Stonewall recently launched an LGBT inclusive curriculum guide for primary schools, supported by the Government Equalities Office and Pearson. Here we analyse that guide.
Do children need Stonewall’s LGBT inclusive teaching in primary schools?
by Shelley Charlesworth
Evidence came to light recently which proved without a doubt that the methods of trans activists are best defined as policy capture. The OECD definition of policy capture is:
The process of consistently or repeatedly directing public policy decisions away from the public interest towards the interest of a specific interest group or person. Capture is the opposite of inclusive and fair policy-making and always undermines core democratic values. The capture of public decisions can be achieved through a wide variety of illegal instruments such as bribery but also through legal channels such as lobbying and financial support to political parties and political campaigns.
We now have proof that UK trans activist groups are knowingly acting in this way and advising others to do so. A report titled Only Adults? Good Practises in Legal Gender Recognition for Youth is a perfect example of the process. It was put together by three organisations: Dentons, a major international law firm, the Thompson Reuters Foundation, a huge and wealthy media body, and IGLYO, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth & Student Organisation. The latter is a pan European LGBT activist group formed in 1984 and based since 2009 in Brussels where it is funded by the EU, the Council of Europe and the Dutch government. It began life as the Dutch Gay Youth Organisation. Transgender, queer and intersex were added later. It currently has 5 full-time members of staff. 
The Only Adults? report is a manual for activists. The goal is to loosen the laws around parental consent for children and young people when it comes to changing their legal sex. It says:
“It is recognised that the requirement for parental consent or the consent of a legal guardian can be restrictive and problematic for minors” 
How to go about achieving that aim? It is important to get ahead of the government agenda:
“NGOs need to intervene early in the legislative process and ideally before it has even started. This will give them far greater ability to shape the government agenda.” 
More brazenly, the report praises activists in Ireland who attached hard-to-sell demands such as gender recognition to the more popular issue of marriage equality. It also advises against too much media scrutiny and tells activists to avoid engaging in debate with critics.
The debate around transgender issues in the UK has been plagued by such tactics; jumping the gun with legislation, tying trans to lesbian and gay rights and closing down debate. The process can be seen in the way that the new Relationships and Sex Education guidance  has been taken up by trans activists, who always refer to it as ‘LGBT inclusive.’ This headlining of the RSE guidance as LGBT inclusive is useful to them as it has provoked an overreaction from many religious and conservative groups. This further feeds into the activists’ narrative that they are fighting an illiberal and homophobic threat.
What does the Department’s guidance actually say? It lays out broad principles and a series of learning objectives that children should achieve by the end of primary and secondary school. Schools are free to add extra lessons to do this or they can incorporate the new guidance into existing PSHE lessons. Head teachers and governors will decide on the content and who should teach it.
The objectives for primary age children are grouped into five categories; Families and people who care for me, Caring relationships, Respectful relationships, Online relationships, Being safe. There is a further non-compulsory section on sex education. It is left to the school’s discretion as to whether to teach this. The DfE guidance says it should be:
“tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the pupils. It should ensure that both boys and girls are prepared for the changes that adolescence brings and – drawing on knowledge of the human life cycle set out in the national curriculum for science – how a baby is conceived and born.”
Parents must be consulted about the content of this sex education if the school decides to teach it. Teachers are told that sex education at primary level should correspond to what is taught in science. Knowing how the human body grows from birth to old age is a statutory part of the Science national curriculum in Year 5.
At primary level then the LGBT content, as required by the guidance, is limited to talking about different types of families which “sometimes look different from their family…they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care.”
It is concerning then that in the annexe to the guidance Stonewall is cited as the only LGBT resource for primary schools. And right on cue Stonewall have published a new glossy guide.  It illustrates perfectly two of the recommendations of the Denton et al ‘Only Adults’ manual for activists. Go further than government and the existing legal framework and attach yourself to something that the public is broadly in agreement with. Stonewall have gone further than the legal framework because there is no requirement to teach primary school children about transgender issues and language. They have attached themselves to something that has a broad degree of public acceptability, namely that children should know about gay and lesbian people and that homophobic bullying is wrong. Stonewall are keen people make the link between their guide and government guidance:
“The guide comes 10 months before all primary schools will be required to teach about what safe and healthy relationships look like, as well as different types of families, as part of the new regulations for teaching Relationships and Sex Education in England.” 
