Brighton and Hove schools ask three-year-olds what gender, if any, they identify with

Posted On 19 Apr 2016 at 5:23 pm

Brighton and Hove parents have raised concerns about being asked to support their three and four-year-olds to choose which gender, if any, they identify with when accepting a place for primary schools.
Action man in a dress
Hundreds of parents found out yesterday which primary school their children will be attending in September, and were asked to fill out a council form to accept the offer.

After the tickbox for male/female, a note explained that the national recording system only gives these two options, and asked parents to “support your child to choose they gender they most identify with or if they have another gender identity please leave this blank and discuss this with your child’s school”.

The wording of the letter is already under review after the council was made aware of concerns about the new policy.

One Brighton mother, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being attacked by transgender activists, said she objected to the question because it reinforces dangerous stereotypes of what makes someone a man or woman rather than challenging them.

The mother also argued that children of this age don’t have a sophisticated enough understanding of gender issues, and asking them to make a distinction so young could have harmful ramifications later in life.

She said: “A boy who does not fit into the ‘masculine’ category should not be encouraged to believe that his body is wrong, rather schools should be encouraging that child to broaden their view of what is masculine.

“It is okay for boys to like pink. It is OK for boys to like playing with dolls. It is OK (later) for boys to be gay. None of these things make that boy a girl.

“Children at school should be free to develop their identity, celebrate their achievements and accept their bodies. The little boy who wants to wear a dress should be allowed to do that without being pathologised, diagnosed, and treated.

“Research has shown that 80% of children who experience gender dysphoria as children DO NOT transition in later life but instead are more likely to be gay. The worrying rise in schools and other agencies accepting the self identification of a four-year-old is likely to cause emotional distress.

“Imagine how confusing and upsetting it would be to be the ‘trans’ child: a boy who self identifies as a girl at four, grows up as trans (is told by school and other agencies that they are no different from other girls), has a new name and pronoun but then grows up to be a gay man.

“As an adult that child might feel let down by the very people he trusted to protect his best interests, he might feel he has been emotionally abused by the collusion in a narrative he had no power to control, he might want redress for the emotional damage caused.

“Children do not have access to an adult view of the world – they don’t fully understand permanence, social structures, what is possible and what is not possible. Four-year-olds do not generally have fixed views and often don’t fully understand that their sex, colour or even species is fixed.

“Treating children as though they are adults is a dangerous approach from a safeguarding point of view. They are not adults – let them enjoy the innocence and creativity of their childhood.”

Brighton and Hove City Council’s lead member for equalities, Councillor Emma Daniel, said the change to the form had been made in response to calls from families and schools to be more inclusive.

She said: “Our pupil registration form asks for a range of information from parents and carers for children and young people of all ages who are entering a new school community.

“Parents and carers are asked to state their child’s gender as male or female. For the vast majority of families this is very straightforward.

“We have inserted the additional text about gender identity in response to calls from families, young people and schools to show an inclusive approach to gender.

“There are increasing numbers of children and young people nationally identifying as trans. Many trans people nationally report having been bullied when they were at school.

“By acknowledging the range of gender identities in our school communities we are helping ensure schools are safe spaces for everyone.

“We are aware of concerns that have been raised about the new wording we have used on our form relating to gender identity.

“We will review this to see whether we can in future make it clearer that we consider discussions around gender identity to be an option for parents if they feel it is appropriate rather than an obligation.”

  1. FannyJ Reply

    Great article. The anonymous parent talks a lot of sense. Leave kids to get on with it. If they want to be batman today and cinderella tomorrow let them.

  2. Natasha Read Reply

    Good argument. Very convincing.

  3. Lucky Reply

    Ridiculous that anyone thought it was a sensible idea to put this on the form in the first place. Well done on the parents who spoke out.

  4. Jill Reply

    Male/female is not gender. It is sex. That schools are unable to distinguish cultural fad from sex is worrying. These children should not be lied to nor manipulated. All of this verges on a massive, social form of child abuse. I am worried.

  5. Pingback: Schools ask three-year-olds what gender, if any, they identify with – Critiquing Transgender Doctrine & Gender Identity Politics

  6. MHB Reply

    Bless this parent for speaking out.

  7. Pingback: “Children do not have access to an adult view of the world – they don’t fully understand permanence, social structures, what is possible and what is not possible. Four-year-olds do not generally have fixed views and often don’t fully understand th

  8. A Terf Reply

    It’s about time LGB dumped the T, this kind of nonsense is making them look very bad. It’s allowing transgenderism to be the cure for gay

    • Fran Gershwing Reply

      Unfortunately I agree with you.
      The “sexual orientation” of the LG community harms the present (patriarchal) social structure, while the “transgenderism” being pushed on our society reinforces stereotypes instead.
      “Tagged” humans are more obedient and easier to control, than free minded and independent ones.

