A major teachers’ union has said it will lobby for the promotion of transsexualism in single-sex schools.
At its annual conference in Liverpool, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) passed a motion to campaign for funding and provide support for ‘gender-questioning’ pupils.
Staff at boys’ and girls’ schools across the country told the gathering that steps are already being taken to modify uniform policies and changing rooms, while criticising other schools for not complying.
Graham Easterlow, a teacher at a North Yorkshire school for boys with learning difficulties, told the conference that a better understanding of ‘gender diversity’ was required “across the board”.
He said it was vital not to tell transsexual pupils that they are just going through a phase or require them to wear the uniform which corresponds to their birth sex.
The teacher said he longs for the day when “it doesn’t matter who you love” or “how you identify” and suggested that adapting facilities for transsexual people should be viewed in the same way as making alterations for disabled people.
Responding to the ATL’s decision, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute Humphrey Dobson said schools “should not be introducing policies to satisfy adult political agendas”.
He said: “Children are vulnerable and susceptible to all kinds of pressure while at school. Endorsing a child’s confused feelings could lead them to undergo harmful hormone treatment or even ‘sex change’ surgery in later life.
“Studies show that most children who are ‘gender confused’ at a young age eventually accept their biological sex after passing through puberty”.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We already provide advice to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them, including specific guidance on trans issues.
“We are also investing £3 million in projects to help schools learn how to better deal with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.”