The government has not met with any LGBTQIA+ organisation about the creation of transgender schools guidance, a written response from a parliamentary question has revealed.
Over the last year, the government has admitted that Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has not had a single meeting with an LGBTQIA+ organisation around the consultation on the imminent guidance intended to be delivered to schools on trans issues.
The announcement of the release of the guidance was made earlier this year, in March. The Prime Minister stated that the government would deliver guidance to schools on how better to support transgender pupils by the summer term. As yet, no such guidance has been delivered.
Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, tabled a Written Parliamentary Question on 5 September that read: “To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many meetings she has had with which LGBT+ organisations on transgender guidance for schools in the last 12 months.”
Last Friday (29 September), Schools Minister Nick Gobb responded on behalf of the Education Secretary: “The Secretary of State has not met any lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations directly to discuss the guidance, but the Department is keen to consider the full range of views and will be undertaking a public consultation on the draft guidance prior to publication.
“During the consultation period, the Department plans to engage with a range of interested organisations, including organisations that support the LGBT community.”
Responding to the answer, Whittome highlighted that “this guidance could have huge implications for the safety and wellbeing of young trans people. If the government cared about this, it would have met with LGBT+ organisations early in the process of drafting this guidance to ensure it gets it right.
“It is frankly insulting that the Education Secretary has been preparing this guidance for at least six months and hasn’t met even once with a single LGBT+ organisation.”
Whittome added: “The government has given up pretending it cares about LGBT+ people – from this guidance, to dropping the conversion therapy ban, to appalling remarks about LGBT+ refugees, our community is being treated as collateral damage in its vile and dangerous culture war.”
There has been huge support for the guidance to be delivered from teachers in England. Research conducted by Just Like Us has found that eight in 10 teachers want more guidance on how to support their trans students. More than half (55 per cent) of the 6,394 teachers independently surveyed across England have at least one student who has come out as trans.
Former Chief Executive of Just Like Us, Dominic Arnall, highlighted at the time that the results show how teachers “are crying out for the right resources to support them.”