The Scottish government has issued new LGBT inclusivity guidelines advising schools to allow children, including those as young as 4, to change their name and gender identity without their parents’ consent, claiming that it’s possible to “come out” as transgender “at any age.”
The 70-page document published this week orders teachers to address students by their desired pronouns, should they choose to identify as the opposite sex, The Telegraph reported, adding that it calls for posters challenging “gender stereotypes” to be displayed in classrooms.
The document claims that trans-identified individuals “may come out at any age” and advises teachers not to tell students that it’s “just a phase” if they say they’re transgender, according to The Times.
“Teachers should respect a young person’s wishes and use the name/pronoun they have asked to be used,” it reads. “If a young person comes out to you, it’s also important not to deny their identity, or overly question their understanding of their gender identity.”
LGBT advocacy groups that helped the government draw up the guidance included Stonewall, which has received over $4 million (£3 million) of U.K. taxpayers’ dollars in the past three years, according to The Christian Institute. Stonewall celebrated the guidelines, claiming they will help children “thrive.”
Many conservative groups have warned against the “dangerous ideology” the document is based on.
“It shows a failure in safeguarding and a removal of parental rights,” Marion Calder, co-director of the For Women Scotland campaign group, was quoted as saying. “It used to be commonly understood that children should be able to play and experiment with gender roles, with clothing, their likes and dislikes.”
Calder continued: “Those children are now being encouraged on to a medical pathway, potentially for the rest of their lives. We should not be teaching children, and especially primary school children, that you can change sex, because you cannot change sex.”
The guidelines also recommend a list of books for primary schools to promote “trans inclusivity.”
Bernadette Wren, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Gender Identity Development Service clinic in London, had warned in 2018 that schools act “within minutes” to register a child as the opposite sex.
“Schools might wait for the parents to approach them before changing things like names in the register, uniforms, pronouns, toilets, sports,” she said at the time. “If a school just gets a whisper of a child who may be querying their gender and within minutes they are doing everything to make sure that child is regarded as a member of the opposite sex right from the word go — that may not be the best for that child.”
In 2017, the Church of Scotland issued an apology for what it said was historic discrimination against lesbian and gay people, but it maintained on its website that the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman.
A few months later, the church issued a 30-page booklet, titled “Diverse Gender Identities and Pastoral Care,” which showcased stories of trans and nonbinary-identified Christians while insisting it was not making a theological statement on the issue.
The church explained in a press release at the time that the booklet was supposed to be a resource to help congregations be more sensitive to the needs of the community.
The Christian Institute revealed in a report in 2018 that as many as 222 children, some as young as 6, had been referred to specialist services the previous year — a 21% increase.
“The Scottish government are either being disingenuous or are seriously confused. Either way, they’ve got themselves in a mess,” Ciarán Kelly, a deputy director at The Christian Institute, said at the time.