Government tsar claims male and female school uniforms ‘discriminatory’
A Government ‘tsar’ for children and young people has claimed that boys should be free to wear skirts in school because the application of a traditional school uniform code was a “discriminatory practice” which could cause “serious distress” to pupils who were “gender variant”.
Tam Baillie, the Scottish Parliament’s ‘Commissioner for Children and Young People’, suggested that gender differences in school uniforms may have to be eliminated in order to allow pupils to “express themselves” and “develop a strong sense of who they are”.
“I would agree that gender specific uniforms or dress codes can cause serious distress”, he said.
He also believes that policies forcing children to adhere to a specific dress code were likely to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, he advocates a ‘flexible approach’ rather than a blanket ban.
Mr Baillie’s comments were made in support of Luca Scarabello, a 13 year old boy who lodged a petition to the Scottish government last year to end the use of "gender specific uniforms” such as trousers for boys and skirts for girls.
His campaign is being backed by the Scottish Transgender Alliance and LGBT Scotland.
The Public Petitions Committee is currently in the process of considering the proposals.
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, has criticised the proposal:
“Schools should be free to make their own decisions about uniform policies in consultation with parents, without the constraints of political correctness.
“Gender is determined by objective biological facts and not by a person's feelings, no matter how strong they may be.
“Rather than encouraging children to become what they are not, we need to help them recognise and accept what they are.
“To that end, maintaining a distinction between what boys and girls are required to wear can be positive and helpful for pupils struggling with gender identity issues.
“This is yet another case of the language of children's rights being used in an attempt to add weight to what is nothing more than a personal minority view.
“To enforce it on everyone by force of law is undemocratic.”
Edinburgh City Council is currently in the process of introducing measures to prohibit primary schools from separating children into groups of boys and girls when lining up in the playground and when participating in sports day activities.
The policy, which aims to remove “stereotyping” and “break down gender barriers”, is currently being tested at Trinity Primary in Edinburgh, and is expected to be applied to other schools in the vicinity.
Dr. Miriam Grossman, a leading child psychologist, commenting on a similar matter in California, said:
“Around the age of three, a boy knows that he is a boy. That is called gender identity. By the age of four, the boy is supposed to know that he is going to grow up to become a man. That is called gender stability. By 6 or 7 at the latest, a boy is supposed to know that he cannot become a girl, even if he wears a dress. That is called gender permanence. I am drawing this from standard child psychology materials.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“Implying to children that they can choose their own gender could be extremely confusing for them and lead to real damage.
“Unfortunately, caring for children seems not to be the highest priority of those who want to promote and impose on all of us the latest fashionable and politically correct ideology.”