National Educational Union vows to protect trans teachers: ‘Trans people are real and valid’

Woman holding NEU flag

The largest education union in Europe has issued a statement condemning transphobia and promising to protect trans teachers from harassment

The National Education Union (NEU), which has more than 500,000 members, published the statement on its website on Tuesday (30 May). 

Discrimination based on gender identity was already prohibited under the NEU’s Code of Professional Conduct but this statement seeks to be a “clear expression of the union’s commitment to protecting trans members”.

“We accept and acknowledge that trans identities are real and valid. We recognize and condemn the harm that transphobic behaviour causes,” the union stated

Alongside this, the NEU laid out definitions of ‘transphobia’ and the word ‘trans’ – to ensure members are all on the same page – as well as what transphobia can look like and the impacts of such behaviour on trans people. 

The National Education Union (NEU) has come out swinging for trans rights (Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The education union explained transphobia has “broad and far-reaching” effects which can “prevent people from living full and open lives, comfortably as themselves and free from harm”. 

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“It creates barriers in society and in the workplace,” the explanation outlined.  

The statement comes just one day after the University and College Union (UCU), which represents college and university staff, voted to support trans and non-binary rights and liberation.

On Monday (29 May) at its annual congress in Glasgow UCU members  passed two motions in regards to the trans community.

One motion focused on trans and non-binary solidarity and the other on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which was passed by Scottish parliament but subsequently blocked by the UK government.

The union resolved to mobilise support for trans people, work with trans organisations and educate members about trans lives, amongst several other aims. 

As part of the NEU statement, the union also outlined if members are still allowed to hold ‘gender critical’ beliefs – the viewpoint that biology is unchanging and there are two sexes – and how that fits within the NEU’s commitments.  

“Nothing in this definition is intended to contravene the protections given to all protected groups under the Equality Act 2010,” the organisation said. 

“The NEU rejects all discrimination and recognizes that holding and expressing gender critical views is protected by law under the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, Articles 9 and 10. 

“This means holders of these views can express them freely, as long as they do so in a respectful manner, avoiding creating an environment which is hostile or discriminatory to trans people.”

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