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Children as young as 4 years old in Scotland will now be allowed to change their names and gender identities at school without permission from their parents.
Under new transgender inclusivity guidance issued by the Scottish government, teachers are advised to "be affirming" in the event that a student "at any age" states they are transgender, the Telegraph reported. Rather than question them, teachers are instructed to ask students for their new name and preferred gender pronoun.
Furthermore, teachers are asked to respect the students' privacy and refrain from informing their parents unless the student requests it.
"A transgender young person may not have told their family about their gender identity," the document reportedly states. "Inadvertent disclosure could cause needless stress for the young person or could put them at risk and breach legal requirements. Therefore, it is best to not share information with parents or carers without considering and respecting the young person's views and rights."
Elsewhere in the document, Scottish schools are encouraged to allow transgender students to use the locker rooms and restrooms of their choosing, develop "gender-neutral" uniforms, and provide educational material that includes transgender characters and lessons.
"The provision of a safe, respectful and inclusive learning environment for all pupils is paramount and it is therefore vital that our schools have the confidence to meet the needs of all pupils, including transgender pupils, within the school," Scottish Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said in a statement.
The Telegraph noted that the guidance recommended schools display posters in classrooms that "challenge gender stereotypes" and share recommended reading that promotes trans inclusivity.
"One book included tells a story about a blue crayon which suffers an identity crisis because it was mistakenly labeled as red," the outlet reported.
In another book, the character reportedly claims "pretending I was a boy felt like telling a lie" until the "amazing day" when she went to a doctor and was diagnosed as transgender.
Somerville claimed that the guidance does not "promote transitioning" but rather provides schools with suggestions to make sure transgender students are respected and appreciated, the Herald reported. Critics disagree.
"This is really, really worrying," Marion Calder, co-director of For Women Scotland, said. "The bottom line is that this is a dangerous ideology that the Scottish Government is pushing."
"Children are now being encouraged on to a medical pathway, potentially for the rest of their lives. We should not be teaching children, and especially primary school children, that you can change sex, because you cannot change sex," Calder added.
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