Our thanks to Shelley Charlesworth for her investigation into the origins of the No Outsiders programme and for this excellent analysis of its materials and message to primary age children.
Shelley Charlesworth is a former BBC News journalist. An active second wave feminist, her energies are now spent promoting the entirely reasonable idea that is not possible to be born in the wrong body. She has two adult children and five grand children. Twitter: @charlesworth102
No Outsiders : Queering the Primary Classroom
The parent led revolt over the teaching of the No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School, a Birmingham primary with a 98% Muslim intake, shows no sign of going away. At least five schools in the area which had been teaching the programme have now, like Parkfield, suspended it while consultations take place with parents. The protests are said to have spread to other cities, with Muslim parents saying they do not want their primary school children to be taught about LGBT issues.
There has been little sympathy for the parents. They’ve been described as bigoted and homophobic. Protesters were called “homophobic extremists” whose views were likened to vitriol.
Press coverage has been largely supportive of the school, and Andrew Moffat, assistant head teacher and the author of the No Outsiders programme, who has been awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education.
Columnists, celebrities and MPs across the political spectrum have come out in support of Moffat. One unifying theme is that they see an equivalence between the protesters’ demands and Section 28. 
Alice Thomson, writing in the Times says with reference to Section 28 ‘When it was overturned in 2003, I never thought the question would be reopened.’ She goes on to say that teachers will be asked, under new DfE guidelines, to teach respect for ‘different types of families, relationships and sexual identities, including same-sex relationships and transgender.’ 
The columnist and Labour Party member Owen Jones weighed in expressing what became a standard reaction: ‘The parents at this Birmingham school are trying to stop lessons educating pupils about the existence of gay people. To suggest that isn’t “age appropriate” is the same argument used to justify Section 28.’ It’s powerful and emotive stuff but the comparison to the imposition of Section 28 and the fear and hatred that that led to isn’t helpful. Government now is not trying to prevent teaching about homosexuality, different families, different relationships. Quite the opposite in fact as shown by the new government guidelines due to be implemented in September 2020 for teaching sex education. It has also led to a lack of curiosity about the origins and content of the No Outsiders teaching resource itself.
Ofsted inspectors visited Parkfield school on February 13th 2019 over concerns about ‘aspects of the effectiveness of leadership and management in the school.’
On March 5th, they gave the school a clean bill of health noting only that more effort should be put into engaging the parents and explaining the curriculum. The No Outsiders programme was not mentioned at all. Teaching on PSHE was deemed good and of the very public expressions of anger with No Outsiders the inspectors had only this to say:
“However, a very small, but vocal, minority of parents are not clear about the school’s vision, policies and practice. This group of parents feel that staff do not sufficiently listen to their concerns. Their view is that the PSHE education and equalities curriculum focuses disproportionately on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and that this work is not taught in an age-appropriate manner. Inspectors found no evidence that this is the case.”
The Birmingham protests shouldn’t have come as any surprise given that lobby groups have been active and vocal in their resistance to the new DfE guidelines for teaching RSE. Earlier this year government ministers admitted that there had been significant negative response to the consultation from groups and individuals to a consultation on the new guidelines. Most of the concerns were around the question of age related appropriateness, the content and the teaching of LGBT issues. These lobby groups are not specifically Muslim, in fact some are – as they put it – from the Judeo-Christian tradition. North London in particular has seen a lot of quieter lobbying from orthodox Jewish schools. 
But while the Parkfield row overlaps in some ways with these other groups there is something specific about the school and its teaching of the No Outsiders programme. Listening to what the mothers have said when they are interviewed, rather than the men with megaphones, it’s clear that it’s the actual No Outsiders programme they don’t like.
Quoted in the Birmingham Mail in February Mariam Ahmed, who has two children at the school, said: ‘My little girl is four, she’s in reception and she came home asking me if it’s ok to be a boy instead of a girl, and has dressed up in her brother’s clothes. She is four years old.’ Another parent, Fatima Shah, mother of two who has been prominent in the campaign said of her 10-year-old daughter: ‘My child came home and told me am I OK to be a boy? 
For those concerned about the teaching of gender ideology in schools and particularly in primary schools these comments from mothers raise alarm bells. It’s clear that something beyond the reaction of a conservative parent body is being expressed. The actual content of the teaching programme needs closer scrutiny. Most commentators have accepted at face value what Andrew Moffat says about the No Outsiders programme: that it is both about teaching children that gays and lesbians exist – and that it is about equality and the 2010 Act.  In reality it is more complicated.
So what is the No Outsiders teaching resource? The 87-page booklet by Andrew Moffat No Outsiders in Our Schools: Teaching the Equality Act in Primary Schools can be bought online for around £25.00. It is spaciously laid out, in black and white, and so the actual text explaining the ethos behind the project is sparse. There is some background into why the author thinks the subject needs to be taught, some background on Mr Moffat himself and a discussion about the difficulties teachers face coming out as gay or lesbian. The rest of the book, around half, contains the lesson plans and the books required for each one. There are five for each year from reception to year 6. These books are bought separately.
In the introduction Moffat refers to his 2007 book, Challenging Homophobia in Primary School: An Early Years Resource. In this earlier work his aim, he says, was to teach five year olds that gays and lesbians exist. This he now believes is unnecessary because children – due to greater openness and the visibility of gay characters on television – know this. What we now need to teach children he believes is that ‘homophobia once existed, but we don’t have it in our school today, and that to be a person who is gay or lesbian or transgender or bi-sexual is normal, acceptable and ok. Children also need to be learning that they may identify or may not identify as LGBT as they grow up, and that whoever they grow into as an adult is also perfectly normal and acceptable.’
