Dear Gillian Keegan – open letter to the education minister by two teenage girls

Department for Education Gillian Keegan schools guide students in classroom

Two fourteen year-old girls have written an open letter to the education minister Gillian Keegan ahead of the forthcoming Department for Education draft trans schools guidance. The girls have to remain anonymous for reasons that will become clear by reading their letter. We publish it with permission here.

Dear Gillian Keegan

With the release of the Department for Education’s transgender guidance quickly approaching, we – two fourteen-year-old girls in separate secondary schools – want to contribute our thoughts to the discussion. There is a lack of student voices on this issue, and it’s vital to have some perspective of what it’s like in a school environment where dissenting voices are stifled, extreme ideologies are presented as fact, and girls are injured by boys in mixed-sex sport.

Schools are meant to be politically neutral; differences in thoughts and opinions should be encouraged and fostered, not shouted down and censored. There is a growing atmosphere of fear around this topic, and many students, including us, are frightened to speak out openly due to the threat of ostracisation and bullying from students who adopt the authoritarian dogma of gender ideology. In our schools, opposition to this extreme theory is met with vitriol and restrictions on speech – in one of our schools, a student was discouraged from covering the topic of sport from a critical lens by a teacher, and the discussion was branded too “triggering”, whilst a different student who was talking about the topic from a positive view was allowed.

It is vital that teachers present political topics in a neutral manner that allows differing viewpoints to be accepted. When controversial political ideologies are presented as absolute fact by teachers, who students are meant to trust, this eliminates all chance of discussion, all chance of a nuanced debate. The concept of a “gender identity” is a contested theory, and it is not appropriate to present this ideology as absolute fact in classrooms. We urge the education minister to construct an atmosphere of tolerance and respect by ensuring political neutrality is upheld in classrooms – by this, we ask for “gender identity” not to be presented as unopposed fact. Teachers are required to be politically neutral in schools, so why is there a double standard when it comes to the transgender issue?

We’ve both – along with 72% of students from other schools across the UK, according to Policy Exchange – had lessons on gender ideology in schools, and every time it was presented as the complete truth. In schools across the country, kids like us are being told that girls can have penises, that humans can change sex, that there are seventy-two “genders”, that “gender identity” is innate and unchangeable, despite NHS guidance stating that children who identity as “transgender” may be going through a phase. This must stop, and if students are to be taught about “gender identity”, it must be presented in a neutral manner that specifies that this is a belief system, not fact.

As well as this, teachers must remain neutral when discussing this topic in lessons – we’ve also both experienced times when biased teachers attempt to implicate gender ideology in innocuous topics, for instance claiming that Zeus, the Greek God, was “non-binary”, or that Lady Macbeth was “gender-fluid”. Teachers also shouldn’t be asking students their pronouns, especially on the basis of non-conformity, or their sexuality / sexual preference, both of which raises major safeguarding concerns.

Some schools, including previously one of ours, feature “pride flags” in the corridors, with labels such as “genderqueer”, “non-binary”, “demiboy”, “polysexual”, among others, and include books in the library on inappropriate topics, such as Beyond Magenta, which includes a six-year-old child who has sex, and fails to condemn the fact that this was unlawful due to the child being significantly underage. If schools are going to provide books promoting gender ideology, they should also be required to feature books offering a different point of view, such as Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier, or Trans by Helen Joyce.

We also urge the DfE guidance to specify that students must not be punished for holding gender-critical views, and that bullying and harassment on the basis of gender-critical beliefs shouldn’t be allowed. There is immense pressure among students our age to conform to the popularly-held views that “trans women” are women, and any opposition to this belief is considered “transphobic” and unacceptable. There have been many cases of students being bullied and ostracised for disagreeing with gender ideology, where gender-critical pupils are punished by teachers, excluded by students, and abandoned by friends.

A lot of us are too afraid to speak out due to fear of the consequences, and this must change so that different opinions are allowed to be heard, even on divisive topics such as this one. We’ve been asked our pronouns countless times, and it’s so exhausting to have to constantly play along and pretend to agree with this belief system out of fear, despite the fact we view it as regressive and harmful. In some schools, students are punished for referring to friends or classmates with biologically correct pronouns – this is insanely harmful, and it’s convincing students to ignore the evidence of our own eyes and ears; to place a single person’s feelings over objective reality, to indulge in an ideology we fundamentally disagree with.

We should not be coerced into using biologically incorrect pronouns for classmates, and we must not be punished for refusing to do so. However, at this current time, according to Policy Exchange almost 70% of schools force other students to participate in a gender-distressed child’s “transition” – this has to change, and we are not going to stand for this destruction of our freedom of speech and belief.

