Trans Kids Deserve To Grow Up
How trans rights are being rolled back for young people in 2023
June 23, 2023
This week, leaked guidance for schools hit the press that focused on trans students. The guidance, which many are calling "Section 28 but worse", included suggested policies and procedures that will violate the privacy of trans young people, potentially putting them in harm's way. In response to this guidance, Dee Whitnell (@s3xtheorywithdee) has started the movement #TransKidsDeserveToGrowUp. My Body & Yours are joining this fight.
A summary of the guidance can be found on Dee's Instagram, which says:
Teachers to be forced to tell parents their child is questioning their gender — "even if the child objects"
Parents must be consulted if a child wants to be called another name, or use different pronouns, or wear a different school uniform
The school will not use the child's new pronouns until given parents consent
Teachers will be ordered to not recognise a transition within the school gates if the parents do not agree with it
Even if the parent gives consent, "the head must also consider the mental effects on the other children" before allowing said students to be acknowledged as the gender they wish to be
Teachers and students do not have to call students by their preferred name/pronouns if they don't want to
Children who want to be called by another pronoun — he, she, they — will not be able to take part in competitive sport
The proposal of this new guidance shows a complete lack of regard for young people's right to privacy and respect.
Under this new guidance, young trans people who come from unsupportive homes may be subjected to homelessness, physical, sexual and emotional violence, and conversion therapy. Young people will lose any feelings of trust that they had with their teachers, and more students will likely remain closeted, experiencing intense gender dysphoria, for fear of their parents finding out or not being able to play sports that they love.
Teachers will also be placed in incredibly difficult positions. Many teachers are trans allies and will oppose this guidance, however their job security may depend on them following the guidance over their own personal morals and beliefs (as with Section 28).
Even in the case of parental approval, students and teachers who do not wish to use a child's correct name and pronouns will not have to. This in itself is almost permission for transphobic bullying and deadnaming to take place — the rights of the bullies protected in law but not those of the trans student.
The whole thing screams disaster and will lead to the deaths of young trans people.
So, what can you do to support trans young people at this time and take a stand against the new guidance?
Firstly, there is a petition that you can sign, asking that schools do not disclose a student's trans status to parents. This petition is currently at 33,000 signatures and growing. This will only take two minutes of your time, but could make a big difference.
Secondly, Dee has also created an email template that can be used to contact your MP or teacher unions. This will take a little more time, but Dee has done most of the heavy lifting here, and there are only a few bits you need to fill in yourself. It's so important that MPs hear the voices of the people in their communities, and emailing them is a great way to achieve this.
You can also use the hashtag #TransKidsDeserveToGrowUp on social media — make TikToks about this guidance and the harm it will do, create art, write blog posts, make your voice heard! The more of us that participate, the harder this will be for the government to ignore.
If you're trans or non-binary — and feel able to — please share your own stories. What was it like to be closeted in school? Was there a teacher you felt safe telling? How would this guidance have impacted you? Hearing from trans people themselves is so fundamental to this fight, so that the government can see the impact that this will have.
So let's get out our digital megaphones, because #TransKidsDeserveToGrowUp!
Check out Dee's original post for more information. If you've been affected by the leaking of this guidance please speak to somebody about how you are feeling. The LGBT Foundation offer support and advice for all LGBTQIA+ people and you can call them on 0345 3 30 30 30.
To see more posts from My Body & Yours, check out our blog.
For more sex and relationships content, follow My Body & Yours on Instagram (@mybodyandyours)