School children have been given 25 options to choose from – including “tri-gender” and “demi-boy” – in a gender survey which has been described as bizarre and misleading.
Teenagers in Brighton were given the survey, which was produced by the Government-sponsored Children’s Commissioner for England.
The pupils were told they could choose ‘as many as they wanted’ from a variety of responses alongside “girl”, “boy”, “female” and “male”.
The Christian Institute responded by saying that giving equal weight to the new terms and traditional language was “totally misleading”.
A columnist in a Brighton newspaper said schools were “unnecessarily making all teenagers question their basic identity”.
And a Daily Mail editorial described the questions as “frankly bizarre”, adding that the survey could prompt “uncertainty and distress in the minds of all-too-vulnerable adolescents”.
Following newspaper inquiries the survey was withdrawn. A spokesman at the Children’s Commissioner’s office said that future versions of the survey will not include the controversial question.
According to the local Brighton paper – The Argus – every secondary school in Brighton and Hove was sent the survey by the city council, with the Children’s Commissioner’s office saying it would help reveal “how gender matters to young people”.
Question 13 of the survey asked: “How do you define your gender?”. It gave 25 options including “gender fluid”, “agender”, “genderqueer”, and “in the middle of boy and girl”.
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, said that rather than there being more than 20 genders, there are simply two sexes.
He added that giving children so many options will lead to answers “across the spectrum – not least from kids who want to make fun of the whole thing”.
“But for some children it will be profoundly confusing to find out that there are adults who don’t seem to know that boys are boys and girls are girls”, he commented.
Mr Calvert continued: “We feel for people who struggle with gender dysphoria but we must not let our sympathy for them outweigh our sympathy for the great mass of children who need to feel safe and protected in school.
“To feel safe, children need to know there are some simple boundaries in life. The basic biological categories of male and female are amongst the most simple and fundamental boundaries of all.
“We must not intrude on childhood by deliberately confusing school children about what makes a boy a boy or a girl a girl just to satisfy adult political agendas.
“We must protect children from being made to feel that passing phases of confused feelings about themselves – which many go through – must be turned into life-changing moral and political decisions.”