‘Conversion therapy’ ban endangers teachers and vulnerable children

18 November 2021

Steve Beegoo, our Head of Education, outlines how a ban of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ would endanger teachers and criminalise some pastoral support.

There are significant dangers for Christian teachers regarding the so-called conversion therapy ban. Activists, such as Jayne Ozanne, say ‘conversion therapy’ encompasses everything from physical and sexual abuse to prayer and pastoral concern. The advice that teachers give when supporting parents and vulnerable children and young people could be caught in the proposed legislation. The outcomes of the proposals will lead to the new and dangerous legal definition of a ‘transgender child’ based on a self-identification of the child. It may also result in under 18s being unable to be considered as having given consent to any teacher who might talk to them in non-affirmative terms about sexuality or gender issues. This would all be banned.

Pastoral roles

It is widely understood that teachers have a vital role to play pastorally with those in their care. They are keenly supportive of the general wellbeing and health of their students.

Many children, especially with special educational needs, are now being affirmed by the adults around them into a false and unbiblical understanding of their identity. They are affirmed into pathways of behaviour which lead to misery and distress.

The pastoral call of God, not to cause little ones to stumble (Matt 18:6), is at the heart of our teachers care for children.

Normal conversation chilled

Teachers should be able to address issues of gender and sexuality in a balanced way, with the freedom to bring the Christian worldview and understanding to children. Christian teachers are already being chilled in these potential conversations, and now risk being criminalised for refusing to affirm beliefs that are erroneous and will lead to their harm; lead them to stumble.

We have had teachers contacting us, who feel unable to speak up against what they believe to be the harming of children by school policies and practices of affirmation of the immature beliefs children have about themselves. This is especially true regarding their gender. The vast majority of children, if not affirmed, will grow out of gender dysphoria. In many cases, of course, the child’s immature belief is now fuelled by politically motivated Relationship and Sex Education currently taught in many schools.

This potential ban would not only chill, but criminalise – yes, criminalise – the expression of normal Christian views on sex, sexuality, morality and the gospel call to align to Christ’s good plan for our lives. All of this, criminalised!

Activists

Activists, such as Jayne Ozanne, are advising the government to ban any practice that seeks (using their terms) to change or suppress a person’s sexuality or chosen gender identity. This will be applied to teachers, and pastoral workers in schools. The loose and vague phrasing of the proposed laws, encouraged by these activists, will undoubtedly result in the accusations of ‘suppressing’ a child’s gender identity if they challenge their desire to pursue medical interventions to try and ‘change sex’.

To be clear, this law would criminalise a teacher who talks to a child about gender or sexual identity issues and suggests that it is best to live according to their biological sex or a Biblical understanding of sexual conduct within heterosexual marriage.

This is deeply disturbing.

Transgenderism

Transgenderism, especially, is a hotly contested area in contemporary culture, and the law should not be intervening to say that children’s transgender identities must be affirmed. The article 2 protocol 1 rights of parents to have education in conformity with their religious beliefs, should be supported by all teachers. In this key area of the givenness of sex by God, teachers would be liable to criminal sanctions for supporting parents by affirming long held traditional religious beliefs and even the realities of science.

Vulnerable

It can not be stated too often that all the major studies have shown that the majority of children grow out of their gender dysphoria. Vulnerable children, especially girls, have been found to be especially taken in by gender ideology. Global experts on autism have warned in legal papers that girls who are autistic or anorexic appear much more likely to say they want to become boys.

Teachers’ inability to challenge the notion that they are not ‘born in the wrong body’, will be forced to facilitate confusion, leading to a path of potential medical processes and permanent surgical procedures, where the ban will also prevent clinicians from giving balanced advice. The vulnerable will suffer for lack of balanced advice from the teachers and other professionals around them.

Contagion in under-18s

The proposals are directing that under-18s cannot consent to conversations where so-called ‘conversion therapy’ could be alleged. It is clear this should be seen as a breach of their Human Rights – articles 8, 9, and 10. They should be free to have a consensual private conversation to question their sexuality or gender identity. Even more so because the social contagion effect occurring in many schools, must be able to be addressed by staff within those schools, in private conversations. The social contagion in cohorts of teenage girls in schools is where whole groups become convinced by transgender ideology and seek to change sex. It is becoming increasingly common.

Action

If you are reading this article you care.

You care about our children and our teachers.

If you wish to know more, our Head of Policy, Tim Dieppe, was interviewed recently on the issue.

We also ask you to contribute to the consultation which ends soon. Please do access our guide to responding to this consultation which will help you explain key points that must be raised. You must also pray. Pray for our children. Pray for our teachers. May our nation hear the Lord’s words about the vulnerable:

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world for the things which cause people to stumble.” (Matthew 18:6-7, NIV)

  • Share

Related articles

All content has been loaded.

Take action

Join our email list to receive the latest updates for prayer and action.

Find out more about the legal support we're giving Christians.

Help us put the hope of Jesus at the heart of society.