Parents pull son from school’s World Book Day over gender identity lessons

Parents pull son from school’s World Book Day over gender identity lessons

Concerned parents have withdrawn their four-year-old son from his school’s World Book Day, claiming that the text students were reading could be ‘confusing and harmful’ in terms of gender identity.

The book in question, My Shadow is Pink, was written by Scott Stuart and promotes the idea of an inner gender identity. Stephen and Joanne Evans, the parents of the child, believe it might lead children to think they or others have been born into the wrong body.

When they heard that their child’s class would be using the book for World Book Day, they asked to withdraw him from St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, for the day. The couple claim that other parents also had concerns about the book being used and that the head teacher ignored their concerns.

The Evans family has written to the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, Nigel Genders, to raise their concerns. The advocacy group Christian Concern supports their cause.

In a letter to Mr and Mrs Evans, Headteacher Aleishia Lewis defended using the book in the classroom, stating that the primary focus of the story is not gender identity and that the book is about gender stereotyping. Published in 2020, the book delves into the world of a boy who feels uncomfortable with male stereotypes. In the story, the father tells his son that his shadow is pink and that he should show love to others.

The text has been criticised by policy group Transgender Trend as promoting the idea that changing appearance through opposite sex clothes and hair length changes natal sex. However, some argue the book is about challenging stereotypes.

The author of the book, Mr Stuart, wrote it for his young son after he was told by his classmates that his favourite toy and character, Elsa from Disney’s hit film Frozen, was ‘for girls’. He has since followed up with another book titled My Shadow is Purple, which explores moving beyond gender binary.

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