Liz Truss shows true colours on LGBTQ+ issues as she rails against support for trans kids in schools
Former prime minister Liz Truss has called on schools to be banned from allowing pupils to socially transition.
Truss, who resigned last year after just 44 days in office, has weighed in on the culture war surrounding trans youth in UK schools amid rumours that successor Rishi Sunak’s government will drop plans to legally block pupils from socially transitioning.
Earlier this year, the government came under fire for plans that suggested schools would be made to out trans children to their parents if they used an alternative name, new pronouns, or began wearing clothing associated to a gender different to the one assigned at birth.
It was also believed that pupils who wished to transition under the proposed guidance would be forced to gain parental permission to do so.
The guidance – which was meant to be published during the summer, but has yet to appear – has been controversial to say the least, with the trans community, teachers and politicians expressing grave concerns about what it will contain.
Truss claims transitioning is ‘not a neutral act’
Speaking to The Times, Truss, who has been a Tory MP since 2010, acknowledged that the government’s delay is “leaving schools in limbo” and “allowing misinformation to spread”.
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Sunak needs to publish the guidance “stating that schools should be clear about biological sex and not officially sanction social transitioning,” she added.
“There needs to be clarity about biological sex in school, particularly for toilets and changing areas, which should be single-sex spaces.
Transitioning is “not a neutral act” and “therefore it should not be officially sanctioned before a young adult has the full decision-making capability to understand the consequences at the age of 18”, according to Truss – the shortest-serving PM in UK history.
“I do not believe that this contravenes the Equality Act but if there are any legal issues, the government should legislate.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that attorney-general Victoria Prentis had examined the draft guidance and concluded an outright ban on pupils transitioning would be illegal under the 2010 Equalities Act.
A government source told the newspaper there were fears within Westminster that the ban would be a present-day equivalent of Section 28 which would “leave us on the wrong side of history”.
In response to Prentis’ advice, another source said: “We’re looking at all options to ensure we have clear and strong guidance that protects children and empowers parents and teachers. No decisions have been taken.”
Safety concerns over government’s trans guidance
When news surfaced of the plans to prevent trans youth from socially transitioning in schools, as well as to effectively out them, there was an outcry.
Teachers as well as a number of activists, politicians and organisations expressed concern at the detrimental effects preventing transition would have on trans youth, as well as the safety risks of outing them to potentially transphobic parents.
One teacher, who spoke exclusively to PinkNews, said the proposed guidance concerned her because it could leave vulnerable pupils homeless or at risk of violent abuse by care-givers.
“There are many vulnerable children in education who need so much support, so much help, and this just isn’t something that is needed in the education system,” she said.
“As a teacher, my number-one priority is safeguarding and I can’t really understand how this has anything to do with safeguarding students. It seems to be safeguarding Tory interests.”
Lukasz Konieczka, the executive director of the Mosaic LGBTQ+ Young Persons Trust, told PinkNews that there were many reasons a pupil might not come out to their family.
“Rejection is a huge risk, leading to the young person entering an already-stretched care system and, in the worst-case scenario, so-called honour-based violence.
“Such badly-thought-out guidelines will confuse schools and put young people at risk.”
Nadia Whittome, the Labour MP for Nottingham East, also wants the guidance scrapped.
“For many young trans people, their ability to socially transition is essential to their mental health and wellbeing,” she noted.
“Any attempt by government to prevent them from cutting their hair or using a different name and pronouns is authoritarian and discriminatory in the extreme. The government should abandon this guidance now, along with its wider attacks on the trans community, and focus on improving trans people’s wellbeing and inclusion in society.”
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