The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) found that 1,986 children under the age of 18 have been accepted for specialist treatment in the past year. Getty Images
Church of England schools have announced they plan to hand out forms allowing students and teachers to report homophobic and transgender bullying.
The Daily Mail reports that the forms will be given to 5,000 schools in efforts to allow students to report teachers or any other adults who are perceived to be bullying.
A template form gives school staff 11 boxes in which to identify the kind of bullying they say they have seen or suffered — and identify the perpetrator.
Options available include “gender identity – transphobic;” “gender – sexist bullying;” “sexual orientation – homophobic;” “sexual orientation – biphobic,” alongside boxes for religious, racist and culture or class bullying.
In addition to identifying the “person responsible for bullying” along with the “target,” “witnesses, supporting evidence and details of anyone else involved” are also to be supplied. After filling out the sheets, students can hand them to a member of staff or put them in a “bullying box” in the classroom.
While the move has been praised by the LGBT community, Andrea Minchiello Williams of Christian Concern warned the guidelines infringe on religious liberty.
“Rather than taking the proper course of protecting children against bullying, this is the policing of thought,” she said. Anyone who questions this guidance risks being cast as a bully, and their career will be at risk. These people have become bullies themselves – they are pushing children and teachers to accept their ideology and think as they do.”
The bullying report forms have been prepared to accompany the Church’s guidance, released in November, on “challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic [HBT] bullying” in its schools, which have about one million students.
In the guidance, the Church’s education office told its schools to allow students “to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity.”
Reads the 52-page document titled “Valuing All God’s Children,” “Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision. For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self-imagining.”
The Church’s attempts to fight “transgender bullying” come as Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe is suing his school after being fired for “misgendering” a transgender student.
The 27-year-old teacher and pastor claimed he said “well done girls” to the trans teenager and a female friend when he spotted them working hard, but apologized after being corrected.
After a week-long investigation, the school first suspended and later fired Sutcliffe for “misgendering” the pupil, “demonstrating discriminatory behaviors” and “contravening the school’s equality policy.”
Sutcliffe told reporters he was “distraught” by what he referred to as “political correctness gone mad,” explaining that he had no official instructions about how to address the student. However, as a Christian, the teacher said he avoided using male pronouns such as “he” and “him” when referring to the student.
“While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs, I recognize my responsibility as a teacher and Christian to treat each of my pupils with respect,” he said. “I have balanced these factors by using the pupil’s chosen name, and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a ‘girl,’ I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl.”
Sutcliffe later sent a letter to the school’s head teacher, calling their equality policies “totalitarian.”
“I regret that our relations have reached this point, but I feel I have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you without further notice,” he said.