Stonewall’s worrying school guidance

While that cloud-cuckoo land nonsense might look good on diversity-and-inclusion posters, children in the playground know the difference between boys and girls, and it is not down to feelings.

Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme appears to have been haemorrhaging members since an investigation by the university of Essex found that the organisation had been preaching ‘Stonewall Law’ rather than the actual law.

But it is not only corporations, councils and government departments who have been persuaded to part with good money to receive questionable advice. Stonewall’s similarly named ‘Schools and Colleges Champion Programme’ seems to have sucked places of education into the charity’s web as well. As a teacher I know how tight school budgets have become in recent years, but it seems that several schools have still found money to hand over to Stonewall.

The sums are not trivial. A large comprehensive is asked to part with £550 every year to become a Stonewall education champion, a small village primary £150. As well as branding and logos, the schools champions scheme comes with training – which parents and teachers should certainly be aware of.

One of the charity’s booklets, which is designed to support teachers, is called an Introduction to Supporting LGBT Children and Young People. But do youngsters need to be labelled with an acronym? Children are children. In time they will mature into adults. Most will then be sexually attracted to the opposite sex but some to their own sex and some to both. In 21st century Britain, most people understand that without Stonewall pointing it out.

Since Stonewall now defines homosexuality as attraction to the same gender – not sex – it’s not clear that the charity knows what it means to be gay or lesbian anymore. They have been captured by gender ideology – that men and women are differentiated not by their sex but by so-called gender identity – and they are taking it into our schools.

Unsure how to explain transgenderism to younger children? Stonewall have the answer for teachers. They explain:

‘When they are born, babies are labelled as a boy or a girl. When some people get older, they realise that the label they were given was wrong. They might say “I’m actually a girl”, “I’m actually a boy” or “I’m not a boy or a girl”. Trans is the word used to describe people who feel like this.’

Stonewall UK

They also advise school staff that it ‘is unnecessary to say “boys and girls” when referring to learners of all genders, you could instead say “learners”.’

‘Avoid dividing learners by gender, whether in the classroom (you could divide them by their favourite colour, month of birth or something else) or through uniform, sports activities or other aspects of school life.’

Stonewall UK

Unfortunately, while that cloud-cuckoo land nonsense might look good on diversity-and-inclusion posters, children in the playground know the difference between boys and girls, and it is not down to feelings. Teachers need practical advice on how to include gender non-conforming children, rather than telling them that maybe they have been mislabelled.

Teachers being trained by Stonewall need to be vigilant if this booklet is typical of the charity’s education output. Just after what I would consider to be good advice on uniform codes (which advise making all approved uniform items available to all children and young people) the charity sweeps away the rights of boys and girls to single-sex facilities.

The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 state that, ‘Separate toilet facilities for boys and girls aged 8 years or over must be provided except where the toilet facility is provided in a room that can be secured from the inside and that is intended for use by one pupil at a time.’

Stonewall’s view? ‘Schools, colleges and settings should ensure that a trans child or young person is supported to use the toilets and changing rooms they feel most comfortable with, including the facilities matching their gender.’ Recklessly, they go on to claim that, ‘Under the Equality Act (2010) a trans child or young person can use the toilets and changing rooms that match their gender.’

Unlike most teachers I’ve read the Equality Act and, being trans myself, I’ve noted what it says about toilets. The word toilet is mentioned only once in 251 pages and in relation to disabled access to them on trains. But elsewhere the Equality Act upholds sex-segregated facilities where it is a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’ Protecting the rights and dignity of all children is surely that.

Schools need far better than the magical thinking of self-identified experts; they need to know the facts and the truth. It is doubtful how much of that they have been getting from Stonewall. The School Champions Programme membership is one cost that many schools could trim without fear of detriment. It’s not rocket science to treat all pupils with dignity and respect – schools should know how to do that – but in our society it takes courage to stand up to gender ideology, whoever is peddling it.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.

* This article was first published by The Spectator on 20 June 2021: Stonewall’s worrying school guidance.

By Debbie Hayton

Physics teacher and trade unionist.

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