Activists challenge ‘transgender ideology’ sweeping Scottish schools by Mark Macaskill and John Boothman in The Sunday Times 25.11.18

The original article is here.

Guidance issued to schools and teachers that parents in Scotland should not be told if their child wishes to change gender is being challenged by activists in the Scottish National Party. The guidance is supported by the Scottish government, which is run by the SNP, but local activists warn of a “transgender ideology” sweeping schools.

The party’s Haddington branch, in East Lothian, says the advice, issued last year by LGBT Youth Scotland, has been poorly evaluated by councils that have adopted it.

The document, Supporting Transgender Young People, was part-funded by the Scottish government. It says pupils should compete in sports in the gender they feel most comfortable with, and parents should not be told if a child wants to change gender or share rooms with the opposite sex on school trips unless the pupil gives their consent.

In a letter addressed to “SNP parliamentarians”, the Haddington branch notes that parents and teachers are alarmed at being urged to support children to express their gender identity regardless of age.

It says the advice has been adopted “apparently without any consultation, evaluation or risk assessment” and calls on councils to review their transgender policies urgently. The intervention is likely to embarrass Scottish ministers, who on Friday published their report on a consultation on reforms to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.

David Robertson, a former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, said: “The Haddington SNP branch is quite right and brave to challenge the government’s wholesale adoption of the militant trans agenda. The advice in the guidance is harmful and totalitarian, and the adoption of the radical transgender agenda is an attack on women. It’s about time that others spoke up.”

Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute charity, said the “fears” expressed in the letter “echo the concerns of many”. The institute, which has 6,000 members, has threatened legal action against 17 councils over the guidance. “It is good to see grassroots SNP members expressing their views so clearly to SNP MSPs trapped in the Holyrood bubble,” Calvert said.

LGBT Youth Scotland did not respond to a request for comment but has previously stated that schools are not compelled to follow its guidance, which it said was developed with teachers and organisations that have expertise in education and children’s rights.

James Morton, manager of the Scottish Trans Alliance, said the guidance was being “unfairly misrepresented”.