WHAT DO WE MAKE OF LGBTQ+ FLAGS, GENDER IDENTITY AND PRONOUNS IN THE CLASSROOM?
Genesis tells us that, as part of God’s good creation, humanity was made of two distinct sexes because both are needed to fully reflect His image. To Him male and female are equally precious, gifted, sent out together to accomplish His will. But different. Today, however, the increasingly common understanding is that there’s far more within us than this binary sex identity and that someone’s ‘inner self’ can be of a different gender than their biology indicates, feeling trapped in a body of the ‘wrong’ sex. Sam Allberry, respected Christian commentator on sex and gender issues, writes. “The Bible says: Your body is your sexual identity – let your mind be conformed to it. Our culture says: Your psychology is your sexual identity – let your body be conformed to it.”
This secularism mindset is steadily replacing what used to be unquestioned and self-evident truth, and its theories are ensconced in our schools. A publication by UK’s leading think tank, The Policy Exchange, has produced a report; ‘Asleep at the Wheel’ which makes shocking reading. 25% of secondary schools teach children that some people may be born in the wrong body, almost three-quarters that some have a gender identity different from their biological sex, and four in ten instruct teachers to ignore records of biological sex and relate to a child as whatever gender they identify for themselves. Exhibiting Gay Pride flags, wearing gender badges, ‘Equality groups’ and LGBTQ+ clubs are springing up in schools. Younger children are also invited to consider their ‘real’ gender through books and discussion.
There are safeguarding risks. At a time of concern about sexual harassment among teenagers, one in four schools allow male pupils to use girls’ toilets. Only 28 per cent of secondary schools inform parents when a child discloses feelings of gender distress, letting them adopt a new gender at school. Many more young people are seeking ‘gender identity services’, an increase of over 1,400% (boys) and 5,300% (girls) over the last decade. It is possible and increasingly common to transition through drugs and surgery from male to female or the other way round. I recently read the heart-rending story of Chloe Cole in the USA who underwent treatment from age 12 and had both breasts removed at 15 leading to great suffering and mental anguish. Two years later she ‘de-transitioned’ back to a woman and now understandably campaigns for legislation to ban puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgery for under-18s.
Although this can make us feel hopeless and helpless, especially when we think of in the face of the prevailing narrative in our society and the cries of transphobia and homophobia if people like teachers and pupils themselves dare to speak out. But there is an ever-growing body of evidence that gender ideology is harming children and the government is promising to issue clearer guidance…
Here are a few things we can do as well as pray. (Do access CARE’s 7 Ways to Pray about Transgender at care.org.uk/causes/transgender)
- Write to your MP
- Consider becoming a school governor
- Ask Christian teachers you know how to support them
- As parents: ask to view the RSE materials being taught in your child’s school
- Talk to your children about what they are being taught in their lessons
- Be nosy and look what books are in your school library
- Discuss with your children about what being male and female means.
Our true identity lies in our relationship with Christ who loves us, broken and sinful though we all are. In the midst of the argument, accusation and deep concern, especially for parents, Jesus would ask us to listen compassionately to the stories of those facing these painful dilemmas and pray for them.
Meanwhile CARE is monitoring both political and social aspects of this issue. Do access our website for information and prayer resources that can help you dig deeper and pray.
Pray for: Young people that are struggling with their identity to find truth; for teachers who have to implement the curriculum even if it goes against their beliefs and for the Government to have wisdom and truth to safeguard our young people. Read 7 ways to pray about gender ideology.