Government funded LGBT Youth Scotland ‘Supporting Transgender Young People: Guidance for Schools in Scotlnd’ has been issued to Local Authorities all across the country. It has been endorsed by Children’s Commissioner, Children’s charities, Local Authorities etc despite it controversially discarding the need for single sex spaces and sports.
No Equality Impact Assessments were carried out, neither by the organisations who compiled the guidance nor the Local Authorities who have distributed it amongst their schools.
As a mother of daughters who are directly impacted by this I began asking questions. I shared @Transgendertrd school pack and I got blocked from LGBT Scotland, the authors of the guidance issued across Scotland.
Most of the organisations who have endorsed the LGBT guidance are publically funded, which means they have a responsibility to be transparent to the public about their decision making process and the importance of taking into account the risks and Equalities of everyone.
Here is the response I received from the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland when asked.
I wrote to them again
10th April 2018
Dear Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland,
Thank you for your response dated 6/4/18 to my previous information request regarding policies for Transgender and non-binary schoolchildren.
The Equality Act 2010 allows for the provision of single sex services, e.g. toilets, communal changing rooms and residential accommodation, which permit the exclusion of people of the opposite sex, including those with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. The law recognises that privacy and decency is a requirement of a same sex group using such facilities. The Equality and Human Rights Commission Guidance for Schools in Scotland uses the example of a transsexual pupil who no longer wishes to use the single sex facilities which align to their birth sex and suggests instead that “A suitable alternative might be to allow the pupil to use private changing facilities, such as the staff changing room or another suitable space.” It very clearly does not suggest using the facilities of the opposite sex as a suitable alternative.
The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has publicly endorsed The LGBT Youth Scotland Guidance which recommends that a transgender young person use the facilities of the gender they identify with i.e. facilities restricted for the use of the opposite sex. This provision, practice or criterion is in conflict with the ECHR Guidance. Those with the shared protected characteristic of sex and/or religion are disproportionately impacted when single sex facilities are no longer restricted to the same sex. Their rights to privacy and dignity concerning who can see their bodies are infringed when they are no longer provided with the protection to access single sex facilities.
1/ Please provide any records that show how you were satisfied that the practice, provision or criterion as detailed in this guidance was a legitimate aim and not discriminatory.
2/ Please provide any records that details your decision that the aims achieved when applying the practice, provision or criterion as detailed in this guidance were proportionate.
As per your previous response you stated –
“Our endorsement of the new guidance is not a new policy or change of policy, it is an expression of our existing policy position and the children’s human rights basis for this “
3a/ Please provide any records which detail the discussions and/or decisions on why no evaluation or assessments were required before endorsing this guidance that does not support the need to uphold single sex facilities for schoolchildren.
3b/. Please provide any records which detail the discussions and/or decisions on why no evaluation or assessments were required before creating your existing policy position that does not support the need to uphold single sex facilities for schoolchildren.
4a/ Please provide any records which detail that the human rights of privacy, dignity and respect for ALL children were considered before the Commissioner endorsed this guidance that no longer supports the need to uphold single sex facilities in schools.
4b/ Please provide any records which detail that the human rights of privacy, dignity and respect for ALL children were considered before the Commissioner created the existing policy position of no longer supporting the need to uphold single sex facilities in schools.
I then received this response
Education Scotland responded that they don’t do EIA as it’s the responsibility of the individual local authorities, but they did give a link to resources.
The government said something very similar, specifically referencing the LGBT Youth Scotland school guidance.
Glasgow City Council was one of the local authorities who endorsed the guidance, this was their response. No Equality Impact Assessments carried out.
Glasgow City Council has previously responded with this, so a follow up request was submitted.
The responses from other LA’s were much the same. West Lothian council shared slides from their Equality & Diversity Training. Check out that list of protected characteristics.
Unbelievably whilst West Lothian Council published extracts of their training material highlighting their public sector duty, they also confirmed they had not done any EQIA’s, nor do they hold any records on this decision as it was all based on ‘professional dialogue’.
Response from Clackmannanshire Council was the same, LGBT Youth Scotland guidance issued and no EQIA carried out . (took more effort to get a response from them though)
Response from South Lanarkshire was much the same as the other local authorities, no impact assessments carried out and LGBT YS guidance issued across its schools.
City of Edinburgh Council didn’t even bother to respond to the request sent on 13/3/18, despite the law requiring them to reply within 20 days. A review is pending. 🙄
These are the other organisations/charities/public authorities who have endorsed the guidance.
NHS Lothian endorsed the guidance and here is what they had to say… they (obviously) don’t have any policies regarding school children, however prior to endorsing the guidance they didn’t carry out any impact assessments, research etc either.
West Lothian Council have created their own guidance document, but again no EQIA carried out
Who exactly is taking the responsibility to ensure that these Good Practices as recommended within this guidance booklet are not in violation of the Equality Act 2010? Did anyone even considered the reasons why we have single sex spaces in the first place?
In the rush to be trans inclusive, has every single adult who approved this guidance booklet and/or is responsible for OUR children whilst in your care, completely forgotten about the needs of girls. Do our girls mean so little nowadays to not even deserve the right of privacy.
On one hand the media is reporting about the sharp increase of sexual harassments and assaults of girls within schools and on the other we are telling our girls they no longer have the right to set their own boundaries of who can be within their private spaces when vulnerable.
I would like to know why the local authorities who are required under the public sector equality duty to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act 2010, didn’t deem this point was worthy enough to do EQIA’s.
The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland thinks that children under 12 should have the ability to apply for a GRC. Here is the consultation question & answer cypcs.org.uk/ufiles/Gender-…
Seriously, UNDER 12!!
‘should not be subject to different or additional tests than adults’!!
We are talking about little children and the Children’s Commissioner in Scotland is stating they would be very concerned if children had to wait until 18 before applying for a GRC.
This could even be done without their parents support.
On the very few occasions when we do ask girls and young women what they think, here is what they say girlguiding.org.uk
Here are some more findings from the GirlGuiding survey. The figures are staggering. I truly do not understand why councils are issuing guidance to schools that informs girls they have no ability to set their own boundaries by removing their rights to single sex spaces.
The Herald ran a story on these Freedom of Information requests.
(NB this is lifted from a thread I did on my Twitter account @Scottish_Women on 4/6/18)
If you like the work that I do, and believe it is a worthy cause then please consider offering your support by either making a one-off donation using a credit or debit card, or alternatively by setting up a monthly donation via PayPal, click here to donate.
Follow me on Twitter SusanSinclair@Scottish_Women
Follow me on Facebook “Scottish Women”
Thank you for all your support, Susan Sinclair