Yesterday (February 26) we took part in a Parliamentary Briefing on the new RSE curriculum in the House of Commons convened by the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group Education Working Party and chaired by Rt Hon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP. The other speakers were Judith Nemeth, Revd Lynda Rose, Head teacher Ed Matyjaszek and parent Jacqueline Corcoran whose objection to the No Outsiders programme was met with indifference from her four year-old daughter’s school.
We were there to talk specifically about the inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in the RSE curriculum and the kind of programmes being offered on this issue, such as No Outsiders.
The briefing was well-attended and although only two MPs (Stephen Timms and Danny Kruger) came along, several MPs’ assistants were also present and others who had wanted to attend sent their apologies. Transcripts of our briefings were made available and we publish them here. There are PDF versions at the end of this post which we encourage everyone to send to their local MP.
Parliamentary Briefing: Teaching ‘gender identity’ in the RSE curriculum
(this is the longer version of an edited talk)
We support good, factual and relevant relationships and sex education in schools. We also support age-appropriate teaching of ‘LGBT’ as part of RSE and that LGBT people have equal rights and should not be discriminated against.
The Department for Education statutory RSE guidance states that schools need to be mindful of the Equality Act and the protected characteristics including sexual orientation and gender reassignment. Schools must ensure material is age appropriate and they are free to determine how and when LGBT content is introduced. In the RSE guidance for secondary schools however, the DfE guidance moves into areas not covered by the Equality Act and goes beyond the law by introducing the concept of ‘gender identity’:
“Pupils should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way.”
There is in fact no law on ‘gender identity’ and teaching this concept goes further than the requirement to teach children that transgender people exist, should have full rights and should not be discriminated against.
‘Gender Identity’ is not a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010 and is not defined in the Act, nor is it mentioned in the Gender Recognition Act 2004. ‘Gender’ and ‘transgender’ are also not protected characteristics. ‘Gender reassignment’ is the protected characteristic and the group of people protected by this characteristic are defined as ‘transsexuals.’
The DfE RSE guidance continues:
“Sexual orientation and gender identity should be explored at a timely point and in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner. When teaching about these topics, it must be recognised that young people may be discovering or understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
As well as no legal basis for teaching gender identity there is no scientific basis to the idea that all human beings are born with an innate sense of being male or female, and that this feeling overrides their biological sex in determining whether they are boys or girls. The concept of ‘gender identity’ as it is defined by trans activists is a political/ideological idea.
If taught in schools, it must be presented accurately as a belief which some people hold – and have a right to hold – along with other, different beliefs about gender which are in disagreement with the idea of innate gender identity. To teach gender identity alone, as fact, would be in breach of the Education Act 1996 which prevents political indoctrination of children.
The concept of ‘gender identity’ by definition erases two EA2010 protected characteristics, sex and sexual orientation, by replacing ‘sex’ with ‘gender’ in the definitions of men, women, gay, lesbian and bisexual people, thus eroding legal protections for these groups. The result of conflating sex and gender is to teach children information which is not legally or biologically correct. This harms children in different ways by:
1. Confusing Children about Sex
For example, Brook states:
“Often, but not always, the things we call female produce eggs and get pregnant, while the things we call male produce sperm and don’t get pregnant.”
“…man and woman are genders. They are social ideas about how people who have vulvas and vaginas, and people who have penises and testicles should behave”
“Gender refers to the way in which a person feels and thinks about themselves, and the way they dress, speak or move. This can be different to the ‘sex’ they were given at birth. In other words, you may feel female and have a penis, you may feel male and have a vulva or may feel like a mix of the two.”
Barnados tells children that “Gender is assigned at birth, depending on biological characteristics.”
Bish Training states:
“Many biologists used to think of this ‘males have penises’ and ‘females have clitorises’ idea of sex too – but not anymore […] there are actually so many similarities between penises and clitorises that to some extent the only differences might be how much it sticks out of the body.”
Gay and lesbian people are redefined as not same-sex attracted, but, as the Anti- Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Bullying Alliance says:
“A person who is attracted to someone of the same gender.”
This material misleads young people about both the protected characteristics in law and the objective reality of biological sex, which puts girls and lesbians in particular at risk; to understand that a person is male is important for girls’ safety and ability to give consent.
2. Erasure of biological sex in language
The Proud Trust states:
“Some simple tips for being LGBT-inclusive are […] to use the phrase “a person with a vagina” rather than “a woman’s vagina” and “a person with a penis” instead of “a man’s penis.” This is because, as we will learn, not all women have a vagina, and not all men have a penis.”
Consortium, in a factsheet written by MESMAC and ClinicQ states:
“When delivering sex education, it is important to use inclusive language. For example, avoid saying ‘men’s/boy’s penises’ and just say ‘penis’ (trans women/girls might have penises).”