Stonewall starts by asking why does the curriculum need to be LGBT inclusive? And answers by quoting its own statistics on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, assuming that primary school children, aged four to eleven, without early and constant intervention, will be prey to these bullying tendencies. However, inclusivity Stonewall-style seems very close to saturation, for they insist, “The LGBT inclusive curriculum must go beyond teaching children about LGBT issues in PSHE, ensuring that LGBT families, people and themes are embedded throughout the curriculum.” Every year group and every subject is to be given the LGBT message. It’s worth asking what other topic, outside of religious schools where God is pretty central, is injected into every aspect of school life.
LGBT lobbyists like Stonewall like to say that children living with same-sex parents need to see themselves reflected in school life. There are according to Stonewall 20,000 children in the UK living in same-sex families. The NSPCC says that in 2016/17 there were approximately 96,000 looked after children in the UK. Sadly, children in care have very few high profile and well-funded lobbyists fighting their corner. There are around 50,000 children in the UK who suffer from hearing loss. Other groups of children – disabled, the very poor, those with abusive parents, immigrant children, children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds – may also struggle to find a reflection of their lives in school. Schools are there to teach all children equally, not to prioritise one group or issue over another. 
If a child goes to a primary school where the Stonewall curriculum is put into practice what will he or she be taught?
In EYFS or Reception class, a child’s first taste of real school life, they will be introduced to And Tango Makes Three. They will become very familiar with this book throughout their primary career as it will be used in different subject areas and year groups throughout primary school.
The Tango book tells the true, heavily anthropomorphised story of two male penguins in a New York zoo who bond and hatch an egg. Tango is the name of the resulting penguin chick. This is explained to the children as a story of same sex love and marriage. Surrogacy is an underlying theme, not brought out in any of the readings; the necessity of a female and male for reproduction is totally ignored.
They’ll also be read Donovan’s Big Day (his two mums get married), Dogs Don’t Do Ballet (challenging sex stereotyping) and Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?  This story is about siblings Fiona and Tiny. While Fiona is clearly a girl we are never told the sex of Tiny. The message of the book is that it is no one’s business to know whether Tiny is a boy or a girl. This is an activist message told to children who are too young to understand that sex is immutable and that there is nothing wrong with asking “are you a boy or girl?” a question that ought to be no different from asking someone’s name or age.
These 4 books form the EYFS part of Stonewall’s take on the English curriculum. And spanning all year groups for English is this instruction for teachers:
“Remember to teach children that ‘they’, ‘them’ and ‘their’ can be singular as well as plural. You could use it as an opportunity to learn that a lot of non-binary people prefer not to be referred to as ‘he’ or ‘she’”
These 4 to 5-yr-olds will learn to refer to Tiny, whose sex is unknown or possibly “non-binary”, as “they” or “them”.
Every lesson for these reception year children, except art and languages, will have some component of LGBT teaching if the Stonewall guidance is followed. There will be some counting in Maths using families with two mums or two dads, more counting in Science using different fabrics from the proselytising trans activist book 10,000 Dresses.  Design and Technology provides a bit of respite using a book called The Paper Bag Princess which is about sex stereotypes, which should inspire children to make a castle. In History they will read King and King and My Granny is a Pirate, neither of which contain a single historical fact. In Geography they’ll be asked to imagine packing a suitcase for a holiday in the sun with two mums. In Music they’ll dance to LGBT artists. In PE they’ll be read a book about a giraffe that can’t dance but does learn to in the end. In Computing they’ll do more activities surrounding the 10,000 Dresses book. In RE they’ll learn about different types of weddings and ceremonies with King and King, the book about two kings getting married, making another appearance.
PSHE or Physical Social and Health Education is prefaced by another instruction to teachers which is to apply to all their PSHE classes:
“Whether it’s when you make your PSHE sessions trans inclusive by referring to ‘most girls’ or ‘most boys’ when learning about body parts and puberty or when you learn about celebrating differences, your PSHE curriculum is full of opportunities to make links with LGBT themes”
Suggested books for this topic for the 4-5-yr-olds are The Family Book, which shows them different families and It’s OK To Be Different, a surprisingly good inclusion as it is a charming non-didactic book, pitched at that age group.
