ANGRY parents have blasted a council that wants kids as young as four to choose the gender “they most identify with” before starting school.
It wrote to parents urging them to support their child’s choice of “gender identity” in a letter confirming primary school places this week.
And it asked them to leave the gender section of a form blank if their child had “another gender identity” altogether. The letter was sent to thousands of parents preparing to send kids to new schools later this year.
Brighton and Hove City Council wrote: “We recognise that not all children and young people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth or may identify as a gender other than male or female, however the current systems (set nationally) only record gender as male or female.
“Please support your child to choose the gender they most identify with.
“Or if they have another gender identity please leave this blank and discuss with your child’s school.”
Many parents were appalled by the letter. One mother said: “Children at school should be free to develop their identity.
“They are not adults — let them enjoy the innocence and creativity of their childhood.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen described the letter as “utterly ridiculous”. He added: “Schools should be teaching kids to read and write, not prompting them to consider gender swaps.
The council’s move came just months after it sent pupils at Blatchington Mill School in Hove a gender survey with 25 options to choose from.
As well as girl and boy, answers included “genderqueer”, “tri-gender” and “gender fluid”.
Author Stephanie Davies-Arai, an expert on child communication skills, said: “If you say the word ‘gender’ to a child they would have no idea what it means.
“If you tell a child they are the opposite gender then they will think you mean the opposite sex. It’s very confusing and it leads to emotional problems for children.”
Cllr Emma Daniel, head of Brighton’s equalities committee, said: “We have inserted the additional text about gender identity in response to calls from families, young people and schools to show an inclusive approach.
“There are increasing numbers of children and young people nationally identifying as trans.”
Ms Daniel said she was aware of “concerns” about the wording on the form.
She added: “We will review this to see whether we can make it clearer that we consider discussions around gender identity to be an option for parents rather than an obligation.”
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