This is quite a lot for small children to take on board.
Moffat then goes on to say that teaching about different sexual orientations is best done in the context of the Equality Act 2010. So, as well as teaching children about LGBT they should also learn that other differences are also welcome and protected: ‘different ethnicities, genders, gender identities, religions, ages and abilities.’ Further on in the introduction, again playing fast and loose with the specifics of the 2010 Act, he looks forward to children leaving primary school ‘happy and excited about living in a community full of difference and diversity, whether that is through ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion.’
In chapter 2, Moffat quotes the public sector Equality Duty (PSED) about the need to create a whole school ethos for his resource. The PSED aims to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people. The duty applies to the public sector and also others carrying out public functions. In other words, it covers schools and how they treat their employees. It is not about what to teach in school. But Moffat wants to link the two.
“The wording of this makes it plain to public bodies (i.e. schools) that promoting some of the protected characteristics of the EA while ignoring others is simply against UK law. So we cannot promote an ethos where people of diverse faith are welcome but people of diverse sexual orientation are not. Similarly, children need to be taught that this is the law, as when children eventually leave school and get a job, they will not stay employed for long if they say to black colleagues, “I am racist, so I don’t want to work with you!” or to gay colleagues, “As my faith says homosexuality is a sin, I don’t want to work with you.””
Parkfield school has a signing in system. It’s electronic and there’s a photo of it in the No Outsiders booklet.
Again, the actual 9 characteristics of the Equality Act have been confused and renamed, Sex has become Gender and Gender Reassignment has become Transgender identity. There are 6 posters around the school’s outside perimeter, with the same message, the same false reading of the Equality Act, the same promotion of ideas of gender identity.
Chapter 5 of the booklet deals with 12 questions he’s been asked, by parents, in relation to his teaching programme. He’s only ever been asked about teaching relating to challenging homophobia he claims, never about race, disability or other discriminations.
In answer to the question ‘How do I explain what “gay” means to my child?’ Moffat advises this answer:
“Gay” is when a man loves a man. “Lesbian” is when two women love each other. “Bisexual” is when a person can love both men and women. “Transgender” is when a person feels different from the body they were born into; we were all assigned a gender at birth and sometimes when we get a bit older we may feel differently about that. Some people say that there are “boy things” and some say there are “girl things” but we say this is not the case and boys and girls can do the same sorts of things if they want. Some of us will live as a different gender from the one other people chose for us; others may like to do things that some people think are “just for boys” or “just for girls.”
It’s worth looking at this answer in some detail. The teacher is asked by a parent how to explain the concept gay to a child. The first two answers are fine for a primary school child; love can stand in here for sexual attraction at this point. But Moffat goes on to answer two unsolicited questions about being bi-sexual or transgender. His definition of transgender is textbook gender identity theory with gender being “assigned” at birth. There is then another unsolicited digression, this time about sex stereotypes, with a simplistic explanation of boy things and girl things. Then he’s back to the transgender issue, talking about possibly living a different gender “from the one other people chose for us.”
Lucky the parent who could make sense of this at a busy parent’s evening or could begin to understand how a question about same sex attraction ends up being thrown into the fact free world of gender feelings and girl things and boy things.
Chapter 6 is titled Coming Out in Primary Schools. Here Moffat sketches his own history as a gay teacher and discusses the pros and cons of coming out as gay to the school body. It’s mostly upbeat and anecdotal and ends with an anecdote about the visit to the school of Gareth Thomas, the Welsh rugby international. When Thomas told a whole school assembly that he was also gay, Moffat recounts:
“Great – gay people are welcome in our school! There was one audible gasp from a child in year 6 but otherwise there was no reaction at all, which was quite nice as it demonstrated to the shocked child that he was alone in his reaction; his homophobia made him the outsider.’”
This casual name calling and othering of a 10 or 11-year-old boy in print, in a teaching resource, does not reflect well on Andrew Moffat.
The remainder of the booklet is the teaching plan. There are five books with corresponding lesson plans for each year group. Moffat says he’s not connected the lesson plans directly with the 9 characteristics of the Equality Act. He advises that while some books specifically support the LGBT strand, all the books can be used to ‘celebrate diversity in all its forms.’
But surely there should be some link between the stated intention that No Outsiders is a teaching resource about the 2010 Equality Act and the actual lesson plans themselves? After all that is what the booklet claims to be for.
I’ve read the 35 recommended books and correlated each one, where possible, with the 9 protected characteristics of the Equality Act. This was done on the basis of the content of each book. 17 books could be said to have a link to one of the 9 protected characteristics of the Equality Act.
They are listed here with the number of books that relate to them following in brackets.
Age (1) Disability (3) Gender Reassignment (4) Race (3) Religion or Belief (0) Sex (1) Sexual Orientation (5) Marriage and Civil Partnerships (0) Pregnancy and Maternity (0)
9 books can be grouped into just two of the protected characteristics, Gender Reassignment and Sexual Orientation, which possibly is what Moffat is referring to when he says that some books specifically support the LGBT strand. Parents have a point when they say the programme is weighted towards LGBT issues. To understand this, it’s important to look at the teaching plans that accompany each book. It’s here that children are guided towards an adult, gender identity reading of the text.
