Carys Moseley comments on government pressure for schools to adopt the new RSE guidelines a whole year before they are to be made compulsory.
Just before the start of the new academic year, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced that every single school in the UK will get government support to teach about LGBT relationships. This was in direct response to protests from parents against LGBT indoctrination in primary schools.
What is extraordinary about all this is that new guidance has been published by the Department for Education urging schools to adopt the new curriculum this year, one year before it will become compulsory. Why the rush?
Attack on parental rights to protest
The Education Secretary attacked parents’ rights to protest publicly outside schools, saying,
“Firstly, we shouldn’t be seeing protests outside any schools.”
The reason given for this is as follows:
“We want to make sure all pupils, parents and teachers are able to go to those schools freely without any form of intimidation.”
By an extraordinary sleight of hand, Gavin Williamson here conflates public protest with intimidation. Clearly there is something very wrong with this. Protecting the right to protest is vital if the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is to be protected. Why has this stance been taken?
Why the apparent flip-flop on same-sex relationships?
The lengthy dispute over these protests has shown that the real reason the Department for Education does not want them to happen is that they draw very visible attention to the proposed LGBT indoctrination in primary schools. The Department knows very well that most respondents to its consultation on the matter disagreed with its stance.
Like his predecessor Damian Hinds, Gavin Williamson was reported as stopping short of saying that primary schools must teach about same-sex relationships. Clearly the Department for Education is scared of the protesting parents because they are not backing down.
Williams is quoted as saying this:
“The purpose of [government support] is we wanted to make sure every single school is able to teach about Britain as it is today – but also have the flexibility to ensure that it has an understanding of the communities which it operates in.”
In other words, the Department for Education wants to be able to say in general that both LGBT and religious perspectives are reflected in school teaching. The reason for this is the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).
Equalities legislation led to this
The PSED, found within the Equality Act 2010, requires public sector bodies such as schools that they must promote equality between people with different protected characteristics. There are no sanctions for not fulfilling it. In the context of the RSE debate, schools are required to uphold both LGBT rights and religious rights in order to fulfil the PSED. As most religious groups including Christian, Muslim and Jewish ones oppose same-sex ‘marriage’ and parenting, parents can appeal here to the rights of parents to have their children educated according to their religious beliefs to oppose indoctrination.
Lack of sanctions means that the Department for Education has had to resort to measures such as getting the Education Secretary to say protests outside schools are unacceptable. That way the Department can be seen to be authoritative. In reality, attacking the right to protest takes things down the route of the criminal law, and therefore towards Counter-Extremism.
Transgender policies still a major risk
The Equality Act and the PSED have also created the problem of the clash between sex and gender reassignment as protected characteristics. Leaked guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on transgender pupils says schools could be sued unless they install mixed-sex facilities such as toilets.
The draft guidance, entitled ‘Trans pupils: guidance for schools in Scotland on the Equality Act 2010’, pushes schools into a corner. It says that refusing to admit a transgendered pupil to a single-sex school corresponding to their biological sex at birth would constitute ‘direct sex discrimination’. At the same time, it also says that refusing to allow a transgendered student to attend the same kind of single-sex school after choosing to change gender would constitute ‘direct gender reassignment discrimination’. In other words, schools are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
This amounts to a direct attack on the very nature and existence of single-sex schools. Pupils and parents choose single-sex schools precisely for pupils to be educated with other members of the same sex. They choose deliberately not to be educated with members of the opposite sex because they believe single-sex education has educational, psychological and social advantages.
Threat of mixed-sex facilities in Scottish schools
Campaigners have hit back against the guidance arguing that mixed-sex toilets would break regulations that have been in place since 1967. Opponents argue that mixed-sex toilets would have an adverse effect on the health and wellbeing of girls as they go through puberty.
This is because girls would be reluctant to use mixed-sex toilets due to concerns about menstruation, and that girls could become dehydrated or risk bladder infections due to avoidance of drinking so as not to go to the toilet. On top of this there would be the heightened risk of sexualised bullying. In other words, this could escalate to be a huge crisis.
Government ignores Gender Recognition Act
All this happened because the government is ignoring the Gender Recognition Act, which prohibits gender reassignment for under-18s. Activists got round this by making gender reassignment in schools protected in the Equality Act 2010. Strictly speaking this should only cover 18-year old school pupils. In reality, it introduced the idea that under-18s should be able to come to school identifying as people undergoing gender reassignment, just at the time when more and more young people have been referred to the Gender Identity Development Service.
