Education secretary backs outing trans kids to parents: ‘Parental consent is important’

A photo shows education secretary Gillian Keegan wearing a black coat as she leaves Downing Street

Education secretary Gillian Keegan has backed the UK government’s guidance that will force teachers to out trans kids to their parents, despite prior support for the trans community. 

On ITV’s politics show Peston on Wednesday (19 July), Keegan spoke to presenter Robert Peston about the government’s delayed guidance for teachers regarding trans pupils in schools.

The guidance, which was due to be published this week, is expected to be delayed after it was determined to breach the Equality Act 2010 due to the government adding harsh amendments, including a blanket ban on social transitioning in schools. 

Social transitioning is where people choose another pronoun or name or, in the case of students, wear uniform affirming their chosen gender. 

Peston asked: “Is it the government’s position that actually school children should not change their gender identification without the school having a conversation with parents?” 

Keegan responded: “Yes, we think parental consent is really very important in this. 

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“That’s something that I know a lot of schools have been pressing for guidance, a lot of parents have been worried about this and we do think it’s important that parents are involved in the discussion.” 

Peston asked why the official guidance hasn’t yet been released, to which Keegan said: “We are working on the guidance and we were hoping to get that out but it will take us a little bit longer.

“It is confusing by the way and we know that people are confused and that’s why we committed to do the guidance in the first place.” 

Prior to this comment, Keegan was thought to be opposed to the proposed guidance which she previously deemed “unreasonable” after it was hardened by No 10 and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch

Collage of Rishi Sunak, Kemi Badenoch, and a trans person holding an umbrella to shield themself
Rishi Sunak is expected to delay guidance that will force teachers to out trans kids to their parents after it was deemed unlawful. (Getty)

Attempts to harden the proposal included a blanket ban on social transitioning, a “good faith” protection which would allow teachers not to address children by their chosen pronouns, and a suggestion that doctors be consulted before allowing children to socially transition, according to The Times’ Whitehall source.

Attorney general Victoria Prentis, who is in favour of tougher guidance, said the government would need to pass new legislation if it wanted to go further, meaning that it is highly unlikely that the guidance will now be published by the end of the week. 

The education secretary Keegan has spoken out in support of the trans community on a number of occasions.

Her comments follow Badeoch issuing the strongest hint yet that the UK government will force teachers to out trans kids to their parents. 

Talking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday (16 July), Badenoch said: “There is quite a lot of confusion about what the law says and it’s important that parents are aware of what’s going on with their children and what’s happening to them at school.” 

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