The government in England and Wales has said the protections for trans individuals in educations were removed in ‘error’.
The Department of Education (DfE) has claimed the removal of ‘gender identity’ as a characteristic listed in the inclusion guidelines for the equalities document guidelines in the national curriculum.
Speaking to Gay Star News, a DfE spokesman said: ‘This was a drafting error.
‘The final version of the national curriculum framework document will include a list of all protected characteristics under the Equality Act – including gender reassignment.’
In the February version, gender identity was listed alongside sexual identity, gender, age, race, disability and others as reminding teachers they had a duty to treat every student equally.
But in July, it had been amended to read: ‘‘Teachers should take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers disability, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.’
When asked why gender identity had been removed from the equalities statement, a Department for Education spokesman told GSN: ‘Teachers are best-placed to understand the needs of their pupils and to tailor their programme to reflect the needs of their pupils.’
Today’s news comes as a relief to a number of individuals who felt it was a deliberate snub to the trans community, and could leave vulnerable children up for attack.
Education academic Natacha Kennedy spoke of the ‘systematic transphobia’ she had encountered in many schools, saying the ‘erasure of trans people from the National Curriculum is…of significant concern.’
Now happy, she said: ‘As someone who has been trying to educate schools and teacher about trans issues, I am very glad it has been included and hopefully this will make it slightly easier for trans children in schools. This is therefore far more significant than many people realise.”’
Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, has wrriten to Ministers to ask for an explanation.
Kennedy has also submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DfE, asking for them to provide ‘the minutes of the meeting at which the decision was made to exclude this protected characteristic’ as well as ‘copies of all emails, memos, discussion documents or proposals in which the exclusion of "gender reassignment" was discussed, mentioned or proposed.’
An initial response to the FOI request should be provided within the next 20 working days.