My Princess Boy is taught to year 6, though the language and imagery are pitched at a much lower age, possibly years 1 and 2. The learning intention is to promote diversity. The Princess Boy of the title is 4-year-old boy who likes pretty things, pink is his favourite colour. He wears girly dresses. Sometimes people are mean to him but his family all love him very much. The lesson plan tells teachers to ask the class if the Princess Boy feels like a girl or if he just want to wear dresses. The book does not say whether he does or doesn’t so the class is asked to make a judgement based on the book’s repetitive refrain that this is my princess boy who wears dresses and I love him very much. There is no way the class would know, but the idea that he might “feel” like a girl is being sown.
The teacher will then reveal that the book is actually based on a true story and the class will watch a 2011 interview from US TV with the author Cheryl Kilodavis and her son, Dyson, who was five at the time. The interview is interesting. At no point does the mother or Dyson claim he is a girl, he just likes wearing dresses. The interviewer asks him ‘Do you want to be a boy or a girl?’ Dyson replies boy. Dyson appears very young for his age, monosyllabic and very awkward. It’s an uncomfortable watch yet a class of ten and eleven year olds are viewing this as part of their school lessons and are being asked to make judgements. The question the interviewer asked is one of the suggested questions put to the class ‘Does Dyson want to be a boy or a girl?’
In the plenary session of the lesson there are these notes for teachers:
‘Say,…..”What does British law say about gender identity?” Refer to the seven characteristics on the Equality Act poster. Say, “Which characteristic is relevant to this story? (Gender identity) Ask, “How can we make sure we are following the law at our school?”’ (A reminder: Gender Identity is not a protected characteristic.)
Teachers are also advised that for specific lesson plans and books about Transgender awareness go to www.equalitiesprimary.com a link to Andrew Moffat’s website where he can be contacted for training, merchandise and books.
This example, My Princess Boy, shows in the clearest detail the problem with No Outsiders. Dyson is a child with some very visible issues. His mother acknowledges his gender non-conformity. She never says he is transgender. But the Parkfield children are being taught that this is what transgender is. His behaviour is called his gender identity and they are being asked to imagine if he feels like a girl.
The other books that come under the LGBT part of this course and promote the idea, in the text and the teaching notes, that you should be your authentic self, are about dogs, ducks, crayons. My Princess Boy stands out as it features a child, in this case a real one. Three of the books in the LGBT strand possibly straddle other categories (marriage and pregnancy) but are firmly set in gay relationships or being a gay dad. The learning intention in King and King, a story about two Kings who get married, for year 4s, states that it is to understand why people get married. The teaching notes however concentrate on same sex marriage and learning what gay and lesbian means.
The learning intention behind And Tango Makes Three in year 5 is to accept people who are different from me. The teaching notes emphasise gay couples. In the book two male penguins fall in love and want to hatch an egg. They do this and look after their chick together. This is another true though heavily anthropomorphised story. Teachers are advised to google ‘gay animals in zoos’ to show their class. As with My Princess Boy the use of a true story is used to drive home the message.
In the third book, The Odd Egg, for year 2s, a male duck wants to hatch an egg. The learning intention is to understand what makes someone feel proud. All the other birds in the story hatch eggs and produce their offspring, the owl has a baby owl, the ostrich a baby ostrich. The duck however sits on an enormous egg and hatches a crocodile who immediately calls him Mama. The children are taught that if the duck wants to look after a croc he should be allowed to and that all families are different.
The 8 books linked to Age, Disability, Race and Sex Equality are more straightforward and there is less dissonance between the text and the learning intentions.
This leaves 18 other books which are harder to categorise beyond saying they are about difference or discrimination and emphasise how, despite being different, we can all still get on. Two cover historical events, WW1 and WW2, one artistic freedom, one human rights. The issues of difference and cooperation are common themes for children’s literature and usually are taught as moral concepts rather than legal ones. Trying to shoehorn them into a resource which is teaching the Equality Act makes little sense.
The question of why the Equality Act was chosen by Andrew Moffat as a vehicle for his teaching programme remains. There is no legal requirement to teach it in the way that Moffat has chosen. The framework of the 9 protected characteristics is cumbersome. The suspicion must be that he is using the cover of the Equality Act to teach what is his main interest, LGBT, and within that, gender identity. The genesis of No Outsiders bears this out. While most commentators have repeated the line that he thought up or devised the programme himself, in the introduction to No Outsiders he acknowledges its origins:
“…a project that ran from 2006 to 2008, supporting primary school teachers to develop strategies to address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender equality in primary schools. The “no outsiders” project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and paved the way for this resource. Most of the ideas for this resource originated within those two years and I would like to thank that fantastic and brave team for starting me on my journey.”
The No Outsiders project began life in September 2006 at the University of Sunderland, led by Dr Elizabeth Atkinson and Dr Renee DePalma, with a grant of £575,435.85. It ended in December 2008. In addition to the academic staff 26 practitioner-researchers were recruited, working in 16 English primary schools. Details of some of the work that resulted from the project can be found on the ESRC website.  This screenshot gives a flavour of the published work.
The research report, citations and references all place the project within an influential academic area, namely queer theory.
One of those teacher researchers, recruited for the project, was Andrew Moffat. He was also one of the speakers at No Outsiders seminar at the University of Exeter in 2008 where he co-presented a paper with Dr Elizabeth Atkinson, the project co-leader. The title of the seminar was Queering the Body; Queering Primary Education. An excerpt from the blurb gives a flavour of proceedings.
