William Eichler 20 April 2016

Brighton criticised for option to select gender on school form

A council has come under attack for the decision to allow children to choose their gender on primary school application forms.

Brighton and Hove City Council has asked four-year-olds to select the gender ‘they most identify with’ on the council form in a move intended ‘to show an inclusive approach to gender.’

The decision was characterised as ‘utterly ridiculous’ by Tory MP Andrew Bridgen who told The Independent: ‘Schools should be teaching kids to read and write, not prompting them to consider gender swaps.’

Cllr Emma Daniel, the council’s lead member for equalities, defended the policy as a response to calls from families, young people and schools to approach the question of gender in a more inclusive manner.

‘There are increasing numbers of children and young people nationally identifying as Trans,’ she said.

‘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.’

Cllr Daniel acknowledged concerns over the wording on the school form.

‘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.’

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