The Church of England issued a guide meant to combat transphobic bullying, which encourages all students to explore their gender identity and feel free to be whoever they want to be.
“Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity … without judgement or derision,” the 2017 guidelines posit.
The Church of England says the guidelines represent its commitment to preventing and doing away with any existing prejudice against gays, queers, and transgenders that exist in British schools. The policy vows to “eradicate any homophobic, biphobic and transphobic stereotyping and bullying.” Further, the guidelines insist they are meant to protect students in an ever-changing “modern Britain.”
“The aim of this guidance is to prevent pupils in Church of England schools and academies from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity,” read the guidelines, signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The guidelines add that all labels and assumptions about a child’s behavior that don’t conform to gender stereotypes should be allowed without question, asserting that this open-minded mentality should also inform teachers about what language they should use to instruct, praise, or criticize students.
All U.K. Church school staff will be trained to recognize and understand instances of transphobic bullying, and the schools will also be inspected and given a performance indicator accordingly.
The guidelines indicate that the Church of England thought further action was necessary after reading the Stonewall LGBT advocacy group’s 2017 School Report, which surveyed LGBT students aged 11 to 19 across Britain. “Our research shows that nearly half of lesbian, gay, bi and trans pupils are bullied for being LGBT at school: a situation that desperately needs to change,” a Stonewall spokesman said according to BBC News.
“It is so important children are able to be themselves without fear of bullying,” said Anti-Bullying Alliance national coordinator Martha Evans, BBC reported. She added that schools have a duty to ensure schools don’t discriminate against students.
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