Parents force council to suspend transgender advice The Times 25.04.20

The original article is here.

Parents have forced council leaders to shelve guidance that allowed transgender pupils to use girls’ lavatories, changing rooms and dormitories.

Warwickshire county council has withdrawn its advice that trans girls should “sleep where they feel most comfortable” after parents protested that it was “outrageous” and “discounted” the rights of their daughters.

The authority’s 50-page “Trans toolkit” also states that gender-neutral facilities should be installed or schools should adopt a policy of “use the toilet you want to use” .

It has formally suspended the advice for 300 schools and placed it under review after parents complained that the document breached safeguarding duties and equality law. It was issued in January 2018 and withdrawn last summer. A spokesman for Warwickshire county council said the issue was “an evolving complex area”.

Tessa McInnes, 50, who has two children in Warwickshire schools, said: “The equal rights of girls are simply discounted and disregarded in this guidance. If they express any discomfort about a male coming into their spaces, the girl is presented as transphobic and told to go and change somewhere else. It’s outrageous and defies the Equality Act 2010.”

Warwickshire is one of at least a dozen local authorities in England to have issued such guidance, backed by trans lobby groups, to thousands of schools and colleges.

The guidance is similar to an Oxfordshire county council document that is being challenged by a 13-year-old girl after a High Court judge deemed its lawfulness “sufficiently arguable”. Campaigners are considering filing for judicial reviews against other councils if that case, due to be heard in the autumn, is successful.

Gender guidance from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission for all schools in England and Wales is overdue by more than two years. The EHRC said it has “not been finalised” and has no date for publication.

A spokesman for Oxfordshire council said it was confident that its Trans Toolkit would be found lawful in court.

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