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Teenagers tell Education Secretary they’re ‘too frightened’ to tell peers there are only two genders

Two 14-year-old girls have written an open letter to the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, expressing their fear of speaking out about the existence of only two genders in school. (telegraph.co.uk) The girls, who attend different secondary schools in England, have published the letter anonymously, stating that they are “frightened to speak out openly due to the threat of ostracisation and bullying from students who adopt the authoritarian dogma of gender ideology”. The letter comes ahead of the upcoming publication of transgender guidance in schools.

The girls wrote that they have “both experienced times when biased teachers attempt to implicate gender ideology in innocuous topics, for instance claiming that Zeus, the Greek God, was ‘non-binary’, or that Lady Macbeth was ‘gender-fluid’”. They added that there is immense pressure among students to conform to the popularly-held views that “trans women” are women, and any opposition to this belief is considered “transphobic” and unacceptable. They also highlighted that there have been many cases of students being bullied and ostracised for disagreeing with gender ideology.

The letter comes after a teacher at Rye College in East Sussex was recorded telling pupils they were “despicable” for expressing their belief that there are only two genders after another pupil was believed to self-identify as a cat. The teacher has been removed from the classroom all of this week since the recording went viral last weekend. (telegraph.co.uk) Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Women and Equalities, has asked Ofsted to carry out a “snap inspection” of the school and said the teacher has breached rules which state that schools must remain politically impartial.

The Government is preparing to publish draft guidance for schools on how to respond to pupils questioning their gender in the coming weeks. (telegraph.co.uk) Tracy Shaw, of Safe Schools Alliance, said: “This articulate and heartfelt letter from these two girls supports what we have been saying for a long time. That the culture in many schools needs to be addressed top down. We want The Department for Education to show some leadership here and put a stop to wholesale ideological capture of education. We cannot have a society where teenage girls are scared to speak the truth and are afraid to demand their rights to dignity, safety, and privacy.”

The Department for Education spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of students is our top priority. (telegraph.co.uk) We have been clear that teachers should not teach contested views as fact and should encourage their students to engage respectfully with those they disagree with. It’s important that parents and carers are reassured their children aren’t being influenced by the personal views of those teaching them, which is why we are working to publish guidance in relation to children who are questioning their gender before the end of term.”

It is concerning that students are being bullied and ostracised for disagreeing with gender ideology. The fear of speaking out openly due to the threat of ostracisation and bullying from students who adopt the authoritarian dogma of gender ideology is unacceptable. It is important that schools remain politically impartial and that teachers should not teach contested views as fact. The Government’s upcoming draft guidance for schools on how to respond to pupils questioning their gender is a step in the right direction. It is crucial that students are allowed to express their opinions and that different opinions are allowed to be heard, even on divisive topics such as this one.