Articles, Focus of the Week

Parents’ Rights – The Scottish Challenge

Recent guidance in Scotland over “transgender“ pupils has caused a furore – and quite rightly. The new Scottish School Guidance, as reported in the Sunday Times, has been “produced by LGBT Youth Scotland and endorsed by the Holyrood government and 16 local authorities.”

It quotes from a “study of more than 300 LGBT young people” – authored by the same LGBT Youth Scotland in 2012. Not sure that counts as objective data or statistics? It also refers to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Part of its advice, as reported, is that “School staff have been told to explain the “ethos of inclusion” to parents who “voice concerns” about their child sharing a changing room or lavatory with transgender pupils – and to consider telling the local authority if parents “struggle” with their child’s transgender identity”.

It might be worth LGBT Youth Scotland pointing out that the law has not actually changed. It is still the case that “In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.” Human Rights Act 1998.

It might also be worth pointing out that Gender reassignment is the protected characteristic under the Equality Act, not fluid notions of gender identity. Thirdly, it might be worth noting that Religion is a protected characteristic of the Equality Act.

Therefore, the attempt by this guidance to impose acceptance of not just the theory, but the whole ideology of ‘transgender identity’ is a derogation of the rights of parents – be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or just loving and devoted parents who find imposition of the highly questionable philosophical convictions of LGBT Youth Scotland objectionable.

In the interests of inclusivity and diversity, and in line with EQUAL protection of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act, can School staff be told to explain the “ethos of love and truth” that animates religions that believe men and women were created so, in order that they might find their full happiness in the expression of their natural identity? After all, if children are able to “choose” their identity, should they not always be encouraged to “affirm and celebrate” their beliefs and true feelings. And if this leads them to quote from the book of Genesis “male and female created he them” as to gender identity, haven’t they and their parents the right to do so? Or is the LGBT Youth Trust Scotland the only source of guidance for schools?

Edmund Matyjaszek

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