PLEASE NOTE: change.org have taken down our petition claiming breach of their “community values”… We’ve replied with a legal letter and hope to have the petition restored soon… PLEASE WATCH THIS SPACE!
Why this petition matters
We love our city. Brighton & Hove is renowned for its spirit of freedom, openness, and tolerance. Our city has always stood for equality and truth. Which is why we are shocked that our city council seems intent on encouraging children to believe that they can change sex.
Under the Equality Act 2010, sex and gender reassignment are both distinct protected characteristics and that the law allows for reasonable sex-based exemptions and segregation (e.g. in sport, toilets, changing facilities, sleeping accommodation) to be based on natal sex. Gender identity does not, as a concept, exist in law.
Schools should have regard to the DfE’s statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2023 as well as wider duties under the Children’s Acts of 1989 and 2004. Schools should consider, always, what is in the best interests of the child and child safeguarding is paramount. Lying to children (about sex), keeping secrets and waiving rules that exist for their protection is not consistent with the best interest of the child. One school in Brighton has already conceded that they have not acted in the best interest of the child by supporting and facilitating a young girl to bind her breasts without informing her parents. There are specific side effects associated with breast binders experienced by 97% of those who used them. This includes chest pain, shortness of breath and scarring (Full article: Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study (tandfonline.com). The school has acknowledged use of breast binders by children can be extremely dangerous and this information should not have been withheld from the child’s parents.
Parents should not generally be excluded from information about their child. Whilst schools need to deal with the psychological distress of a gender-distressed child, this cannot override the school’s obligations to all children and to maintain safeguarding. Schools that facilitate children and young people’s participation in sports, or access to toilets or sleeping accommodation on residential trips based on declared gender rather than natal sex, can put all children, particularly girls, at risk.
Under the Education Act of 1996, political indoctrination is strictly prohibited. Schools can and should teach content related to politically contested matters but by law they must do so in a balanced way and not privilege on particular agenda, e.g., an adherence to gender ideology (gender critical belief is an opposing view and case law has established that these beliefs are protected philosophical beliefs). This alone should be grounds to take a close look at third party provider content, e.g., prepared by Stonewall, Mermaids, and local bodies such as Allsorts Youth Project, to ensure that they are not promoting a political or ideological agenda against both balance and evidence. Sex is part of this and must be based on scientific fact and evidence. Gender should also be part of this and be taught as any other belief that it is contested, and some people believe in it and may make bodily modifications and others do not believe in it. Any curriculum that discusses gender should also reference detransition too.
Brighton and Hove City Council, without proper debate or consultation, has adopted a single ideological belief and promotes this through the publication of its Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit which promotes gender ideology as if it were settled science and is at odds with the Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People, commissioned by NHS England. Schools in Brighton and Hove are socially transitioning children (changing their name and pronouns), sometimes without informing parents. Independent Review states
“…it is important to view it [social transition] as an active intervention because it may have significant effects on the child or young person in terms of their psychological functioning. There are different views on the benefits versus the harms of early social transition. Whatever position one takes, it is important to acknowledge that it is not a neutral act, and better information is needed about outcomes.”
Therefore, teachers do not have the requisite qualifications or experience to be making such decisions about the psychological health and wellbeing of children.
We are calling on BHCC to:
- Recommend that schools are transparent about what they are teaching across all subjects pertaining to Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) and Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) and inform and involve parents.
- Recommend that schools end the practice known as ‘social transitioning’(changing a child’s name and pronouns), recognising that such undertaking are beyond the proficiency of teachers and school pastoral staff.
- Show us it has evidence that, as a public authority, the actions it has encouraged in schools are lawful in relation to Section 11 Children Act 2004; the Education Act 1996 (s406/7); s.10 Equality Act 2010 and compliant with DfE guidance on political impartiality in schools.
- Commission an independent inquiry that reviews parent complaints concerning the content and delivery of PSHE and RSE in schools and including the placing of children, without those parents knowledge, on a pathway to social and medical transition.
Our children should be taught in a politically neutral sphere, in which they learn how to think, as opposed to what to think. They should NOT be presented with ‘gender identity’ ideology as though it were fact, and no school should ever nurture or encourage social and medical transitioning.
This petition was created by parents and other citizens of Brighton and Hove who recently formed PSHEBrighton.org. If you share our concerns, please get in touch through our contact page on: www.pshebrighton.org
Please sign the petition and share widely! https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-council-teaching-kids-they-can-change-sex