We’ve also heard that the guidance will allow a “relaxed” approach to non-contact sport, however we believe this is naïve and dangerously negligent. One of us has experienced mixed-sex sport at our school, and after being deliberately targeted by the boys, she was hit in the face and breasts, breaking her glasses – afterwards, all the girls in the changing room were complaining how unfair it was they’d been forced to participate against boys despite an obvious physical advantage – and this was meant to be a non-contact sport.

Accidents happen, and when they do it’s always a lot worse when it’s a boy hurting a girl due to the differences in strength, muscle mass, etc. As well as this, we see no reason for a boy to be allowed to compete in girls’ sports, especially due to the physical differences, since members of the opposite sex are likely to be stronger, faster, and have an obvious athletic advantage, even at a young age, and also due to the fact this can and will make many girls feel uncomfortable and afraid having to participate with males, particularly when at a vulnerable age when we’re going through puberty.

Thanks to the insight gained from the Asleep at the Wheel report, we now know that this is a much more widespread problem than we originally expected – for instance, 1 in 5 schools had absolutely no single-sex changing facilities, which places young schoolgirls at significant risk from being forced to undress in front of males for PE – an obvious and blatant safeguarding risk. We deserve privacy whilst in vulnerable positions, for instance while getting changed, and our rights are destroyed when you bring boys into the equation. For that reason, we are hopeful that all schools are required to have single-sex changing areas, and that boys are not allowed to enter female-only changing spaces even if they “identify as girls”.

The same goes for toilets – despite schools being legally required to have single-sex toilets, at least 28% are not maintaining this standard. It can be extremely uncomfortable for girls to have to use the same toilets as boys, especially when dealing with menstruation, and single-sex spaces are proven to be safer than their mixed-sex counterparts. Thankfully, it appears that boys will not be allowed to use female-only toilets, which will hopefully put an end to occurrences like hearing a male voice in what is supposed to be a female-only space, as one of us has experienced.

Mixed-sex toilets tend to be less clean, less private, and less safe than single-sex facilities, therefore we think it’s unreasonable for schools to have both mixed-sex and single-sex toilets, when only single-sex facilities are more convenient, safer, and more dignified. If a boy does not feel comfortable using the male-only toilets, despite being male, he could potentially use the disabled toilets instead, but mixed-sex toilets help absolutely no-one and put all girls at a disadvantage.

Lastly, safeguarding should be valued above all – frequently, teachers deceitfully hide a child’s “gender transition” from their parents, which has happened and is still happening at our schools, as we’ve seen from experience. Honesty is fundamental in the relationships between parents and teachers, and to conceal something as significant as “social transitioning” from parents is an astonishing betrayal of trust. Schools must be required to be open and honest about whether or not a child “identifies as trans”, especially when the child is in a vulnerable position.

In some schools, student’s recorded sex is changed in the register due to the student’s or parent’s requests – this is misleading to both other students and teachers, and important information such as sex should not be falsified. Honesty and integrity are key components in schools, and to cloud the waters under the guise of “inclusivity” is deceit at its worst.

So we call upon the education minister to value the dignity and safety of girls in secondary schools like us, and to value the freedom of speech of all students. We request schools become politically neutral in encouraging a diverse range of opinions and thoughts, and not to stifle students’ rights by presenting a highly contentious ideology as fact.

Yours sincerely

Two secondary school girls, aged fourteen

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. imogen makepeace

    Thank you for speaking up.
    Your testimony is really insightful and invaluable.

    What you have described is a shocking revelation. You deserve to have adults protect and support you-it appears that you have to appeal to Government intervention to achieve this.

    1. Aqua Fyre

      To anyone who believes that this letter was penned by ‘Two 14 year old girls’ I have news for you. You’re being conned.
      This has all the hallmarks of an adult’s hand. The sentence construction and phraseology – along with the construction of the argument is not that of most 14 year old children. While I agree with the thrust of the argument – we don’t need to resort to false claims over such things.

      1. Transgender Trend

        The letter is genuine. We can vouch for the two girls and that they wrote it with no adult help. We published it as it was sent to us, unedited. We would never publish anything without being 100% sure of its veracity, to do so would be unethical.

  2. Alison Jenner

    Thank you, TGT, for giving these girls a platform to speak about the disgraceful lack of respect with which they are treated by their schools. Would they be willing to talk to me, under conditions of anonymity, about their experiences for Liberal Voice for Women? Their voices must be heard, loud and clear.

  3. Lyndsey Snow

    What a brilliant letter, well done to those girls. They are absolutely right!

