Jo Bartosch reports on the fact that Stonewall are relaunching their “School & College Champions Awards”, quoting analysis from Safe Schools Alliance and Legal Feminist.

SSA UK advise that schools should refer to latest DfE guidance on teaching of PSHE and RSE, and refer to their safeguarding knowledge and not sign up to this.

Bartosch notes that “The awards cut across every aspect of the operation of the school…advising teachers to “introduce yourself at the start of the year using your pronouns and encourage students to do the same.” This is compelled speech. Teachers should contact your unions if forced to do this.

The article points out that in her evidence to the Commons Women and Equality Select Committee on reform of the Gender Recognition Act earlier this week Stonewall CEO Nancy Kelley claimed: “one of the things that’s really important to say is that we don’t advocate for the removal of the single sex exemptions.” ‘(at 15.20.45)

This is untrue. Nancy Kelley may claim that Stonewall have now changed their mind about that, but it is still on the Stonewall website with no caveats

Our recommendations to the Select Committee include:

Reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, including the removal of the requirement to provide medical evidence and a process for people under 18 to access legal gender recognition
Increased provision of gender identity services for adults and young people and a review of healthcare provision to ensure that trans people are fully informed and involved in all aspects of treatment and healthcare
Training for all health and social care professionals on the needs of trans patients and service users
A review of the Equality Act 2010 to include ‘gender identity’ rather than ‘gender reassignment’ as a protected characteristic and to remove exemptions, such as access to single-sex spaces

We would consider advocating for the removal of women’s right to single sex spaces to be an ‘extreme position’.

Our spokeswoman Tanya Carter is quoted: “Latest Department for Education guidance is very clear that schools should not use or promote groups with extreme views. Far from challenging homophobia in society, Stonewall are driving it; by reinforcing sexist stereotypes and dismantling the meaning of same-sex attraction.”

Schools, public bodies and individuals must do their due diligence. Promoting anything with a rainbow flag on without checking its suitability is insulting to many LGB people.

If your school are using resources from Stonewall we have template letters to assist in challenging unsuitable PSHE and RSE Guidance and getting unsuitable materials withdrawn.

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