“The team is concerned to interrogate the desexualisation of children’s and teacher’s bodies, the negation of pleasure and desire and the tendency to shy away from discussion of (sexual) bodily activity in No Outsiders project work. The danger of accusations of the corruption of innocent children…..has led team members to make repeated claims that this project in not about sex or desire – and that it is therefore not about bodies. Yet, at a very significant level that is exactly what it is about…”
Participants were promised answers to some radical questions:
There is an air of unreality about all this. ‘At what cost do we deny children’s and teacher’s sexuality? What do we lose if desire and pleasure are banned from the classroom? What is the place of the research team members’ own bodies, desires and pleasures in this research?’ Reading these questions, you have to keep reminding yourself that the bodies in question are those of adults and the children aged 5 to 11 who are in their care to learn.
It ties in with a thread that runs through the whole ESRC project; a strong feeling that teachers who are gay should be able to be their own authentic selves in front of their pupils (challenging heteronormativity they call it).
Dr Atkinson and Andrew Moffat’s paper was called ‘Bodies and minds: essentialism, activism and strategic disruptions in the primary school.’
Gendered Intelligence also played an important role in the research. The not-for-profit company has been working for the last decade in schools, youth projects and universities to promote ideas of gender identity and gender expression.  The founder, Jay Stewart, was brought in for the second year of the project to focus explicitly on gender identity and work with several of the project schools. Another of the teacher researchers in the ESRC project, Katie Salkeld, also took the lessons of No Outsiders into her own work as a primary school teacher. She spoke at a conference in 2010 organised by Gendered Intelligence about her work in introducing year 6s to transgendered identities. A film by Jay Stewart was shown at the same event. It was called Gender Variance in Primary Schools and was made as part of the No Outsiders project. (Salkeld continued the contact with Gendered Intelligence’s Stewart. He gave a talk on transgender issues in her school in 2015 according to the Mail). 
What stands out in the papers that are available from the ESRC project and the background theories they rely on is that there is no interest in the actual physical and psychological development of actual children. Quite the reverse in fact. Many of the authors, keen to subscribe the idea that childhood itself is a construction, also talk disparagingly of the ‘dominant discourses of childhood innocence’ and schools as places in which heterosexuality is performed. It is queer theory, one of the cornerstones on which the whole edifice of gender identity is built. 
There is no evidence that Andrew Moffat supported all of the ideas published by the University of Sunderland team but it is very clear that gender identity was a key part of the mix and that his subsequent ideas, as he acknowledged, stemmed from his participation in the project. In 2007 he published his first version of CHIPS, Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools, a series of lesson plans based on children’s books. An updated version was published in 2012 and is still advertised on Moffat’s website. 
A first outing for the programme at a pre-dominantly white school in Coventry went well according to Moffat. In 2009 he moved to a school in Birmingham with an ethnically mixed intake, the largest two being Christian Afro-Caribbean and Somali Muslim. He began by trying to get the school governors onside with his teaching programme. But this failed, they said no to it. So, he tried a different tactic. He used the texts anyway without informing the parents or governors and for some time he got away with it. He then decided that after being at the school for 4 years he would come out as a gay man, using a school assembly and a poster from the book King and King. It was at this point that parents began to complain. Moffat felt he had to resign. Although Moffat has admitted he was wrong to introduce the materials against the wishes of the governors and without informing the parents, his explanations for this are wholly to do with procedure and ‘pockets of homophobia’.
The CHIPS programme is concerned almost wholly with LGBT issues. But some of the texts go beyond challenging homophobia and move into teaching gender identity. The teaching plans attached to each book raise serious questions about Moffat’s judgement, his knowledge of the law, and his understanding of girls’ needs for privacy and boundaries. In Are you a boy or are you a girl? by Sarah Savage and Fox Fisher, a text for years 5 or 6, the learning intention is to consider how we use pronouns. The story by two transgender authors is clearly polemical. It tells the story of siblings Fiona and Tiny. While it’s clear Fiona is a girl we never know whether Tiny is a girl or a boy. Tiny refuses to say. Buster, the bully in the story who believes girls shouldn’t play football, demands to know if Tiny is a girl or a boy. The message is not just that sex stereotypes are bad but that it doesn’t matter if Tiny is a boy or a girl, that it is nobody’s business but your own to know what sex you are.
The teaching notes press the message home. Children are asked to question why we need pronouns. They are told to imagine Tiny joining their class and how they would have to reconsider using pronouns. The teacher is told to write ‘transgender’ on the board and to explain that it means feeling different inside from the gender you are ‘assigned at birth.’ The law is brought in to re-enforce the point and the children are told it is against the law to discriminate against a transgender person. Finally, pupils are asked to consider, if Tiny visited their school, which toilet Tiny would use and if Tiny is forced to choose one or the other would be that be discrimination?
This is straight from the trans activists’ handbook; pronouns and toilets. Children are told choosing them is just a matter of how you feel, that it is not important what sex you are. Years 5 and 6 will already be using single sex toilets as it is the law they must be provided for children from age 8. Some of the 10 and 11-year-old girls in these lessons will have started their periods and will need the privacy and protection of single sex spaces. They will have been subject to some sexual harassment and name-calling. This book and lesson plan take away any chance they have of being able to resist it for fear of being called a bully, of breaking the law, of being mean.
