update your child’s school on the latest guidance
The Equality and Human Rights Commission recently updated its technical guidance on the Equality Act for schools in England and Scotland.
Below you will find a link to the briefing for school head teachers, on the updated guidance, including that for Scotland. Sex Matters has also written to the EHRC with some remaining concerns about this guidance.
More to think about for future planning
* Be clear that a child identifying as ‘trans’ is potentially a ‘red flag’ and that other work
needs to be done & NOT affirmation or transition
* Think about and develop a plan to address potential and actual social contagion
* Plan and implement a school strategy to build emotional resilience for all pupils (gender ideology promotes victimhood, this is not helpful for developing positive
* What is happening with Parents Committees/Staff groups etc?
* What your school is putting online?
* Form a concerned parents’ and/or staff group
* Seek a meeting with the HT/school management be clear what you think is ok/not ok
* If need be, complain
What education professionals & parents say
Comments taken with permission from signatories to our petition to the Scottish Government
Children and young people are being groomed in schools and social media into believing that you can change sex which is completely untrue. There is no transparency on how going down the trans route/medication is likely to make them infertile and be life long medical patients. Doctors are being told to affirm, there is no authority investigating their mental health. This is extremely concerning and every single parent should be extremely concerned as to what their schools are teaching their children
Transgenderism is not a subject to be anywhere near a school. It is a theory and not a fact. Stick to teaching children how to read and write and how about teach them to be critical thinkers instead of teaching them to rely on authority
The cult of Gender Ideology needs to be totally removed from all schools, colleges, universities and organisations now!