Primary school children at 120 British schools will now be instructed to stop using gender binary terms such as “boys,” “girls,” “ladies,” and “gents” to refer to others’ sexes, and to start using gender-fluid terms like “cisgender,” “transgender,” “genderqueer,” “panromantic,” and “intersex.”
A guidebook sent to schools around Britain is telling teachers, parents, and students that by using gender binary language and enforcing the idea that there are differences between males and females, they are discriminating against transgender students in the classroom. The book, titled, “Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity,” gives a list of replacement terms which children can use to describe themselves and others.
It also describes in detail how a fictional 12-year-old “transitions” from female to male using hormone blockers to prevent the onset of puberty, and encourages children to “explore” the “different ways” of discussing gender at school and at home. In one of the book’s illustrations by artist Olly Pike, child readers are introduced to a “gender neutral” unicorn who has stars drawn in place of its genitals.
Written by self-described “trans advocate” CJ Akinson, the book claims to be geared toward young children. The publishing company, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, boasts the book as “the first book to explain medical transitioning for children aged seven and above.”
The book was distributed by Educate & Celebrate, an organization of trainers in the UK which travels to schools to teach children about gender diversity. Last year, the organization was awarded £2 million by the UK government to challenge “homophobia,” “biphobia,” and “transphobia” across UK primary schools.
Elly Barnes, founder of the organization, defends the book, claiming it is based on “facts” and should thus be required for all children to read.
“Not everyone identifies as male or female – that is fact,” she says.
British community leaders and politicians are criticizing the book as “damaging,” because it causes children to be confused.
“I think it is damaging to children to introduce uncertainty into their minds,” former Tory Party chairman Lord Tebbit told the UK’s Daily Mail.
"This is likely to sow more confusion than clarity,” Right Reverend Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester, said.
Even the more progressive educators spoke out against the new measure requiring children to think in gender-fluid terms.
“We have to respect the feelings of everybody, including teachers and parents who want traditional modes,” Sir Anthony Seldon, former Master of Wellington College, said.
The book is to be released and distributed across the 120 British schools next month, and is expected to be bought by hundreds more head teachers.
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