Children as young as five could be told they can be a boy, a girl or neither, under draft lesson plans backed by the Scottish Government.
Critics have cautioned that discussions of this nature “will be very confusing” and that parents may feel their children are too young for such topics.
For children aged five to eight, lesson plans declare: “Your gender is what you decide. You might be a boy or a girl, or maybe you don’t like to decide that.”
Also in the draft Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood lesson plans for five to eight year olds, teachers are encouraged to use a video from homosexual lobby group Stonewall to promote LGBT issues.
…many parents might feel this is too young for their children to learn about it
Elsewhere, it is stated that gender “is different from the sex we are assigned at birth”.
And the plans encourage children to be told: “When people grow up, sometimes they decide to change their gender so that they are happier with who they are, this is called being transgender”.
Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, Chris McGovern, said: “It is deeply worrying that adults are foisting this anxiety on children – it is a darkly sinister intrusion into childhood and it’s cruel.
“At this age, children still believe in goblins, fairies and dragons – they don’t understand such adult issues like gender yet, and these discussions at such a young age will be very confusing for kids.”
Scottish Conservative Shadow Education Secretary, Liz Smith MSP, said it was right to teach children about gender differences, but cautioned, “many parents might feel this is too young for their children to learn about it”.
The resources are in draft form, with parents, students and teachers encouraged to comment.
Final lesson plans – which are supported by groups including the Scottish Government and NHS boards – are expected to be completed by next summer.