Culture United Kingdom

Teen launches judicial review after council says female students should share toilets, change rooms and sleeping dorms with boys who identify as girls

A 13-year-old schoolgirl has applied for judicial review, claiming the Oxfordshire County Council’s ‘Trans Inclusion Toolkit for Schools 2019‘ compromises her safety and violates her right to privacy.

The young girl has said the 65-page guide for students questioning their gender poses a risk to children by allowing boys and girls to share private spaces, including toilets, changerooms and sleeping dorms.

The council’s guidance to more than 300 schools in Oxfordshire states: “Children and young people are supported through the Equality Act 2010 to access the toilet that corresponds to their gender identity; so trans girls because they are girls, can use the girls’ toilets and trans boys the boys’ toilets.”

The guide also states that “in all cases, trans children and young people should have access to the changing room that corresponds to their gender identity.

“As far as possible, trans children and young people should be able to sleep in dorms appropriate to their gender identity.”

The teen said the council’s guide puts young girls at risk by compromising their safety, privacy and dignity.

“The toolkit has a very significant impact on me as a girl,” she said. “I am very surprised that the council never asked the opinion of girls in Oxfordshire about what we thought before they published the toolkit.

“Under these guidelines, I have no right to privacy from the opposite sex in changing rooms, loos or on residential trips. Sports could end up being unsafe as I am a really small teenage girl and boys are bigger than girls. This guidance could be used in any educational establishment in Oxfordshire, which possibly includes sports clubs.”

Victoria Edwards, an Oxford mother with a 12-year-old son, along with a local teacher, have also backed the young girl’s efforts by crowdfunding support for legal action against the council.

Ms Edward said, “Despite promising a review and a consultation with parents who raised safeguarding concerns about their approach, the Oxfordshire County Council have produced guidance which is unlawful and puts children at risk.

“The guidance overrides existing safeguarding regulations and compels teachers to subscribe to gender ideology or risk their jobs. It says transgirls are girls, transboys are boys and should be treated such in all aspects of school life. The policy advises total affirmation of children who identify as trans, which may be detrimental to their long term physical and mental health,” Ms Edwards said.

“We want to hold Oxfordshire County Council to account. This case could be ground-breaking as it has ramifications for all schools nationally. This will be the first legal case that shapes the law on how schools are to engage with transgender issues. It will be a test case that will affect the whole country and could be the one thing that protects our children from the pressure schools and local authorities have come under from political lobby groups,” she added.

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