Our imaginary child is now in year 1 or Infant School and about to start on the Key Stage 1, KS1, curriculum which is tailored to 5-7 year-olds. These are the teaching suggestions from Stonewall’s LGBT inclusive curriculum for each subject.
For English, children will open Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl? again and be asked to identify nouns and verbs. Stonewall go further though, advising that the book should also be used to explore “trans identities”. It is worth pausing here to recap. The Stonewall guidance has been put on a recommended list of sources for the LGBT part of the new RSE curriculum. There is no instruction from government for schools to teach anything about trans identities and it is up to head teachers to decide on whether to do so. But being on an official government document carries some weight. Why are five year olds being taught about “trans identities” using a book which teaches children that they have no right to know the sex of other children in their schools and playgrounds? It is not until children reach the age of six to seven that they understand the consistency of sex, that they will not change or grow into something different from their natal sex. This knowledge of children’s cognitive development has been understood for many decades and has never been refuted. Stonewall’s guidance will only confuse. “Trans identities” isn’t a subject for five-year-olds and has no place in the English curriculum.
However, the deliberate confusion over sex and pronouns is picked up in KS1 Maths. This is the maths problem suggested by Stonewall:
“Max goes to the shop with their dad. They spend £7, how much change would they get from a £10 note” 
In Science And Tango Makes Three re-appears, this time as a jumping off point for some actual factual natural history. In Design Technology it’s time for King and King again and a project to design and build a castle. Or alternatively the children could discuss and make a rainbow, trans or bi flag. In History it is back to King and King and The Paper Bag Princess, to do more work about castles and a story book called Tyrannosaurus Drip, which although based on an actual dinosaur specimen is really a moral tale about difference and finding people or dinosaurs like you. Not one of these three books contains any history.
KS1 Geography features more didactic books, the Rainbow Street collection. PE for our imaginary 5-7-yr-old includes being read a book about princesses playing basketball and being told each week about a different inspirational LGBT sports person such as Tom Daley or Nicola Adams. In Computing children will be asked to design a card for someone with two mums. In RE it is Donovan’s Big Day again and the wedding of his two mums.
PSHE builds on the work done on “trans identities” in English. Stonewall suggests:
“reading ‘Introducing Teddy’ as a class…and the idea of feeling comfortable with yourself. It’s also an opportunity to discuss trans identities.”
The message of Introducing Teddy is that being a boy or a girl is just a choice. Teddy becomes a girl by changing his bow tie into a hair bow because he feels like a girl inside. This is deceptive and mendacious stuff to teach children based wholly on the born in the wrong body narrative and sex stereotypes, disguised as a story about teddy bears, a toy many of these five and six year-olds will still play with at home.
Our imaginary pupil goes into year 3, sometimes called juniors, and starts the KS2 syllabus. She may be surprised to see And Tango Makes Three again being taught as part of English. There is a detailed lesson plan, devised not by Stonewall but a primary school in Doncaster for year 5 which consists of fifteen lessons, one a day over three weeks, using this book as the focus for writing, grammar, stories and other activities. There is no other suggestion for LGBT inclusive work in English in KS2.
KS2 Maths suggests a couple of maths problems. This is one of them:
“Jay saves £10 in their money box. All of their money is in coins. What possible combinations of coins could they have?”
Science suggestions are a question about the sort of water to use in the swimming pool of a fictitious gay couple and a problem about the use of car tyres in wet weather which references a trans racing driver.
Design Technology will be made LGBT inclusive by pupils designing a quilt after finding out about the AIDS memorial quilt. The stories of Alan Turing, Roberta Cowell and Josephine Baker are to be told as part of World War 2 history. Teachers are told to highlight their LGBT identities.
KS2 Geography is made inclusive by a project to research a place for a gay couple to take their honeymoon where they will not face discrimination. Another suggested topic is the Hijra community in India, with the emphasis being “approaches to gender.” It is hard to imagine how primary school children could be taught about the Hijra in any meaningful way. They are a highly marginalised group which includes intersex and transgender people with a complex and contested history, much of it involving prostitution. More recently they have been embraced by trans activists as proof of a “third gender”. Also suggested as a study topic is the Bugis ethnic group of Indonesia, whose rigid taxonomy of sex and gender is more suited to post graduate level anthropology than a primary school. A further topic for Geography is to make a map for a local Pride march.
