Transgender Lessons ...for Pupils Aged Five; Classes Will 'Overload Children with Adult Issues', Say Critics

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Doyle Home Affairs Correspondent

CHILDREN as young as five could be given lessons on 'transgender equality' under Government plans.

Information about transgender people is set to be included in the curriculum for personal, social and health education lessons, which are taught in thousands of primary and secondary schools.

The proposal is part of a Coalition policy programme entitled 'Advancing transgender equality - a plan for action', which was published yesterday.

In it, ministers warn a wide range of steps are needed to combat 'transphobic bullying', which is defined as the taunting of children who express 'gender variant behaviours'.

The document was produced by the Home Office, which is responsible for equality policy within Government.

It states that schools need to be 'more inclusive for gender-variant children'.

'We know that over 70 per cent of boys and girls who express gender variant behaviours are subject to bullying in schools,' the document states.

'Schools should be a safe and supportive environment for children to learn in.

'Tackling transphobic bullying helps to address unacceptable behaviour and ensures that our society becomes more tolerant.'

As part of its review of PSHE, the Department for Education will consider adding 'the teaching of equality and diversity, including transgender equality' to the curriculum.

But critics said there was a danger that children were being overloaded with 'adult issues' as a result of such lessons.

Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaign group Parents Outloud, said: 'These are adult issues and we should leave it until children are older or until they ask.

'The problem is we are overloading our children with issues that they should not have to consider at a young age. …