Particularly worrying is the fact that a group called ForWomen.Scot, which campaigns for single-sex provisions, criticised the EHRC for bias in its consultation on its own leaked draft transgender guidance for Scottish schools. The guidance suggested schools should install gender-neutral shower rooms and toilets. ForWomen.Scot says it understands that no Scottish organisations contributed to the main text of this guidance. This strongly suggests that the EHRC wanted to avoid any appearance of disagreement with those Scottish organisations that have been recently formed to withstand transgender ideology.
Government fails to play trans issues off against Brexit
Both the previous and the present governments have tried to use political timing to play off concerns about Brexit with concerns about LGBT politics against each other. Theresa May’s government got Justine Greening to announce the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act in the summer of 2017 as Brexit disputes heated up. The ensuing public backlash showed people were not fooled by this tactic.
Last week, Boris Johnson’s government failed to get the Census Bill through its remaining stages in the House of Commons. This would have put voluntary questions on sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2021 Census for England and Wales. The bill does not set a minimum age for these questions, which means that parents could answer the question on behalf of children, indicating that they have a ‘gender identity’. This would be another way to normalise the idea that children can identify as other than their actual sex. The bill never got any attention because Parliament focused on Brexit. That the government tried to push through this bill alone, out of all its outstanding bills, this week, suggests that it was desperate to avoid media scrutiny of it, just at the time when the debate over RSE is picking up again.
Fear of Islamic opposition to indoctrination
The deadlock over LGBT indoctrination in schools is framed by two things: first the fact that many people voted for Brexit due to concerns about mass Muslim immigration and the potential for ‘Islamisation’ of certain areas, with Islamic customs and laws taking over once a critical mass of the population is Muslim. Many of these people (but not only them) are also concerned about the breakdown of traditional family structures based on Christian principles, and this would include LGBT indoctrination. Second, it is Muslim parents who have initiated and driven most of the protests against LGBT indoctrination. They have been far more vocal, numerous and determined than many Christians have been. People who are concerned about both indoctrination and Islamisation are torn over openly supporting the protests. Clearly this has sent alarm bells ringing in the Department for Education.
Sociologists at Manchester University recently discovered that the ethnic minority population in the UK, which tends to be more religious, is much less favourable to LGBT issues. The sociologists concluded that the UK may have reached ‘peak LGBT acceptance’. We are now seeing a huge culture war over the school curriculum and school policies precisely because LGBT activists realise this.
Pro-Muslim LGBT activists snub Prevent
As it turns out, a small group of pro-Muslim LGBT activists wrote a letter to the Independent last week criticising this linkage to Prevent. They said that teaching LGBT issues as ‘British Values’ smacked of colonialism and of trying to ‘civilise’ Muslims. One of the signatories of the letter is Judith Butler, Professor at University of California Berkeley, who developed gender theory in the 1990s. Butler has argued that gender is ‘flexible’ and ‘free-floating’, ‘not caused by other stable factors’, and has generally advanced these ideas in the cause of LGBT rights.
The activists end their letter by demanding the abolition of the Prevent Strategy, a move common among Islamist extremists.
“There cannot be honest and trusting relationships between schools and communities while the Prevent policy is in place – we recommend that Prevent is abolished immediately.”
Prevent is the cornerstone of the government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy, which in many ways is pro-LGBT. For LGBT activists now to call for its abolition is quite extraordinary.
The turn against Christianity has led to a moral vacuum, into which all kinds of philosophies and ideologies have stepped in. Government after government has arrogantly snubbed Christian opposition to immorality, thinking they could laugh in our faces. Now they are faced with implacable Muslim opposition to it, they are scared silly. As the government has made the LGBT ideology of being your ‘true self’ its new state religion, it should come as no surprise that the ‘No Outsiders’ LGBT indoctrination programme was linked to the Prevent Duty, which tries to tackle the alleged link between ‘non-violent extremism’ and ‘violent extremism’ (i.e. terrorism). But will Prevent now have to be defended by the government against pro-Muslim LGBT activists? The government can’t even decide to step in to defend single-sex facilities to preserve public health and order!