The resulting dehumanising language is illustrated in the Sex Education Forum’s Puberty handout in the section ‘How to adapt language to include menstruators of all genders in menstruation education’:
Q: “Does the person menstruate?
A: Yes – they are a menstruator
A: No – they are a non-menstruator”
This is dangerous information. If a girl doesn’t start her periods it may be indication that there is a serious health problem. In this case a girl may believe that she is just one of the ‘non-menstruators’ and fail to tell anyone or seek medical advice.
This is another example, this time from the Proud Trust:
“Unplanned pregnancies can occur if penis-in-vagina sex happens where the penis ejaculates sperm, and the person with the vagina also has a womb.”
This kind of language undermines girls’ right to be taught facts about themselves as the female sex, to gain understanding of their female bodies and be given accurate information about issues which only affect women, such as menstruation and pregnancy. This kind of language is particularly dangerous for girls with learning disabilities and those with English as a second language. Information about biological sex must be clear, factual and unambiguous.
Obfuscation and impoverishment of language around sex disempowers all children by making them less confident of using the correct biological words to report abuse. This is a serious safeguarding risk.
3. Erosion of Sexual Boundaries/Consent
Once boys and girls are defined as genders based on internal feelings, and biological sex differences are deemed irrelevant, the inevitable result is erosion of any boundary between the sexes. This is from a GIRES/Mermaids factsheet on the PSHE Association website:
“If boys’ and girls’ toilets are separate, the school must ensure that a pupil who transitions to use the facilities that match their new gender presentation and their wishes.”
“There is nothing that should prohibit a trans young person from using the changing room or toilet of their gender identity. It is in fact their right that if the Trans young person wants to use the facilities of their new gender, they should be able to do so.”
A common theme running through these resources is that people know themselves best, and no-one has the right to question them. Children are instructed by Bish to believe that anyone is the sex they say they are:
“Also sex, like gender, is not just about biology but is also to do with how we feel about ourselves and what society tells us about ourselves.
If someone tells you their gender believe them.
Don’t assume you know what their body is going to look like.
Don’t be so obsessed with people’s bodies in the first place, perhaps we can all be more interested in people’s stories about who they are instead.” 
Cross-dressers appear in the glossaries of these resources under the umbrella term ‘trans.’ Brook gives us the most honest definition in their guidance:
“Cross dressing is a lifestyle choice and is often driven by feeling comforted or turned-on by wearing clothes of the opposite sex.”
Are girls expected to accept the presence of men who are sexually aroused by wearing women’s clothing in their toilets and changing-rooms? Mixed-sex facilities deny all children their right to privacy, comfort and dignity, and put girls especially at risk by taking away their right to assert their boundaries with the opposite sex, or even recognise that they have that right. Single-sex exemptions exist in the Equality Act and single-sex facilities are lawful.
Telling someone that a reality is not true and that they are the crazy one for believing it is called ‘gaslighting.’ Forcing girls to accept males in their private spaces and refer to them as ‘girls’, for fear of being seen as bigoted or transphobic, is a form of coercive control. Schools should be teaching children to recognise the techniques of coercive control so that they are able to recognise abusive relationships.
Finally, the harm done to children by the idea of innate gender identity is apparent by the exponential rise in the number of children being referred to the Tavistock clinic, especially adolescent girls, believing that if they don’t fit society’s stereotyped expectations for their sex they must be ‘transgender’ because they do not conform to the definition of ‘cisgender.’ The idea of innate gender identity is rooted in regressive and harmful sex stereotypes.
4. Gender Stereotyping
‘Trans’ is presented to children as the only way to be non-conforming; the only alternative is to be a boring conformist to regressive sex stereotypes. This is how Brook defines being ‘cis’:
“There are many more ways, in fact, of being trans than there are of being cis.
Cis people may never have to think about their gender expression. That’s because they often behave in ways that they are expected to, so people may not say much about it.” 
Jigsaw explains it in this way in their glossary in child-speak:
“Cisgender: Someone who is male and happy being a boy or a female who is happy being a girl.”
And in their adult-speak glossary:
“Cisgender: a person whose gender identity, gender expression and biological sex align (e.g. woman, feminine and female).”
If you are a girl and you are not ‘feminine’ then you must be ‘trans’ or ‘non binary’ according to this model of understanding.
Barnados explains gender identity in this way:
“A person’s internal, self-perception of their own gender.”
What young person has an internal self-perception, particularly in adolescence, that they are, completely happily, a boring, conforming stereotype of their sex? There is no space created for the girls who reject all things feminine or the boys who feel uncomfortable with the pressure to be macho. There is no recognition that this generation of girls is growing up in a culture where porn is shared on smartphones in the playground and the porn industry has infiltrated the music, entertainment and film industries to the extent that it’s not surprising girls don’t ‘identify as’ the sex which is routinely abused, degraded and humiliated in the name of entertainment.
