Transgender policy in schools is like the 'Wild West', says Christian MP

Transgender policy in schools is like the 'Wild West', says Christian MP
Apr 2023

Transgender policy in schools is like the 'Wild West', says Christian MP

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

A Christian MP has called for more legal and medical guidance to govern how schools treat gender distressed children.

Speaking to The Christian Institute, Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stockbridge, said that schools had become like the "Wild West" on the issue of transgenderism because of the lack of guidance.

She said that vulnerable children needed to be "safeguarded" and that it is "significant" if schools are compelling pupils to affirm another child's chosen gender and pronouns.

"Over the last 10 years there's been an exponential increase in the number of children presenting with gender distress - typically girls wanting to be boys, wanting to be treated as boys," she said.

"The on-the-ground impact of that is that many schools don't know what to do. Some are transitioning these children socially, changing their names and pronouns, allowing girls to use boys' toilets and vice versa ... some aren't telling parents.

"But it's not a problem that schools can deal with on their own. They need guidance - legal guidance, medical guidance - and at the moment it's a Wild West."

It was Mrs Cates who persuaded Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to launch an urgent review into Relationships and Sex Education amid concerns about some of the sexualised and inappropriate material being used in lessons.

In the wide-ranging interview with The Christian Institute, Mrs Cates said there was enough evidence to show that it was "a real problem that needed sorting out".

She went on to express her opposition to the government's plans to introduce a ban on so-called conversion therapy because of the risk to fundamental freedoms.

"To say to a counsellor, to parents, to teachers, to medical professionals that you just have to accept a child's view of their gender identity, and anything else could be illegal, is very frightening," she said.

Mrs Cates also thanked SNP MSP Kate Forbes for speaking publicly about her own Christian faith during her leadership campaign, despite coming under attack for her traditional beliefs and membership of the Free Church of Scotland.

"I think she's been incredibly brave and as a Christian I'm very grateful to her for standing up for what she believes and being willing to say it and also to say it in a very gracious way," Mrs Cates said.

"I think it has really opened the door for people to see the value that faith and belief can have. Of course she's had attack but she's also had some support from unlikely quarters, people who don't agree with her views on some of the live issues but really value her for being willing to say it."