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray is taught to year 6s, the final year of primary school in Andrew Moffat’s CHIPS programme. It tells the story of Bailey, who dreams about wearing dresses. Bailey is referred to as she throughout the book despite everyone, his mother, father and brother, repeating constantly that he is a boy. Only when Bailey meets an older girl, who offers to help make a dress, is Bailey’s dream of wearing a dress made reality. The book ends ‘Together the girls made two new dresses which were covered with mirrors of all shapes and sizes.’ The not-so subtle message being they could see their true selves in the mirrored dresses. The learning intentions are explicit; to consider what it means to be transgender. Pupils are told that they are all ‘…assigned a gender at birth.’
“Some people feel different to the gender they were assigned at birth; they live as the gender they identify with.”
The class then watches the CBBC documentary programme ‘I am Leo’ which is described as ‘very positive and perfect for understanding about life as a transgender child’. Leo tells viewers that he is an average 13-year-old boy apart from the fact he was born in a girl’s body. The programme never questions whether Leo might be a lesbian, never challenges his assertion that he knows what it is to feel like a boy, that he is a boy trapped in a girl’s body. He tells his audience of children that he found out about all this on the internet. Again, the class is asked what they would do if Leo came to their school and are reminded of the No Outsiders school ethos. Presenting this real-life story, a BBC documentary, in the first person as truth is compelling for children. No one is pointing out that Leo has got his facts off the internet, that it is not possible to be born in the wrong body, that he faces a life time of medication if he continues on this path. To show this film to year 6 children who have yet to go through puberty and understand how their growing bodies work is grossly irresponsible. It is gaslighting. It is promoting gender identity theory.
No Outsiders, like the duck’s egg, has been a long time in the hatching. It began in academia, in thrall to queer theory, and made its first and unsuccessful outing as a teaching resource to counter homophobia. It was refashioned as a way of teaching the Equality Act. But its links to gender identity theory have again been its undoing. Fatima and Mariam, the two Parkfield mothers quoted above, are right to be worried about its effects on their children.
What has happened at Parkfield school is horrible for all concerned. For the children who have to attend school in divisive and disruptive circumstances, for the parents who feel they are not being listened to, for the teachers facing protests and criticism while doing their jobs. Nobody wins. It’s also horrible for Andrew Moffat who has had to endure threats and homophobic name calling.
time he dropped the No Outsiders programme. Primary age children should be
given clear factual information about biological sex, sex differences between
girls and boys, about boundaries, respect and privacy. They should learn to say
no to bullying of all sorts, and practice respect for difference and diversity.
The rest can come later.
Transgender Trend’s position:
- We oppose discrimination against any group.
- We campaign only against the teaching of highly questionable queer theory and gender identity ideology as fact in the classroom.
Stonewall comment piece in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/31/dont-let-homophobes-reverse-20-years-of-progress
 BBC Radio 4’s Profile programme 6.4.2018 which featured Andrew Moffat is a good example.
 Gendered Intelligence’s website offers advice about make-up and binding for young people who are interested in their gender expression
This Post Has 27 Comments
All of this going on in plain sight. So many of my friends thinking it’s analagous to Section 28. This is an excellent critique of this so called teaching resource. To someone like me, lesbian , in my 60s and no children, it simply looks like brain washing! Leave those kids alone.
This is appalling and is going to lead to increasing backlash against the LGB community. We need to separate from the T. This bizarre and inappropriate focus on children’s bodies and sexuality gives fuel to the right wing belief that LGB people are coming to indoctrinate children. When in fact it is only the T that is doing so. Queer theory will be the death of the gay rights movement.
So so sick of being lumped in with the T lot. Nothing in common. I am not transphobic, I actually detransitioned before any permanent change could take place – thank God!, but we really don’t have anything in common and I’m sick of alphabet soup grouping.
A great piece of work: unstitching the stitch up. Makes me sad and angry that this needs to be done.
What an amazing piece of work, thank you. It needs to be shared widely. It’s horrifying what is going on in the UK.
Hello – Lady Justice on Twitter pointed out that UK law does seem to require teaching of the Equality Act. Of course all your other points remain valid and important, but would you consider correcting the sentence in your blog post on that point, to ensure full accuracy?
The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 — Requires that “the proprietor ensures that a written policy on the curriculum, supported by appropriate plans and schemes of work, which provides for the matters specified in sub-paragraph (2),” and sub-paragraph (2) includes “personal, social, health and economic education which – (i)reflects the school’s aim and ethos; and (ii)encourages respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 [Equality] Act.” See here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/3283/schedule/made
Yes, thanks, we’ve changed it to “There is no legal requirement to teach it in the way that Moffat has chosen.”
We are living through dangerous times .The reality of biology is being swamped by fantasies created by adults whose agenda must be questioned.
The issue that children and young people can can and should alter their bodies according to certain ‘feelings’ has to remain on course to be challenged.
The growing unpleasant and threatening behaviour coming from the trans lobby absolutely must continue to be challenged. My fear is that it is becoming somewhat akin to a social contagion, not unlike the spread of eating disorders amongst young people Bulemia etc.
I just cannot bear the deception being sold, as if altering ones biology to fit a stereotype can be a reality.
