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A Christian couple is suing a Church of England elementary school and said there is an “agenda” overriding their religious beliefs after their six-year-old son’s classmate was allowed to wear a dress to school.
According to BBC, Nigel and Sally Rowe withdrew their two sons, aged 6 and 8, from the school on the Isle of Wight after their younger son came home one day and said, “Daddy, I’m confused” because a boy in his class sometimes dresses like a boy and sometimes as a girl.
“Our concerns were raised when our son came back home from school saying he was confused as to why and how a boy was now a girl,” Sally Rowe told BBC Radio.
“We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls. Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment.”
The school has claimed it is simply following Church of England guidance and rules laid out in the Equality Act, which includes educating children about “gender inappropriate pronouns” and encouraging them to see transgender people as “real” males or females.
Jeff Williams, director of education for the Diocese of Portsmouth, said: “Church of England schools are inclusive environments where pupils learn to respect diversity of all kinds. Like any other state school, our schools comply with the legal requirements of the Equalities Act 2010.
“Among other things, this requires schools to accept the wishes of children and their families with regard to gender identity. It would be unlawful for any of our schools to do otherwise.”
However, the couple said that parents were not consulted about such policies and that there is a “political agenda” pushing the issue.
“We have a social understanding that we have boys and we have girls,” Nigel said. “There’s a distinct difference between male and female, not just in what you wear but also within our DNA, the way that we are as boys and the way that we are as girls.”
He added, “Remember we’re talking children that are six years of age. A six-year-old is not really able to, does not have the mental capacity to work out those kind of things. It’s such a young age and we’re concerned about that. We think there is a real danger of children being left with psychological issues.”
Nigel said his children will now be homeschooled: “We’re doing it because we want to make a stand for parents like ourselves who feel there is an agenda going on that is overriding our beliefs,” he said.
“There are a lot of people who are very angry about what is going on in our schools, but they are too afraid of voicing their opinions. We think that somebody has to speak out before it gets out of control,” he added. “In basic terms, we believe it is wrong to encourage very young and vulnerable children to embrace the false promise of transgenderism.”
The Christian Legal Center, which is supporting the Rowe family, said the couple were being accused of “transphobic behavior” because of their “refusal to acknowledge a transgender person’s true gender,” according to the Daily Mail.
Nigel said: “I am shocked by the suggestion, especially from a church school, that just because we question the notion that a six-year-old boy can really become a girl, we are transphobic.”
As reported, statistics from the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) reveal that the number of children referred to “gender identity clinics” has quadrupled in the past five years. In 2016, 84 children aged between three and seven were referred to gender identity clinics, compared to just 20 in the year of 2012 to 2013.
Dr. Joanna Williams, author of Women vs Feminism, told the Telegraph that the results suggest that transgender issues are being “over-promoted” in schools.
“Children – encouraged by their experiences at school – are beginning to question their gender identity at ever younger ages,” she said.
“In doing more than just supporting transgender children, and instead sowing confusion about gender identity, schools do neither boys nor girls any favors,” Williams said, adding that recent changes to school policies could be forcing children to “unlearn” the difference between boys and girls.