Gender-Neutral Pronouns Forced on UK Boarding Schools

News: Education
by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 18, 2016   

Authors maintain purpose is to begin "queering the system"

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LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - UK boarding schools are being forced to refer to transgender pupils with "new language."

Self-described as "queering the system," a guidance issued by the Boarding Schools Association is demanding that teachers at all UK boarding schools avoid offending transgender students by refering to them as "zie," a gender-free pronoun. The guidelines maintain that their purpose is assisting staff of the country's dozens of prep schools to navigate the "minefied" of changes in order to avoid lawsuits, as the association begins working on "queering the system."

Those boarding schools geared toward males or females only are mandated to cease using terms such as "girls," "boys," "young men" and "young women," among others, and instead implement terminology like "students" and "pupils."

Additionally, the boarding schools, which include elite institutes at Eton, Westminster and High Wycombe, are being ordered to have "equality pledges" located at the front desks of their facilities, which must be signed by anyone wishing to visit the schools.

The guidance cites the Equality Act 2010, which protects gender identity in multiple facets of daily life, including children who identify as another gender: "A child has protected characteristics of gender reassignment as soon as they make their intention known to someone whether that is at school, at home or elsewhere."

According to Elly Barnes of the Educate and Celebrate charity, and author of the guidelines, it is becoming vital for boarding schools to "break the binary," as more and more students are self-describing as transgender.

"Schools need to make sure that all students are treated equally and fairly according to the Equality Act," Barnes told the Sunday Telegraph. "We need to educate adults to speak a common language because we grew up in a generation with no prior experience about the (LGBT communities)."

Barnes declared that it is imperitive to make "reasonable adjustments" to accomodate the purported 10 percent of UK citizens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"It's a new language that's absolutely needed in schools. We have, of course, restrictions within the English language but the more we use these pronouns the more they become part of the language," she claimed. "If you're new to the 'trans' community, this is very new language."

Alex Thompson, deputy chief executive of the Boarding School's Association, asserted the guidance is intended to assisted teachers who may be "in the dark" regarding transgender issues.

"Teachers, heads and deputy heads were asking questions about these issues and they felt they were in the dark on what was politically correct and had fears of causing offense as young people largely between the ages of 13 and 18 were questioning their gender identity," he stated. "There was a strong understanding when it [was] more obvious and direct when someone came out as gay but not in the area where young people were asking 'who am I?' to a member of staff and these were questions they had not been asked before."

Thompson also claimed bullying as a catalyst for producing the guidelines.

"Zie," pronounced like the letter z, is the preferred term of the Boarding School Association, defined as "the most popular form of gender-free pronoun in the online genderqueer community."

 

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