I would like to thank Shelley Charlesworth for writing this detailed and well referenced account of the No Outsiders programme. It is astute to recognise how the Equality Act 2010 has been used as a vehicle to foist a LGBT ethos through out Parkfield School despite knowing parents will not approve of it. Hence, it was implemented in a surreptitious manner and any dissenting voices from the governors to the parents were silenced using the phrase ‘it is the law we have to do it’. A wholly insincere and disingenuous statement.
The No Outsiders programme creates doubt and conflict in a child and places a rift between child and parent. When a child is born to a family the strength of bond created within the family is enormous, it has no real substitute. This programme and others like it are a further and systematic erosion of the basic family structures that have been present for generations. These programmes about gender identity and sexuality will change the relationship between future generations of husbands and wives and there by changing the relationship between child and parent too. Even the concept of husband and wife may become unrecognisable from what it has been in the past. It is like reading something out of a science fiction novel.
I worked with Fatima and Mariam at Parkfield School from the beginning before the protests started. At no time did any member of the campaign incite violence or hatred toward LGBT members or make any homophobic comment. In all our literature we made it very clear we will accept NO homophobic behaviour in our campaign. We had two meetings with the police who made it clear that throughout the campaign, they found no homophobic behaviour. I asked specifically about Mr. Moffat’s comments of being threatened. I was told that Mr. Moffat felt threatened but was never threatened.
The community in Alum Rock like many other communities across Britain holds a certain moral position on sexual relationships which are traditional and perfectly legal. This should not be taken as appearing to be homophobic. In many areas in society we may hold to different moral values but can still live together with mutual respect and tolerance. That is what British values is about. Mr. Moffat in his book acknowledges that we have reached mutual respect and tolerance as there is no more homophobia in schools. But what he requires now is acceptance, that is to say, we drop our moral values and accept his moral position on sexuality. That is what he has wished upon our children at Parkfield School.
Mr. Moffat’s wishes go directly against the parent’s wishes for their children, and this is the reason why parents, as a last resort after petitioning the school, protested and withdrew 600 children from the school to fight for what they believed was right for their children. It is unprecedented in Britain that parents have had to withdraw 600 children from a school before they are heard.
As I write, the parents are in mediation with the school and the Dfe. Negotiations have been thrown into the long grass. If the matter was one of just education it would have been resolved sometime ago but there is a political backdrop to the issue. The parents are up against the Dfe, Ofsted, council and parliament, not to mention the demonising media.
The parents will continue fighting for their children if they feel their children’s moral values are being threatened. There will be further and more frequent withdrawals of children from the school if the No Outsiders programme continues. The bond between child and parent is such that parents wish their children to share their values and will not stop fighting for their children.
Alum Rock Parents Community Group
This is a very objective analysis of the ‘No Outsider Programme’ and it clearly enlightens many people including teachers in primary schools in Birmingham like me, who are caught in the middle of this horrific situation. It undoubtedly shows that the people opposed to the programme are not all homophobic and bigoted as most mainstream media have sought to portray. There’s genuine concerns of decent citizens worried about the future of their children but Mr Moffat, Parkfield School, Birmingham Council and Ofsted, all seem to be unwilling to listen to the community they serve and seek to downplay what is going own and depict the protesting parents as simply homophobes and Muslim extremists!! This is far away from the truth and my kids are in another school that has taken on this programme and unfortunately the head teacher, supported by some politicians and Ofsted are smearing the parents in the same manner as Parkfield School. They are very arrogant and they feel they have the power of the law, support of the politicians, the mainstream media, DfE and Ofsted and so they have no reason to listen to these parents that they perceive as illiterate, semi-illiterate and second-class citizens. That’s the fact in my opinion. I just cannot believe the level of haughtiness and the attitude of these school leaders towards the parents which clearly contravenes the DfE’s guidance.
Agree we should stick to the facts “Primary age children should be given clear factual information”. Up to what age should we try to protect children from parental religious indoctrination or biased, faith based education?
Why do so many of you feel so threatened by this?
Surely teaching children that some people are different and that it is OK to be different is not vital if we want to stop this bigoted hate speech we are seeing.
I am not trans, I do not understand what it is like to be trans but fight for trans people to have rights. What I do question is, why we have to live by a set of norms that have been developed and maintained , often thanks to religion, with no basis in fact. Heteronormativity needs questioning
How about these people who are born with non defined external genitalia but have that choice taken from them by the medical profession.
As a detransitioner I can tell you that all “trans” seems to be to me is a type of conversion therapy for butch women and effeminate men, who are nearly all gay. Instead of changing society’s attitudes people feel forced to mutilate their healthy bodies to fit in. In gender clinics there, in my experience, is No questioning of whether the patient has endured any trauma or abuse that makes them feel like this about their body (most have) or indeed what is wrong with being a butch woman or an effeminate man. Butch women and effeminate men are ostracized within the gay community currently as “drawing negative attention to us” so it’s no wonder so many feel transitioning is the only way. There are increased numbers of detransitioners male and female, tho the trans lobby would like you to think this isn’t the case. In Iran gays and lesbians are forcibly transitioned surgically. It doesn’t feel all that different here in some clinics from personal experience. All I needed was someone to say You’re fine as you are but all I got was yes you should transition. I thankfully realised in time I was ok as I was. Transing tomboys and effeminate boys is dangerous and sets gay and lesbian rights back years as well as women’s rights. Trans just reinforces stereotypical sex roles as far as I can see. I can’t tell you what it feels like to be “a woman” any more than any man could tell me what it feels like to be “a man”. It is a fallacy based on stereotypes.
