Children ages 13-18 were asked by a school in Brighton, England, to choose their gender from among two dozen options, including “non-binary,” “bi-gender,” “demi-girl,” “tri-gender” and “not sure.”
That was before reporters started raising questions and the survey abruptly was withdrawn.
Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, said the concept that there are dozens of genders, instead of just boys and girls, should not be forced on children.
Giving children so many options will lead to answers “across the spectrum – not least from kids who want to make fun of the whole thing,” he said.
“But for some children it will be profoundly confusing to find out that there are adults who don’t seem to know that boys are boys and girls are girls,” he continued in a report on his group’s website.
“We feel for people who struggle with gender dysphoria but we must not let our sympathy for them outweigh our sympathy for the great mass of children who need to feel safe and protected in school,” he said. “To feel safe, children need to know there are some simple boundaries in life. The basic biological categories of male and female are amongst the most simple and fundamental boundaries of all.”
The Argus newspaper in Brighton reported students at Blatchington Mill School were asked: “How do you define your gender: The young people we talked with used the following terms; which of these best describes how you define your gender? (Choose as many as you want.)”
The answers listed were girl, trans-boy, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, boy, gender fluid, tomboy, agender, tri-gender, female, androgynous, all genders, in the middle of boy and girl, male, bi-gender, male, young woman, non-binary, intersex, young man, demi-boy, not sure, rather not say, trans-girl and demi-girl.
The last option was: “Others (please state).”
The Argus reported parents criticized the question as “unnecessary” and “confusing” but were met with backlash from “trans campaigners” who said “children struggling with their gender” were being given the opportunity “to put a name to their feelings.”
The national survey, from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, was conducted at schools in Brighton and Hove, the report said.
“We want to know how gender matters to young people: what does gender mean to them; how does it affect their lives; what do they want to change?” Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield told the paper.
The Argus said the answers “may be used in government reports, presentations and publications.”
Blatchington Mill head teacher Ashley Harrold told the paper: ‘We’re incredibly passionate about ensuring that every student feels safe and welcome at our school. When it comes to gender identity it is a real and valid concern for a number of students. For us, anything that prevents students feeling happy, from feeling confident in themselves and from feeling accepted by their peers is something we feel the curriculum should address,'” the Argus reported.
A London Daily Mail editorial called the questions “frankly bizarre,” and the Christian Institute said that after newspapers starting asking questions, “the survey was withdrawn.”
“A spokesman at the Children’s Commissioner’s office said that future versions of the survey will not include the controversial question,” the Institute said.
Calvert said: “We must not intrude on childhood by deliberately confusing school children about what makes a boy a boy or a girl a girl just to satisfy adult political agendas. We must protect children from being made to feel that passing phases of confused feelings about themselves – which many go through – must be turned into life-changing and political decisions.”
At The Argus, Sophie Cook, a “transgender photographer and activist,” lobbied for the agenda, writing, “I think it is really important that young people are given the opportunity to express themselves.”
But Argus columnist Katy Rice offered a counterpoint, demanding, “What on earth does this do to teenagers, in the throes of discovering their sexuality for the first time?”
She continued, “By pandering to a minority with gender issues, schools are introducing confusion and insecurity, unnecessarily making all teenagers question their basic identity.”