A newly released Government consultation on non-statutory draft guidance for schools and colleges on gender questioning children suggests that schools should inform parents or carers when pupils come out as trans, non-binary, or gender-questioning, except where this poses a significant risk of harm to the child.
The guidance states that it would be very rare for a child to be at risk of significant harm in the event of the school informing their parent or carer that they are questioning their gender. Galop’s evidence suggests this is incorrect and as such we believe this advice will lead to dangerous situations for some trans and non-binary young people.
Galop’s recent reports, using nationally representative data from YouGov, show three things very clearly:
– 2 in 5 trans and non-binary people have experienced abuse at the hands of their family members, the majority before the age of 18 and often in relation to their identity
– The most common perpetrators of familial abuse against LGBT+ people are parents
– Trans and non-binary people who have experienced domestic abuse are the most likely of all LGBT+ identities to have found support from teachers or another adult at school
For young LGBT+ people experiencing abuse at home, schools are a key place to seek help and support – and may be the only place where they are safe from their perpetrators.
The proposals in this guidance draft would take that safe space away from trans, non-binary and gender-questioning young people, and overemphasises the need to inform parents and carers rather than prioritise the safeguarding risk to the child.
For any person worried about the impact the post-consultation guidance may have, please be reassured that the LGBT+ charity sector is already uniting to stand against any attempts to erode the freedoms of young trans people.
We want to take this moment to thank the many parents, carers and teachers who continue to support their trans, non-binary, and gender questioning children and students.
We urge officials and Ministers overseeing these proposals to recognise the likelihood of harm they could cause and ensure the final version of the guidance prioritises the safety of children and young people.
If you’re worried about your safety at home, or the safety of someone you know, you can call Galop’s Helpline on 0800 999 5428, or live chat at galop.org.uk.
Published: 19th December 2023