Jon your comment conflates intersex with trans when in fact they are two different things. It’s honorable to teach kids to respect the choices of others. This is not the same as teaching kids young enough to believe in Santa Claus that gender is a choice and sex can easily be changed. That is what liberal parents like myself have an issue with. Sex changes are complicated medical procedures rife with complications and should only be undertaken by adults who have undergone thorough psychiatric evaluation to ensure that such drastic intervention is the best treatment for their gender dysphoria. Lifelong dependence on pharmaceutical hormones is an adverse outcome if less invasive options would suffice. Instead we are teaching kids that having a sex change is glamorous and without risk, against the will of parents. We don’t teach kids about the joys of drinking alcohol or getting tattoos in grade school. This is confusing for kids and age-inappropriate; being pushed only to satisfy the political agenda of adults. It has no place in schools without the express agreement of the parents.
“We don’t teach kids about the joys of drinking alcohol or getting tattoos in grade school.”
I like this. In fact, in many countries, children are taught about the *dangers* of alcohol when they are in school. It’s legal for them to drink (when they are 18), but there is so much teaching on how it’s bad for you. The same with smoking.
But educational institutions are not allowed to warn of the dangers of hormone blockers?! They are not allowed to warn of the dangers of ‘transitioning’ and the irreversible surgery?! That sounds like a major issue…
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Spot on article, the first time I have read such a chunk of text in years and actually enjoyed it as it teaches and unravels the truth about ‘no outsider’ program. Parents should be the ones educated how to deal with it not children. Educated parents can help, assist and counsel their kids. Help the minority who struggles, don’t try and convert+confuse the majority that does not.
Children do not think about how mummy and daddy will pay the bills this month or if food will be served or how clothes end up in their wardrobe, even more so they do not think about their sexuality and gender!
We are now currently dealing with this issue at our children’s school and ready to put truth where it belongs.
Thankyou for this well thought out piece. This has to be increasingly challenged, biology cannot be altered;we have the body decided at the process of conception. Nobody should be made to believe the myth of altering ones biology to suit what I believe has almost become a fashion trend.
As a radical feminist I have no argument against people who choose to dress in that of a prefered gender, matching traditional stereotypes. However I am witnessing a rise of hate speech and resentment against women whose biology has formed a living experience, which has no bearing on males who insist that they are the genuine article.
Being caught up in all this great entanglement for young vulnerable people, is unhealthy and damaging.
Fantastic and terrifying information.
I’ve always believed in trying the least drastic intervention or treatment for any condition first rather than having a “slash and burn” approach. For instance, what if Bailey, the child making the dresses, is simply a boy who wants to wear dresses? What if Bailey is gay? Why not simply tell Bailey that it’s okay to be a boy who wants to make and wear dresses? Why does wanting to make and wear dresses make you a girl?
I am an XX-chromosome heterosexual woman who despises wearing dresses. According to the twisted TRA logic, I must actually be a man because I don’t like to wear dresses. After all, wearing dresses is a girly thing, amirite? I don’t wear makeup either, never mind that one of the reasons I don’t wear makeup is because it causes my eczema to flare up like nobody’s business. Yep, totally a dude!
So much of this stuff echoes conversion therapy, except instead of trying to zap the gay out of someone’s brain with shock treatments or trying to “pray away the gay,” they are telling people that “you aren’t gay, you were born into the wrong body. Instead of being a gay guy, you’re actually a heterosexual woman who was born into a man’s body. Now, all you have to do is sign up for surgery and a lifetime of hormone treatments.”
There is no such thing in the United Kingdom as a transgendered child.
The first two sections of The Gender Recognition Act 2004 state the law as follows.
(1) A person of either gender who is aged at least 18 may make an application for a gender recognition certificate on the basis of—
(a) living in the other gender, or
(b) having changed gender under the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.
(2) In this Act “the acquired gender”, in relation to a person by whom an application under subsection (1) is or has been made, means—
(a) in the case of an application under paragraph (a) of that subsection, the gender in which the person is living, or
(b) in the case of an application under paragraph (b) of that subsection, the gender to which the person has changed under the law of the country or territory concerned.
(3) An application under subsection (1) is to be determined by a Gender Recognition Panel.
(4) Schedule 1 (Gender Recognition Panels) has effect.
2 Determination of applications
(1) In the case of an application under section 1(1)(a), the Panel must grant the application if satisfied that the applicant—
(a) has or has had gender dysphoria,
(b) has lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made,
(c) intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death, and
(d) complies with the requirements imposed by and under section 3.
(2) In the case of an application under section 1(1)(b), the Panel must grant the application if satisfied—
(a) that the country or territory under the law of which the applicant has changed gender is an approved country or territory, and
(b) that the applicant complies with the requirements imposed by and under section 3.
(3) The Panel must reject an application under section 1(1) if not required by subsection (1) or (2) to grant it.
(4) In this Act “approved country or territory” means a country or territory prescribed by order made by the Secretary of State after consulting the Scottish Ministers and the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland.
I tried to fight this Act in 2005, as recorded here:
Stop gender fraud!
I saw this coming. Unfortunately, I was ahead of my time. At the time, I received little publicity and support.
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Thank you for a very well researched and informative analysis.
