FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The recent speech from the Attorney-General for England and Wales is cruel and senseless.
It is shocking, if not at all surprising, that one of the highest offices in the country is punching down on children for what would appear solely to be political point-scoring. It speaks volumes that the AG deems this a necessary intervention while:
- an unprecedented cost of living crisis unfurls
- a government flounders in extended freefall
- three million children go to school each day too hungry to learn
The fact is that 2 in 3 young trans people are bullied at school for simply existing. This political intervention has nothing to do with safety or wellbeing. It intentionally targets young people who are already massively marginalised in order to appease a narrow political base, undermining and damaging the lives of those whose very existence has become fodder for the culture war.
As with all this needless sabre-rattling, this guidance is non-binding and non-statutory. Although it is told as if it has legal weight, it does not - it reflects little more than the AG’s personal opinions on the matter. The Equality Act 2010 continues to protect trans students from exclusion, harassment, and discrimination, as it always has done.
Moreover, the way that we look after our young people as a country has never been dictated by adhering to the bare minimum legal expectations and pretending that's best and optimal practice. Teachers show students kindness, support, and equity to their pupils not out of legal obligation, but because these are the qualities that we value above all else in our educators.
The AG stated that “many schools and teachers believe – incorrectly – that they are under an absolute legal obligation to treat children who are gender questioning according to the preference of the child”. Call us naïve, but we think better of teachers than this. We presume that teachers enter their vocation wanting to do good, not harm, to the young people under their care. We do not expect even a single teacher to think ‘if I am not legally obliged to show my students kindness and support, then I won’t’.
We remember Section 28, when lawmakers tried to keep this kindness and support from all LGBT+ pupils, and we urge action now to ensure that interventions like this do not send us down that path again. It is anti-teacher, anti-student, and, more than anything else, anti-basic human kindness.
Our youth groups are available both in-person and online for all trans and/or questioning young people, and can provide a safe space to share your thoughts and experiences if you’re affected by this announcement. Groups will resume in September after the summer break, with details available here.
We launched the our28 campaign to educate about the consequences of section 28 – and warn against it happening again today.
To learn more about how section 28 affected LGBT+ schools and students, visit our28.
Editors: email [email protected]