The only answer to the distress of gender dysphoria according to the orthodoxy of ‘gender identity’ is that they were mistakenly born the ‘wrong sex’ – and the next step on that pathway is medical ‘correction’ of the body. The concept of ‘gender identity’ offers children only one prescribed way to conceptualise their distress and feelings of being different. Validation of the concept of ‘gender identity’ in teaching materials, so that it is synonymous with sexual orientation, forecloses any other means of understanding and any other way of supporting a young person who is feeling distress or confusion around being a boy or a girl. The idea of ‘gender identity’ allows for one interpretation only: the fault lies with the physical body. This is a harmful model of understanding to teach adolescents.
Parliamentary Briefing: No Outsiders
No Outsiders is a teaching programme for primary school children aged 4 to 11.
There are 5 books per year, 35 in all, each with lesson plans. It’s subtitled ‘Teaching the Equality Act in Primary Schools.’
Before I go into the detail there are two things I’d like you to keep in mind:
Child psychologists say that until the age of 7 children do not understand that sex is constant. The science behind this is robust and well replicated.
Simply put, small children think that when appearances change, so does the underlying reality. For instance, putting on a dress literally makes you a girl. Under the age of 7 children believe it is possible to change sex.
And secondly queer theory.
This is what lies behind most LGBT teaching in schools. It turns both reality and biology upside down. Queer theory says that SEX is a social construct and there can be more than 2 sexes.
Queer theorists say that gender is assigned not recorded, at birth and that it can be wrongly assigned. Therefore, it is possible to be born in the wrong body.
They argue that GENDER IDENTITY is innate and that everyone has a gender identity that only they can know.
So according to these theorists, sex is a made-up idea but gender identity is a material reality.
Queer theory has directly influenced No Outsiders, the programme at the centre of the row in Birmingham between the overwhelmingly Muslim parent body and Andrew Moffat, author of this book.
This row is often framed as a conflict between “homophobic protestors” and a progressive, equalities-based approach to teaching about difference. Mr Moffat says No Outsiders teaches children that gays and lesbians exist, and promotes British values.
He’s argued that all opposition is bigotry and that he is merely following the law in promoting the protected characteristics of the Equality Act.
The truth is more complicated. No Outsiders started life as a £575,000 research project at Sunderland University in 2006. Its aim was to “develop strategies to address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender equality in primary schools”.
Mr Moffat was one of the teacher participants. Some of the published papers give a flavour of the research: “Unbelieving the matrix: queering consensual heteronormativity” and “Speaking the unspeakable in forbidden places: addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the primary school”. Mr Moffat himself gave a paper “Queering the Body: Queering Primary Education”.
Ten years on No Outsiders remains close to its queer theory roots. It consistently misrepresents the Equality Act, wrongly labelling gender reassignment, one of the nine protected characteristics, as ‘gender identity’.
It also replaces the protected characteristic ‘sex’ with the undefined and subjective term ‘gender.’ Sex is the protected characteristic that upholds girls’ rights to single sex exemptions.
For this reason alone, his teaching material should not be used, as it is legally inaccurate. When he talks about ‘transgender identity’ or ‘gender identity’ he is in fact introducing into primary schools a contentious ideology.
The programme is weighted towards LGBT issues. 9 the 35 books are about same sex relationships and gender identity.
Take “My Princess Boy” one of the Year 6 books. The boy in the book likes wearing dresses and pink things. Readers are encouraged to believe that this means he is a girl, reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes.
The teacher is told to ask pupils if the Princess Boy “feels like a girl” followed by “what does British law say about gender identity?” and “how can we make sure we are following the law at our school?”
This is nonsense. The law says nothing about gender identity. Small children believe what adults say and the law can seem frightening to a 10-year-old.
Girls in particular lose out when taught gender identity. It tells them that a girl is a stereotype of femininity and that being a girl is simply a feeling and they must accept a boy in their toilets and changing rooms if he says he is a girl.
It denies girls privacy and the right to set their own boundaries.
There is no requirement under RSE Government guidelines for primary schools to teach gender identity or trans issues.
Andrew Moffat, like other politically motivated lobbyists, gets around this by saying No Outsiders celebrates diversity, that his lessons are a whole school ethos.
But he is teaching gender identity theory under the cover of the Equality Act. This is inappropriate adult material imposed on children who are not developmentally equipped to understand it.
Both these briefings may be downloaded as PDFs here:
 Consortium fact sheet by Mesmac with ClinicQ https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/system/files/Factsheet%20-%20Sex%20education.pdf
 Transition of a Pupil in School (GIRES and Mermaids factsheet)