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UK schools to ban students from changing gender if parents disagree

U.K. schools will be banned from letting students change their gender identify if their parents disagree with the children, according to a new government policy slated to be published this week. 

The policy will ban schools from calling students by their preferred pronouns and prevent students from playing on sports teams unless parents give their consent regarding their child’s gender identity, The Sun reported Sunday. 

The expected guidance comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, leader of the Conservative Party, said earlier this year he was “very concerned” about a report showing school leaders often do not tell parents when their child is questioning their gender. He pledged in March to publish guidance for the U.K.’s summer semester on how teachers should handle matters regarding sexuality and gender. 

“The wellbeing and safety of children is my top priority,” Sunak told The Sun this weekend. “We have to recognize that any degree of social transition could have potentially quite a significant impact and consequences for a child.”

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Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the London Defence Conference, at King’s College, in London May 23, 2023. (Ben Stansall/Pool via REUTERS)

“So it is vital the right safeguards are in place,” he added. 

The expected guidance, according to The Sun, will advise teachers tell parents when their child questions their gender, regardless if the child objects. Teachers will additionally need parental consent to acknowledge and use a student’s preferred pronouns, and will be told to disregard a child’s transition if parents do not agree, the outlet reported. 

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Parents have got to be kept in the know about their child while they are at school and be consulted when sensitive matters arise,” a U.K. government source told The Sun. “If their child expresses a desire to transition, for example, it’s vitally important that parents are made aware and have a say.”

Transgender parade

Thousands of people pass through Soho on a London Trans+ Pride march from the Wellington Arch on July 9, 2022 in London. London Trans+ Pride is a grassroots protest event which is not affiliated with Pride in London and which focuses on creating a space for the London trans, non-binary, intersex and GNC community to come together to celebrate their identities and to fight for their rights. (Photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)

“It is in everyone’s best interest to ensure this happens, so that the child is looked after, teachers are clear in how they must handle the situation and parents know so that they can handle it appropriately and sensitively,” the government official told The Sun. 

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School leaders will also reportedly be required to consider the gender change would have on a student’s mental health before accepting the change, even if parents have already provided their consent. 

Gay Pride event

Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) community carry a huge rainbow flag during the annual Pride Parade on July 2, 2022 in London. The first Gay Pride march to be held in a U.K. city took place from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, London on 1 July 1972 and was a carnival parade of protest against the inequalities suffered by LGBTQ+ people at the time. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

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The expected guidance will also reportedly target sexual education lessons deemed graphic and pornographic. A third-party review board will evaluate lessons and recommend age ratings for the material, while only certain lessons from approved education providers will be permitted in classrooms. 

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Trans activist groups, as well as left-wing political leaders, are expected to rail against the guidance, according to The Sun. 

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