Schools can now refuse to refer to students by their chosen name or pronouns, Britain’s equality watchdog has ruled.
Teachers and staff who misgender trans pupils are now no longer guilty of discrimination, reversing previous guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The watchdog had previously said that referring to a student’s old name or pronouns would be a “direct” discrimination.
Now the guidance has been deleted, after the commission received many complaints from campaigners.
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The EHRC guidance – which was edited yesterday – originally asked: “A previously female pupil has started to live as a boy and has adopted a male name. Does the school have to use this name and refer to the pupil as a boy?”
The answer was yes and not to do so would be “direct gender reassignment discrimination”.
The new guidance has removed all of these warnings.
It makes it clear that schools are not required to abide by the wishes of students who want to transition socially.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has since said there would be some delays in publishing the advice.
Baroness Falkner, chairman of the EHRC, stressed the importance of publishing Government guidance as soon as possible: “It is crucial we avoid any confusion on this important topic.”
“The EHRC has provided the Department for Education with advice on equality law and, where appropriate, human rights. We have urged them to bring forward their guidance for schools in England as soon as possible, to help provide further clarity for schools and families,” she said.
The ruling issued by the watchdog is likely to form part of the long-awaited Government guidance.