LGBTIQA+ Greens response to the proposed Trans School Guidance – by Cade Hatton & Ria Patel

We have another Section 28 starting. Sadly, most LGBTIQA+ people in the UK are aware of Section 28. It was introduced in 1988 by Margaret Thatcher and wasn’t repealed until 2003 in England and Wales. This series of laws essentially outlawed any discussion of sexuality or gender outside of a heterosexual, cisgender ‘norm’ especially within schools.

This led to years of young LGBTIQA+ people - and their teachers - having to hide who they were. Imagine not only being made to feel shame for a core part of who you are but also fearing breaking the law if you even spoke about being different. 

Although it is up to schools to adopt, the government is trying to create a harmful standard with this guidance. The proposed Trangender Guidance for Schools, which is out for consultation, would see teachers ignoring their students - misgendering them, deadnaming them, and outing them to their parents. It states that “There is no general duty to allow a child to ‘social transition’” and that Gender Identity ‘is a contested belief’. It suggests a period of 'watchful waiting'. It claims that social transition isn’t a neutral act. It isn’t necessarily. But neither is being raised to follow a cis-normative gender. It places greater emphasis on the importance of the parent’s views and impact on the school community, without any mention of the benefits of transition for a trans young person.

The guidance states that it would be very rare for a child to be at risk of significant harm following the school informing parents or guardians about the student questioning their gender. Evidence does not show this. Trans youth are already at an incredibly high risk of homelessness, violence, and depression - the proposals we’ve seen so far would only see that worsen. This is another Section 28 - it would see a generation of trans youth mistreated and ignored.

On top of all of this, the government confirmed that they did not consult with a single LGBT+ organisation this year - during the key times they were drafting this guidance. Not only does this show a wilful disregard for the lived experiences of trans people, it is also the latest example in a list of dangerous ignorance. Disabled people, members of the global majority, refugees and women have all been thrown under the bus by this government and we must stand together against this dangerous right-wing Conservative ideology, which has been amplified by the mainstream media.

This guidance is now open for consultation until March 12th 2024 if you feel inclined to respond. There should be no room for bigotry within our schools. They should all be a safe space for all children.