  4. Christine

    I do hope this gets the attention it deserves.
    This ideological bullying is without precedent here.
    If the young don’t feel you are behind them they will think this dangerous ideology speaks for you. Women and children will be the obvious losers the less obvious will be those who are left confused and alienated from the real world and something as basic as their sex and the dignity and privacy that it allows. It will end in tears once the majority of people understand what is going on. It is your duty to nip it in the bud.

  5. Corinne Brixton

    Thank you for speaking up and speaking out so eloquently. I hope that your voices will be heard. You have also provided the rest of us with a valuable resource when making representation to those who make decisions at a national level.

  6. Tony Turner

    I find it staggering that these young women have to make such obvious observations, and more power to them for having the courage to do so.

  7. Peter Taylor

    Congratulations to these two girls for such clear, impassioned reasoning and argument about the whole gender ideology mistruths which are being pedalled in schools.
    They also hint at a wider safeguarding concern which is that all schools have to legally keep a student’s record for 7 years after they have left school. If a student goes through transition, thanks to the misinformation being pedalled in schools by many gender charities including Stonewall, but then decides to either halt the transition process, or to revert to their original gender, schools and individual teachers are laying themselves open to court cases. This is because they have not followed the mandate that all teachers must, as these girls have stated, be completely neutral in everything that they teach.

  8. David Mason

    Well said.

    Too many people have come to accept the concept of ‘gender identity’ – and it doesn’t help to see esteemed organisations such as the Royal Society adding to the problem. I wrote to the President of the Royal Society about an error in their diversity policy on 31st May: —-

    Dear Adrian,

    I noticed an error in the Royal Society policy document:

    The document states that “In 2018, the Society piloted three new diversity questions on the monitoring form used at its public events ….. These three new questions related to the protected characteristics of gender identity, religion and sexual orientation.”

    In fact gender identity is not a protected characteristic in the United Kingdom. However ‘gender reassignment” is recognised as a protected characteristic.

    Kind regards,

    1. Shauna

      Indeed and “Gender Reassignment” only applies to adults 18+ who meet specific criteria, diagnoses, minimum 2 years trans-identified and in the original legislation, on the understanding that full genital surgery had been/is being/will be undertaken as proof of their dysphoria/honesty/commitment. None of this applies to under 18’s and self-ID is neither recognised nor lawful.

  9. Amanda Lucas

    Wow! What an amazingly eloquent and heartfelt plea from these two amazing young women. Sadly, this suffocating idealogly has permeated society by attaching itself to the LGB banner and claiming to be a human rights issue. It is not! It is a wagon being used by a few in order to suppress the majority. Women’s rights are being stripped away at an alarming rate and a generations worth of children are being indoctrinated in school. ‘Hitler’s youth’ comes to mind. There will be a great price to pay for those involved in this scandal. The tide is turning and the time is coming when real women will rise up and people will understand what the expression, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ really means.

  10. James Palmer

    I agree with you girls totally but you will just be classed as a phobic,I openly admit to being trandphobic,a real woman is a bleeder feeder and breeder,whereas a trans boy to girl will never be a girl he will never suffer periods,pregnancy or lactation he will never have a clitoris or g-spot to enjoy sex so basically his whole life will be that of pretence
    The reason govts are not doing anything is because they are fearful of losing votes that’s the truth of the matter,there is only two sexes MALE &FEMALE and the imbetweens who are going through a stage of mental health that needs to be addressed
    As for binary ,fluidity,pronouns I would break the law first before changing my view on this subject
    I think of myself as lassez faire when it comes to ppls sexual pleasures or identitys but now it’s becoming to far one sided
    Enter your own sex changing room,stop entering women’s sports or women’s sports will just come to an unnatural end
    Men keep your penis and women keep your vaginas END OF

  11. Sue Hod

    This is a great letter – but if they do not name the schools in their letter to Keegan then it can and will be dismissed by the DfE as hearsay.

    The recent media story featuring a child thought to identify as a cat, with the school subsequently denying it, has only served to increase scepticism about claims of inappropriate conduct/content from teachers and schools.

    I urge these girls and others with similar experiences to write again, providing as much detail and as much evidence as they can about their first hand experiences. Naming the schools is vital to an investigation taking place. I think they – and the issue- will be taken much more seriously at the DfE if they do.

  12. Lynn H

    Well done those girls, it’ll be interesting to see the reply if one is actually received and also the excuses from the schools which will no doubt try to twist whatever has been said, I’ve lost all faith in those that we are supposed to trust, government, education & police . I really hope this makes a difference.

  13. Thomas

    So, here we have a best of GC talking points formulated in neat politician‘s prose. Conveniently anonymous, of course, because of the repercussions these two girls would have to endure for regurgitating all the favorite topics of TGT Twitter associates.. Very, very believable indeed.