I went to primary school in the late 1960’s. There was no tension around sexuality, and virtually no mention of it between children until about the age of ten, and then only in passing, and not as an obsession. There was no discrimination or teasing whatever at my primary school, and we did have school friends who were different. At secondary school there was no overt discrimination, and as adolescents we sorted ourselves out. Some of us turned out to be gay. We had some gay teachers, we knew they were gay. None of this was a problem. We had no explicit sex education, no social engineering, no propaganda; and far less stress and confusion than schoolchildren are subjected to today.
If there were any problems at school, they stemmed from sexually predatory teachers.
The idea that children below the age of criminal responsibility need to be aware of complex legislation concerning discrimination is utterly absurd. And identity politics is damaging everybody.
I am in agreement with the parents who are objecting to the authoritarian imposition of the No Outsiders programme, which I believe has hallmarks of indoctrination, and is also predominantly psychologically to do with the adults, and not the children. “Authoritarian imposition” may seem stark terms to describe what is occurring; however, when a programme is compulsory and when parents do not want the programme, then “authoritarian” is the only term that will do, since the state is assuming authority over parents and children in matters concerning their own biology and attitudes toward it. This gives rise to very serious concerns about limits to the extent of state power.
One is thing is certain, the state seems intent on removing the innocence of children from the earliest age possible.
“Primary age children should be given clear factual information about biological sex, sex differences between girls and boys, about boundaries, respect and privacy. They should learn to say no to bullying of all sorts, and practice respect for difference and diversity. The rest can come later. ”
I realise this article foregrounds ways in which you _agree_ with the protesting parents, and I realise that last paragraph is only a summary proposal – but I’m curious about the fact that your list of acceptable topics doesn’t name families with two mums or two dads.
Supposing that in a conversation with classmates, a young child refers to their two mums, and another child reacts by denying that that can be possible, or saying that it’s wrong (or even worrying that their friend’s parents will go to hell).
How would you want the teacher to respond, knowing that some parents do genuinely believe that it’s against God’s will for two women to make a family?
Would you want that teacher to gently explain that it’s not wrong, thereby contradicting some parents? If so, couldn’t that too “[place] a rift between child and parent”?
Also, the work of Schools Out on bullying includes the idea of “usualising”, meaning low-key references, such as a maths example where two people are adding money to pay bills or buy a house, and sometimes it’s two names traditionally both given to boys, or both given to girls. The way it’s supposed to work is that children have already got used to the idea of LGB people before it becomes a big topic. I don’t follow their work closely, but when I read about “usualising”, it seemed to me in principle a wise idea, likely to help children to accept people without upset or dismay in their future life.
In your picture of how these things ought to be set up, would a primary school be permitted to introduce those kinds of low-key examples? even if some or many of the parents objected?
Jennifer, that’s an interesting comment but personally, I don’t see a big issue.
Firstly, it is worth keeping in mind that the vast majority of people are heterosexuals who are happy with the body in which they were born. From this perspective, “usual” would be heterosexuality. School books and exam questions do not need an abundance of questions that portray the minority position (note the word ‘abundance’ in that sentence). In fact, to use your maths example (as I have a lot of experience in that area), not too long ago maths questions were very impersonal and would simply be written as “two people buy a house”. (In fact, often children need extra training in how to answer maths questions because they get bogged down with the details like names and miss what the question is about.) In this area, I wonder why “proportionate representation” is criticised by the LGBT community? Since less than 10% of the population is LGBT, schools should be presenting heterosexuality for over 90% of the time.
Secondly, in your example of a teacher having to deal with a conversation where a child has two parents of the same sex, does the teacher have a duty to put forward the “truth” that politics (or lobby groups) dictate? The reality is that “some people” think homosexuality is wrong, but “other people” think it is not wrong. Why should a teacher be reprimanded for telling the reality of the situation? Is this something on which all people must hold the same view? (Which would undermine the phrase “unity in diversity”.) Or are people allowed to disagree and remain civil with each other? (A position which I’ve found is not supported among many extremist groups.)
The NEU have fully embraced and promote the No Outsiders programme…as a teacher, parent, and union rep, this terrifies and enrages me in equal measure.
I find this post an excellent resource. I have spent many hours drawing attention to it and its content on Twitter. I have one criticism though, of Transgender Trend.
It is said of Transgender Trend, “We campaign only against the teaching of highly questionable queer theory and gender identity ideology as fact in the classroom.” So far, do good. If that was all it said, I’d want to join.
But this is prefixed by the unnecessary and divisive statement, “We oppose fundamentalist religious homophobia (of any religion)”. I understand why the group must remain neutral about beliefs other than its core belief that queer theory and gender identity are highly questionable and therefore ought not to be taught as fact in the classroom. I would expect Transgender trend to remain neutral towards fundamentalist beliefs. I do not see why it is necessary or expedient deliberately to alienate and exclude fundamentalists, by expressly opposing their beliefs, and therefore implicitly adopting beliefs that contradict theirs.
I suspect that what underlies this error – for error it is – is the use of a concise dictionary’s narrow definition of “homophobia”, as (in effect) an evil attitude. Wikipedia gives a rather better explanation of how the word “homophobia” is used in practice, to label a wide range of different “negative” attitudes.
I cannot join Transgender Trend, because, although I oppose the “teaching of highly questionable queer theory and gender identity ideology as fact in the classroom” like you do, I refuse to oppose the teachings of others who have common cause with me on that, who also happen to have negative attitudes towards homosexuality for religious reasons that might be considered “fundamentalist”, whatever *that* put-down word is supposed to mean.
The logic of “No outsiders” is that paedophiles are also acceptable.