Thursday, 9 October 2014

The "Safe Schools Coalition"

appears to have caused a stir. It is supposed to be an anti-bullying initiative.
Let it be said now that any genuine and effective anti-bullying initiative is likely to have my support. This one does not.
Instead of focussing on the things that kids do get bullied about - their appearance, size, their shape, their ethnic background, their speech, their clothes, their possessions or lack of possessions, their disabilities and other such things - this "initiative" is focussing on sexuality. It goes as far as to suggest that six year old children who "identify" as being members of the opposite sex should be allowed to use the facilities of their "chosen" sex.
Sorry, no. There will be very, very rare cases where the sex of a child is uncertain. Those cases need to be treated with the utmost support and sympathy. But, for other children, then the idea that they identify and choose to be transgender, gay or lesbian at six years of age is something I find hard to understand. Yes, I might be wrong but I really do believe it would, at best, be very rare for a six year old to "know" they are inclined one way or another. Children are, surely, still children at that age. They may well know that same sex couples exist but they do not have the emotional experience to understand the implications. 
Transgender? Who didn't wish they were a boy or a girl at some point - especially when it meant they might not have to do something they did not want to do or could do something they wanted to do? There is a vast difference between that and discovering at puberty that you feel you are more comfortable identifying with the opposite sex or are beginning to be more attracted to the same sex. I doubt anyone really knows before then. Yes, I might be wrong but I do doubt it.
But the "Safe Schools Coalition" is demanding that members of the opposite sex be permitted to share facilities at a very young age if they choose to identify that way. Will it stop bullying? No. Who is doing the choosing and/or the encouraging? The child - or an adult? 
I suspect it will make some children feel very uncomfortable and that could lead to bullying. Are people, in trying to "solve a problem" actually just making a much bigger problem?

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