A teachers’ union has withdrawn its recommendation of a book aimed at educating autistic children about sex and gender issues.
The National Education Union (NEU) published a review of “Sex and Gender: An Introductory Guide” in the September/October edition of its Educate magazine, describing it as a “fantastic resource” for ages 11 and up.
According to the book's publisher My Body is Me, it aims to 'help young people explore questions about sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender stereotypes in an age-appropriate way'.
My Body is Me was set up by campaign group Transgender Trend, who welcomed the review from the NEU, writing on social media that they were 'thrilled'.
In its review, the NEU magazine said the book was “answering questions about sex and gender in an easy to access, non-threatening way”, adding it was “useful for parents and educators”.
But the connection between the book and Transgender Trend, which campaigns for evidence-based healthcare and scientific teaching in schools, led to backlash from trans activists.
After discovering the book was linked to Transgender Trend, the union apologised and deleted the review from the online version of its magazine.
The book aims to “help young people explore questions about sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender stereotypes in an age-appropriate way”. David Jones
An NEU spokesperson said: “The book review in question has been removed from the online version of Educate, and the process for selecting books and authors for NEU publications will be reviewed.”
“The union regrets that it has, unwittingly, through the publication of a positive review of this book, appeared to support the ideas in this book.”
The U-turn on the part of the NEU has stoked criticism from political figures, as well as Transgender Trend calling the decision “disappointing”.
Baroness Fox of Buckley told the Telegraph that it was “sadly” only a “short-lived moment of tolerance and rationality from NEU”.
She described the decision to remove the review online as a “spineless response” to the backlash.
Although the NEU is the largest teachers union by membership size, there are many others – all of which are permitted political stances.