The Scottish Government has been accused of being “seriously confused” over guidance for transgender pupils which suggests teachers need not tell parents if a child wants to change gender.
The Christian Institute (CI), which is threatening legal action over the guidance, has raised questions about the Scottish Government’s attitude towards it.
According to the guidance document Supporting Transgender Young People – Guidance for Schools in Scotland, it has been endorsed by the Scottish Government.
But a recent letter sent by the government to lawyers acting for the Christian Institute said the Government supported the guidance but had not taken any decision to formally endorse it.
It added that the guidance had been drawn up by the government-funded LGBT Youth Scotland.
The letter said: “Through that funding bid and subsequent engagement the Scottish Government was made aware of the guidance and expressed support for it. We did not take any decision to formally endorse the guidance as we do not take a prescriptive approach to the curriculum in Scotland.”
Ciarán Kelly, CI deputy director, said: “The Scottish Government is either being disingenuous or is seriously confused. Either way, they’ve got themselves in a mess. The guidance clearly states in black and white that it is endorsed by the Scottish Government. When it was launched with accompanying fanfare in November last year, it was widely reported by the media the Scottish Government endorsed the guidance. Surely if it had been done without permission someone would have said so? They had every opportunity to deny it then – they didn’t.
The CI objects to a clause saying a child’s permission is needed for teachers to discuss transgender choices with the child’s family.
The guidance says: “If children in the school say that they want to live as a different gender, it is important to provide support and listen to what they are saying. Teachers and schools should be confident in discussing this with the child and, with the child’s consent, their family.”
The Scottish Government claimed its endorsement of the guidance was an error by its producers.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are supportive of the guidance. It is up to individual schools and local authorities what approaches they use,”