Stonewall statement on 22 July tweet on inclusive education | Stonewall
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Stonewall statement on 22 July tweet on inclusive education

On Friday we put out a tweet that was unclear, relating to gender stereotypes and nursery age children, leading some supporters to ask us what we meant.

We were commenting on an article written by a parent reflecting on how their child was being cared for at nursery. The parent was worried that their child was being pressured to fit in with stereotypes about boys and girls. We believe that young children should be able to play, explore and learn about who they are, and the world around them, without having adults’ ideas imposed upon them.

We support existing provisions to ensure primary and secondary school pupils learn about LGBTQ+ identities in an age-appropriate and timely manner. Primary schools in Scotland and Wales are required to provide LGBTQ+ inclusive approach to relationships and sex education, and primary schools in England are encouraged to do so.

This is vital for making sure that today’s children do not grow up living with the stigma of being LGBTQ+. For primary school aged children, this might mean, for example, learning that some children have two mummies, some have two daddies. It might mean not forcing children to conform to stereotypes, and it might mean challenging bullying that relates to perceived difference.

What research were you referring to?

The tweet was paraphrasing research mentioned in the article. But studies of trans adults that ask about when they first experienced gender dysphoria find that a significant number have their first memory of this feeling aged between 2 and 4.

Do you think that children as young as two can identify they are trans?

No. It was wrong to suggest that children as young as two know they are trans. What this should have expressed is that many trans people first experienced gender dysphoria at a young age. But that does not mean that children know they are trans.

Do you think that young children should be taught about trans identities at nursery age?

For primary school aged children, this might mean, for example, learning that some children have two mummies, some have two daddies. It might mean not forcing children to conform to stereotypes, and it might mean challenging bullying that relates to perceived difference.

Do you think that young children should access transition-related healthcare?

No, Stonewall supports existing NHS medical pathways for trans young people to access support from the NHS. To be clear, nobody can access surgery on the NHS until they are adults, and we support this.