The Scottish Government has said that it will not review misleading transgender guidance it funded, despite opposition from parents, teachers and women’s groups.
Last year The Christian Institute wrote to the Scottish Government warning that the ‘Supporting Transgender Young People’ guidance was “incorrect”, “misleading and misguided”.
Campaigners are now calling on the Government to ensure that the guidance does not conflict with human rights laws and have asked them to commission a new set of guidelines if necessary.
‘Number of complaints’
Last month, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner Máire McCormack wrote a letter to the Equalities Minister, reporting “a number of complaints” she had received about the guidance.
She called for a Child’s Rights Impact Assessment to be conducted on the guidance – which was commissioned by LGBT Youth Scotland – and urged them to make some changes to recommendations.
She wrote: “The Scottish Government has committed to human-rights based approaches to the delivery of children’s services and fulfilment of its duty to ensure that guidance is available for those working with all children and young people to help to support their wellbeing needs and best interests.”
Originally published in 2017, the guidance directs teachers to allow children to use the changing facilities and toilets of their choice, and also allow pupils to compete in the wrong sporting category.
But The Christian Institute highlighted that this advice sidelines parents and non-transgender children who may be subject to “discomfort”.
The letter to the Scottish Government added: “By failing to balance the rights of transgender young people with the rights of others, the guidance demonstrates a serious disregard for the need to foster good relations between transgender persons and others”.
Last year the Scottish Government withdrew its formal backing of the guidance after the CI threatened legal action.
Women’s rights group Women and Girls in Scotland agreed that it does not consider the needs of other protected groups of young people, and disregards girls’ rights to privacy.
The group said, “male bodied young people could be sharing intimate spaces with female young people, potentially compromising their right to privacy and dignity”.
Despite widespread opposition, the Scottish Government has now said the guidance has the full support of ministers and will not be reviewed.
It claimed: “As this is not a Scottish Government publication, it would be inappropriate for the Scottish Government to undertake any review. The guidance is one of a range of tools available to schools and education authorities in their support for transgender pupils.”
However, the guidance still features the Scottish Government logo.
It comes as figures reveal that, of £5.1 million allocated for Scottish equality groups in 2017 to 2018, LGBT groups received almost £1 million – £260,000 went to LGBT Youth Scotland.