Suella Braverman, the attorney general, issued a warning today to educators who may be “indoctrinating students into a one-sided and problematic vision of gender” in the classroom.
The Cabinet minister also insisted that it was not “age-appropriate” to teach four-year-olds that people can change their sex or gender. The minister recently ran for the Tory leadership before losing the race to succeed Boris Johnson.
The Cabinet minister made an effort to provide “legal clarity to schools and parents” on transgender problems in a speech to the Policy Exchange thinktank.
The Department of Education will soon release new guidelines for educators, parents, and students. According to Mrs. Braverman, she is “setting out the legal breadth” for the approach to how students are taught.
The Attorney General claimed that due to a “lack of clarity and confusion,” some teachers were “petrified of acting inappropriately” and were “forced into embracing the dogma they are offered, adopting the materials they are presented with.”
“We can’t be living in a country where teachers, parents, and young people feel intimidated,” the speaker said.
When Mrs. Braverman spoke more broadly on equality and human rights law, she also discussed transgender challenges in classrooms and the legal arguments around them.
She pleaded for Conservatives to avoid a “quasi-religious narrative” from “the Left” that asserts that rights are “an inexorable march of development towards ultimate liberty.”
All rights, no matter how noble, place restrictions and demands on other people, some of which involve complex trade-offs, according to Mrs. Braverman.
It is legal for a single-sex school to refuse to admit a child of the opposite biological sex who identifies as transgender; it is legal for a mixed-sex school to forbid a biologically and legally male child who identifies as a trans-girl from using the girls’ restrooms; it is legal for a mixed-sex school to forbid a biologically and legally female child who identifies as a trans-boy from using the boys’ restrooms
Mrs. Braverman said that it is “wrong” for schools to imply that they have “legal obligations” to use students’ preferred pronouns, names, or to admit them to facilities that aren’t used for sex, sports teams, or dorms.
Transgender-related notions are “permeating the public sector and are being taught in some schools without any democratic review or consideration of the repercussions,” the Attorney General blasted.
Existing government guidelines, according to her, “makes explicit that schools ensure that they are presented with the necessary context, which encourages a balanced presentation of competing viewpoints” when partisan political beliefs are covered.
According to Mrs. Braverman, a primary school that instructs Year 4 students, who are eight and nine years old, on “important terminology” like transgender, pansexual, asexual, gender expression, intersex, gender fluid, gender dysphoria, questioning, or queer would be in violation of government guidelines.
“Teaching four-year-olds that people may change their sex or gender is also not age-appropriate.”
According to government guidelines, primary schools are not required to assign exercises based on students’ “self-identified gender,” she continued.
The Attorney General stated, “In these cases, schools—who may be well-intentioned but misinformed—are breaking their responsibility of impartiality and indoctrinating children into a one-sided and contentious perspective of gender.”
The importance of age appropriateness cannot be overstated; the younger the child and the simpler the explanation, the higher the likelihood that schools won’t strike the right balance.
Mrs. Braverman stated that kids shouldn’t be intimidated when they question what they’re being taught, refuse to use a child’s preferred pronoun, complain about a child accessing their restrooms or locker rooms, or decline to participate in activities supported by Stonewall or other organizations.
She declared that “the freedom of expression, conscience, and thought must prevail.”
In other parts of her speech, Mrs. Braverman claimed that since the passage of New Labour’s Human Rights Act in 1998, there has been a “rights culture” in Britain “in a way that did not exist.”
She said, “Aspects of this are causing uncertainty and worry.”
Mrs. Braverman lauded the Government’s proposed “Bill of Rights” as “a further step toward taking back control” and a way to “inject a healthy dose of common sense into the system.” She added it should be made law “as soon as practicable.”