Teachers shouldn't accomodate trans students' wishes and must take 'firmer line', says AG

28 May 2022, 07:42 | Updated: 28 May 2022, 07:45

Suella Braverman has said schools do not need to let trans students use their preferred toilets or their preferred pronouns
Suella Braverman has said schools do not need to let trans students use their preferred toilets or their preferred pronouns. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Schools do not have to accomodate the wishes of students who want to change gender, the attorney general has said.

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Suella Braverman said schools do not need to use trans students' new pronouns or allow them to wear the school uniform of the other gender, in an interview with The Times.

Ms Braverman said teachers were encouraging gender dysphoria by not questioning students' wishes to change their gender.

She said schools needed to take a "much firmer line".

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The told the paper that students who were born male should not have a right to use female-only facilities such as toilets or changing rooms.

"I think protecting single-sex spaces for biological females and biological males is really important, particularly in schools," she said.

"From a safeguarding point of view you can argue that there is a duty on schools to preserve single-sex spaces, and ensure spaces are for biological females."

She said if someone said they were transgender, it would be "outrageous" if a pupil, teacher or parent could not question it.

It is the most direct intervention on the issue by a government minister so far.

Ms Braverman said school should take a "firmer line"
Ms Braverman said school should take a "firmer line". Picture: Alamy

Ms Braverman said, because under 18s cannot legally change their gender, schools were under not legal obligation to accomodate their wishes and were entitled to treat children based on the gender they were born as.

"A male child who says in a school that they are a trans girl, that they want to be female, is legally still a boy or a male," she said.

"And they can be treated as such under the law."

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She said schools did not "have to say 'okay, we're going to let you change your pronoun or let you wear a skirt or call yourself a girl's name'."

Similarly, she said when children identify as non-binary schools do not have to change their systems or service in order to accomodate them.

The attorney general said female-only spaces should be protected
The attorney general said female-only spaces should be protected. Picture: Alamy

Ms Braverman also highlighted variations in the number of children who are transgender, something she attributed to "the way teachers and local education authorities are approaching this subject".

"I think there is something to be said for young people seeing what their peers are doing and being influenced by that," she said.

She also described JK Rowling - who has campaigned to protect female-only spaces - as her "heroine".

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Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi is currently drawing up guidance for how schools should respond to children with gender dysphoria.

He previously said schools should do what they can to accomodate trans children, and said students born male who identify as female should be able to use female-only spaces when they are not being used by others.

His views are in apparent contradiction with Ms Braverman.