A suggestion for PE inclusivity is watching and learning from Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. Computing could involve researching an LGBT role model and creating a power point about this person. RE lessons will ask children to look at “different weddings from across different faiths….even create an order of service for the wedding or civil partnership of a same sex couple.”
Stonewall’s guidelines for making KS2 PHSE inclusive involves the children imagining they are LBGT sports people. There is a lot of empathy work to do:
“Explain that these people face prejudice because of being LGBT – for example, people saying mean things about them or laws in some countries saying that it’s ok to discriminate against people.”
Children are not asked to think critically about these issues, for instance if it is fair for male bodied athletes to compete in women’s sports. There is a Stonewall PowerPoint available for this lesson.
There is not much Stonewall offers for Language as a subject except to point out that And Tango Makes Three has been translated into French and Spanish.
Stonewall’s take on the Art and Music curriculum is where the banal meets the ideological. They give a list of musicians and artists for teachers to choose from to illustrate LGBT role models. What will children make of Little Ax Broadnax, a relatively obscure singer in an all-male gospel group who turned out to be female after death? Little Ax’s story has already been written up as trans history. Or Queen, a rock group not generally on pre-pubescent children’s radar and whose inclusion here must mean that Freddie Mercury’s closeted life and sad death are the focus?
Or Gluck, a lesbian and minor artist who dressed in masculine clothes? Or Lili Elbe, another minor painter, who was born with an intersex condition in an era when people were largely ignorant about disorders of sexual development, but was celebrated as a transgender pioneer in the film The Danish Girl. Elbe would probably be unknown today if not for being one of the first people to have sex change surgery. How would teachers talk about Elbe without talking about this? This is not the positive message that many artists were and are gay and have created wonderful works. It is an attempt to insert into the primary curriculum the current activist agenda that confuses sex and gender, and that says sex cannot be known from looking at a person’s appearance and it is wrong to want to know.
Our imaginary child has now reached the end of primary school. What has she leaned from the LGBT inclusive curriculum?
She has learned to be careful about language, that pronouns are complicated. The joy she might feel at increasing her language ability will have been undermined by worry at causing offence. She will have learned that no one has the right to know whether you are a boy or a girl. And as she may have started her periods, she will be unsure whether this is just a girl thing. This anxiety will have been increased when she was taught in PSHE that “most girls” have vulvas and vaginas and that “most boys” have penises. She will struggle to reconcile this with what she has been taught about human reproduction in Science.
She will have been taught that she has an inner gender identity but that can only be discovered by liking “girl things” like dresses and long hair or “boy things” like skateboarding. She will have been told that she was given the girl gender at birth, not that she is an actual biological girl. She will have been told that trans means “people who feel the gender they were given as a baby doesn’t match the gender they feel themselves to be.” She will have no words to describe the discomfort she feels when a boy in her class says he is a girl and is playing netball in her team.
She will have been told that sex stereotyping (although the word sex will not be used) is wrong but will have only been pointed to examples that hold no meaning for her, such as Violet, a cartoon character who is a pilot but seems to have no friends. She will have learned about sex change surgery. She will have learned about the Aids epidemic. She will have learned that there are trans groups across the world who have three or five genders. She will learn all this without ever using the word sex. She will have been taught an adult, trans activist agenda. She will be eleven.
The Department for Education must withdraw this resource from the recommendations in the RSE guidance. It is gender identity activism, pushing an adult agenda, one which is highly contested. It teaches the anti-science idea it is possible to be born in the wrong body. It has no place in our schools.
 A YouGov poll in July 2019 of more than 1,000 teachers working in UK primary or secondary schools revealed that 13% of children are bullied because of their sexuality, 11because of their race, 7% because of their sex and 2% because of their religion.%
 Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl? by Sarah Savage and Fox Fisher. Interestingly Andrew Moffat, the teacher behind the No Outsiders teaching plan, advises using this book for years 5 and 6, children aged 9 to 11. The book is marketed as being for 3 to 7-yr-olds.
 I’ve written about this book in more detail here https://www.transgendertrend.com/no-outsiders-queering-primary-classroom/
 This and all quotes below are taken from Stonewall: Creating an LGBT-inclusive Primary Curriculum 2019