“I am a high school teacher and have seen, first hand, the damaging effect that gender ideology is having in schools. It scares me that pupils who present as trans are not given full and proper psychological evaluation before being allowed — and even encouraged — to embark upon social and medical transition. I am terrified that in their eagerness to ‘validate’ and ‘affirm’ a child’s trans identity, schools risk missing underlying issues such as abuse, trauma or other serious mental health issues. Similarly, pupils are not given adequate opportunity to explore the possibility that they are gay or lesbian and may be seeking transition as the result of internalised homophobia. It is also deeply worrying that a disproportionate number of gender nonconforming autistic children are being prematurely identified as trans with little consideration of the impact that their condition may have on their understanding of abstract social concepts such as gender. In neglecting to thoroughly examine these factors, schools risk failing in their duty of care towards pupils.

The hugely disproportionate number of teenage girls who are identifying as trans (in comparison to the number of boys) is another major cause for concern. It seems so obvious to me that, having reached puberty, these girls become acutely aware of the constraints and pressures of femininity and so try to escape womanhood by ‘becoming’ boys. Instead of teaching children to challenge gender stereotypes and develop full, well-rounded personalities, we are perpetuating sexist nonsense by suggesting that certain personality traits are indicative of one sex rather than the other.

Adolescence is a very difficult time for teenagers and the pressure to fit in is immense. Those who struggle or refuse to conform have traditionally sought alternative communities which celebrate individualism and nonconformity (punk, goth, indie etc). I fear that the gender subculture (largely online and unvetted) appeals to these teenagers by offering ‘validation’, but along with that comes a dangerous ideology which frames mental illness, medication and surgery as a glamorous and exciting solution to teenage angst.

I am also concerned that the needs of other pupils are being sidelined or ignored in favour of a fashionable, faux-progressive political ideology. Pupils are being sanctioned for questioning the legitimacy of an under-researched and under-evidenced ideology. They are afraid to express their discomfort at sharing toilets and changing facilities with the opposite sex for fear of being called bigots or transphobes by peers or staff. I object to this pitting of children against each other in a ‘hierarchy of oppression’ where some children’s experiences matter more than others. It is our duty as educators — both morally and legally — to ensure equality of opportunity for all pupils, and to encourage critical free thought.

The advice given to schools by lobby groups, who rely on emotive but misleading statistics, is alarming and contradicts everything we know about safeguarding. Yet this has very quickly become the status quo within schools — either accepted without question as ‘the new politically correct thing’ or else secretly disagreed with by staff who feel unable to voice their concerns. There are genuine safeguarding and equality concerns raised by the practical application of gender ideology in schools but those who dare to discuss them are shamed and sneered at”.

Secondary School Teacher, 27, Lancashire