Britain’s biggest teaching union has advised schools to stop segregated sports and use gender-neutral uniforms to become more “trans-inclusive.”
Sources have learned that controversial new guidelines from the National Education Union (NEU) also tell teachers to put an end to “boy-girl” classroom seating as it could “distress” trans or non-binary students.
The official guidance—agreed by NEU’s executive committee—has been slammed by campaigners who say it will create a “hostile and untenable environment” for pupils, parents, and teachers “who do not agree with transgender ideology.”
Among the newly published advice, the union has included its own definitions of “transphobia” and “trans.” It states that “transphobic behaviour” can be anything a complainant “reasonably perceives” to create “an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.”
The NEU’s definition of “trans”—which “goes further” than the Equality Act 2010—says “trans people need not have had any medical transition to be considered trans.” The union’s new rules have raised concerns among some of its 500,000 members that those holding gender-critical views could be left open to unfair disciplinary action, or even being kicked out of the union.
One concerned member who contacted sources called the guidance a “dangerous mess” that not only provides “little reassurance” to gender critical voices but also “threatens free speech.”
The new NEU guidelines come months after the government pledged to produce official guidance for schools on transgender issues. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said a document giving a government steer on dealing with trans-identifying children would be signed off by the summer term. Mr Sunak’s announcement came after teaching unions complained members were navigating a “minefield” over the issues.
In March, a conservative think tank report said safeguarding principles are being routinely disregarded owing to the spread of “extreme gender ideology” in schools. London-based Policy Exchange said that most secondary schools are failing to tell parents if their child wants to identify as another gender.
NEU—whose members staged a mass walkout from schools in England on Wednesday over pay—has now cited examples of “transphobic behaviour” which could lead to members being disciplined. They include “intrusive questioning” and “failing to listen respectfully to trans voices including those of trans children about their choices and identity.”
Referencing members who hold gender-critical views in its newly published guidance, the union states: “Nothing in this definition is intended to contravene the protections given to all protected groups under the Equality Act 2010.
“The NEU rejects all discrimination and recognizes that holding and expressing gender critical views is protected by law under the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, Articles 9 and 10.
“This means holders of these views can express them freely, as long as they do so in a respectful manner, avoiding creating an environment which is hostile or discriminatory to trans people.”