  14. Elizabeth

    It’s baffling to me that this is put as a political issue rather than a human rights issue. Transgender teens deserve respect, which includes their pronouns and chosen name. Why is it a problem to respect these kids choices? Why are these girls upset about being respectful toward their classmates? They are asking for the right to bully trans and other non-conforming children. Human rights is not politics, and it is disingenuous to refer to it this way. Teachers who are respectful toward students should not be targeted. Kids deserve to have their thoughts and feelings validated, instead of having every single one conform to a social standard that represents backwardness and control over humans. Trans people have been part of humanity for millennia, this is not a fad, this is just humans being able to express themselves. What this viewpoint represents is control over individuals that is completely unacceptable.

  15. j

    it doesn’t matter if you write eloquently for 4 pages, if the entire argument is based on a completely false premise.

    Neither Gender or Sex, are biological or genetic binaries. This is scientific fact – gender critical -opinions- are irrelevant. Tell them to Jesus.

    Regurgitating gender critical gibberish, just like kids did for anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-travaller, anti-evolution, anti-anything their parents have not managed to understand and so must be hated. I am sure they are proud – unfortunately these kids are about to discover the real world over the next couple of years, and just how full of it their parents are.

  16. Nor

    Brilliantly written, well done. I really hope other girls will feel empowered to speak out after reading this and the Education minister listens to you and puts an end to the indoctrination and safeguarding issue.

  17. Guglielmo Marinaro

    No, Elizabeth, having one’s delusions “validated” and being referred to by pronouns which do not match one’s unalterable natal sex are NOT human rights either for children or for adults.

  18. Rebecca Elliott

    Bravo! To hear such honesty and common sense from two obviously intelligent and courageous young people is truly refreshing. Thank goodness some of our young people have the guts and stamina to stand up to the nonsense they are being indoctrinated with. An ex-teacher, I am glad I left the profession before I was expected to fall in line with the ideological rubbish these girls are being subjected to. I would undoubtedly have lost my job, as I would have refused to go along with it. Biological sex is immutable, and pretending otherwise is ridiculous: I have no issue whatever with people living their lives as they wish to, but the way this issue is being dealt with is very very wrong and sets the safety and rights of girls at naught.

  19. Jenny Clarke

    A good letter, though I suspect they had help with it – or go to very expensive private schools. But the schools must be named for an investigation to take place. If gender ideology is being pedalled in our schools then it needs to end.
    Meanwhile, Elizabeth, I don’t quite understand why you think sex is not a binary. Males produce small gametes and females large ones in all mammals – and we are mammals – and it is our sex cells (sperm and eggs) which define our sex. People unfortunate enough to have a DSD are still male or female, indeed DSDs are sex-specific. Gender is a social construct differing from time to time and place to place.

  20. Victoria

    This is brilliant and so well thought out. You are doing the right thing. This is a cult. Thank you so much for speaking out. Xx

  21. Victoria

    Brilliant letter. Thank you for standing up for the truth. This is a cult but children and parents will win.

  22. Kathy Fletcher

    I would like to ask Elizabeth why she thinks that not respecting “pronouns” is a breach of human rights but that requiring female students to suffer the indignity of undressing in front of male students or being targeted for bullying during menstruation is perfectly OK. Girls also have rights.

  23. Pam Smith

    This is an excellent piece of writing! Well done!

  24. Christine Emmett

    You make so many valid points. Know that many, many people support you and are prepared to be named. You are brave, correct and reasonable in your requests. I hope the Sof S will take note, but even if she doesn’t this is so important we must all continue to fight this harmful ideology however we can. Well done girls, you have shown bravery in the face of threats and will be stronger for it.

  25. Kitty Antonik Wakfer

    It is now 5 days since publication of this open letter. What has been the response of “education minister Gillian Keegan ahead of the forthcoming Department for Education draft trans schools guidance”? Or the response of anyone officially part of the Department for Education?
    Additionally, what has been the response of MSM sources to the content of this letter?

  26. FrozenWillow

    Thank you TGT for publishing this. I think back to my teenage years and it was bad enough passing the corridors of schools between classes and being shoved. As females going through puberty, our breasts hurt as they are developing and one small bang to them can be akin to a male being kicked in his testicles. So these young females having to endure sports with males, who are particularly rough during this life stage is harmful to the development of our young females. I congratulate the two young females coming forward with this and thank you for speaking up. My youngest is 12 and we need girls like you in our corner.

  27. Gill Hughes

    It is indicative of how this issue is treated that the two young girls who have written this letter cannot/dont want to/are afraid to give their names. They have written a piece worthy of a Grade A+ Keep it up and I hope one day they will be able to speak loudly and proudly about their views. I agree with every word.

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