Children as young as four will now be allowed to choose which gender they identify as without receiving prior parental consent. The change was recently announced by the Scottish government, which wanted to give more autonomy to their young citizens. The new guidance does not require parental consent if a child wants to identify as a different gender than the one assigned to them at birth, and the child’s decision must be support and listened to in the school setting, according to a new rule put forward by the Scottish Government.
Children as young as four or five will be allowed to participate in this decision because “recognition and development of gender identity can occur at a young age,” the Scottish government reported. The government also told teachers not to challenge a child’s decision to identify as another gender – instead, they encourage the teachers to ask for the child’s new name and pronouns.
Primary and secondary schools in Scotland will also provide books featuring transgender people and will also allow students to choose which toilet they prefer. There is also talk about switching students over to a gender-neutral school uniform.
However, conservative critics called Scotland’s decision “shocking,” and people accused the government of giving children too much power over their own lives because a decision like identifying as another gender can have lifelong consequences.
The advice says: “Some young people are exploring their gender identity in primary school settings. Primary schools need to be able to meet the needs of these young people to ensure they have a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment in which to learn.”
A section in the advice entitled “changing name and recorded sex” indicates that interested children simply have to inform teachers and school staff that they want to use a different name or alternative pronouns. This decision can be made informally and does not need to be recorded on the student’s official school record. School employees were told to accept this decision from all students who make it and to ask them “what name and pronoun you should use to address them.”
Marion Calder, director of the For Women Scotland campaign group, said: “To be transgender, you have to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. What are they thinking? Parents will be very concerned to be reading this document.”
Scottish education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “This guidance outlines how schools can support transgender young people while ensuring that the rights of all pupils are fully respected. It provides schools with practical suggestions. The guidance is not prescriptive and does not promote transitioning.”
Outraged Daily Mail readers contributed thousands of comments about this Scottish decision.
“What on earth is this world coming to. Children can’t make life-changing decisions at that age.”
“My 4-year-old can’t even decide how he wants his sandwiches cut. He’ll say triangles, but 2 minutes later, he’ll want squares. My favorite, though, is when he asks to go in the swimming pool but then complains he’s wet.”
Do you think children should be given the power to make this decision?
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