  9. Catherine Reply

    Male/Female is sex – and that’s all you need to know for a 3 year old – let them be kids and play with and wear what they like without putting this ‘Gender’ baggage on them at such a tender age by try to force them into rigid little gender boxes.

  10. Emma Reply

    Trust cis bigots to start screaming at this perfectly sensible decision by the council. ACTUAL research will show you that many children have a basic enough understanding of gender, enough that they experience dysphoria as young as 4 or even 3 when they are transgender. Don’t pay a word of attention to the nonsense spewed by transphobic bigots. Brighton shows they truly care about children, and I applaud them for it.

  11. Pingback: Children Aged 4 To Choose ‘Gender Identity’

  12. Jackie Reply

    I wondered how long it would take for one of these so-called “trans activists” to show up and call someone a “bigot” for actually knowing the difference between “sex” – a biological fact, and “gender” – a social construct composed of stereotypes and rules about how a girls and boys are supposed to look/behave. Pathologising childrens’ natural exploration of all the ways they can express themselves, their likes/dislikes and peronalities is actually harmful to children since the message they receive is that there is something acually *wrong* with their body. This is abusive and I predict many adults of the future will suffer grave consequences for being led to believe that their childhood magical thinking had any basis in reality, and wonder why the adults in their life didn’t just let them be to explore, rather than labelling them as “trans”. This is clearly a politically driven agenda led by adults who are happy to use children to justify their choices by attempting to insert a “born this way” trope into their personal narratives. Let kids be kids. Stop using them to shore up questionable “science” about “born in the wrong body” and regressive ideas about “gender”.

    • Fran Gershwing Reply


  13. Martha Reply

    The “gender identity” doctrine is just child abuse by another name.

  14. caroline Reply

    As a child I desperately wanted to be a boy. I didn’t relate to anything girly, preferred Lego,climbing, science. Wanted my hair cut short, lived in boys clothes, prayed I would never grow breasts because I didn’t want to be a girl.
    Fortunately my parents left me too it and allowed me to be who I was, a tomboy (to use that generations terminology).
    I hit puberty and everything changed, I matured and realised I was a woman who just didn’t like stereo typically female stuff. If I had been born recently I would have had adults telling me I was trans and could be the boy I wanted to be and I probably would have been easily steered towards becoming a transman, I would have gone down the path of medical treatment for life with surgery and sterility as a possible outcome. I wan’t born in the wrong body. I just liked ‘boys stuff’. maybe society just needs to accept that some women aren’t girly and some boys are feminine instead of trying to shoehorn kids into believing they are the opposite sex because what they enjoy doesn’t fit in with societies idea of how they should dress and behave.

    • adele Reply

      EXACTLY !!!! VERY WELL PUT !!!

    • Fran Gershwing Reply

      Your life story is a perfect summary of the entire problem!
      Thanks for your post.

  15. Tony Reply

    Hooray for those parents standing up for the right of kids to explore their identities at their own pace. Congratulations to Brighton and Hove News for publishing this story. I fully understand why the mother quoted in the article wants to protect her identity.

    Every time a child or teen shows discontent with gender stereotypes they are framed as trans. We are forced into the binary of transgender or traditionalist. Why can’t a girl as a girl climb trees, yell, wrestle, or sit awkwardly? Why can’t a boy as a boy be gentle and nurturing and sit with the girls? Incredibly, these options are being buried! The transgender trend is reinforcing sex stereotypes.

    This is a particular worry when kids end up in hospital gender clinics because they don’t feel comfortable with stereotypes. Reassignment surgery means adult infertility and a lifetime on costly drugs.

  16. DKC Reply

    Such a silly fuss about nothing! If a simple “Male/Female” option works for you and your child, all you have to do is check the appropriate box and move on. Clearly the rest is not for you and effects you in no way!

    But respect that the answer is not so straightforward for other families. For these families, the additional guidance on who to talk to will help make their children’s transition to primary school easier and less stressful.

  17. Josie Reply

    Well said, that mother. And how telling that she has to remain anonymous for fear of Trans-activists. It is so regressive that, as soon as a child wants to explore beyond the rigid social constructs of gender, s/he gets labelled as Trans. Trans-activists claim to be challenging gender boundaries but in truth they show a Taliban-like mania for enforcing them. And don’t get me started on the nonsense that is “pink brain, blue brain”,

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