U.K. School’s Sex Education Will Teach Kids That ‘All Genders’ Can Have Periods In Huge Win For Transgender Community

In a victory for transgender rights campaigners, the Brighton & Hove City Council approved an amendment to the school curriculum. Brighton and Cove is a city in East Sussex, in South East England. The change to the curriculum means that starting at ages eight and nine, students will learn “age and development appropriate period education within a planned programme of relationships and sex education” as part of a “period positive approach” to the topic of menstruation.

The change follows a report from the city council that said, “Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods.” The report noted that “menstruation must be inclusive of all genders.” The report also recommends that transgender students be provided with additional support from a school nurse if necessary.

The city council explained in a statement:

“By encouraging effective education on menstruation and puberty, we hope to reduce stigma and ensure no child or young person feels shame in asking for period products inside or outside of school if they need them. Our approach recognises the fact that some people who have periods are trans or non-binary.”

The Brighton & Hove City Council recently released a “Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit” designed to help teachers address gender identity in a sensitive manner. Those guidelines asked educators to be respectful and inclusive to students questioning their gender identity. Additionally, the toolkit recommends that teachers refer to students by their preferred pronoun or name and that schools adopt a non-gendered uniform to reduce instances of bullying.

The move has received some pushback, particularly from Tory MP David Davies, who told The Daily Mail that the new guidelines constituted “insanity.”

Davies said:

“Learning about periods is already a difficult subject for children that age, so to throw in the idea girls who believe they are boys also have periods will leave them completely confused.”

The incredulity extends across the pond as well.

In an editorial for The Toronto Sun, Canadian conservative talk radio personality Jerry Agar, who previously generated controversy for criticizing the Province of Ontario’s decision to prohibit Catholic school boards from banning Gay Straight Alliances on their campuses, decried the Brighton & Hove City Council’s decision as “flights of ridiculous fantasy.”

Agar wrote:

“In The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Hans Christian Andersen, the new tailors for the king scam the public by saying the king’s clothes are made of their cloth which is invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“We cannot be expected to act like the people who pretended to see the clothes. Boys don’t have periods — period.

“This is why many parents worry about what is going on in sex education.

“I actually don’t care how adults live their lives but have personally experienced how rational dialogue often goes out the window when trans issues are discussed.”

In fact, the medical community has recommended that children in primary school learn about LGBT relationships and issues. The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) suggested, in guidelines which will become compulsory after 2020, that schools are free to determine how they approach LGBT-related subjects so long as they do so in a “sensitive and age appropriate” manner.

RCPCH said in a statement:

“There needs to be a clear statement that LGBT people and relationships are part of teaching about healthy relationships in primary school. This can be demonstrated in relation to families – but also it is helpful to children to learn the meaning of terms such as lesbian, gay and bisexual.”

Ruth Pearce, a sociologist specializing in trans studies, feminist theory and practice, and author of Understanding Trans Health, called the move “Great news,” though she noted the news had been “mangled in the press.”

Pearce notes that one news outlet quoted a “trasgender rights group” as opposed to “trans-inclusive measures around menstruation.”

The “transgender rights group” is actually Transgender Trend, which describes itself as “a group of parents based in the UK, who are concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender.”

The organization also claims to be “concerned about legislation which places transgender rights above the right to safety for girls and young women in public bathrooms and changing rooms” despite there being no recorded instances of transgender individuals attacking women and children in restrooms. Data tell us that transgender individuals are actually among our most vulnerable marginalized groups.

The Human Rights Campaign conducted an analysis of 29 deaths of transgender people in the United States in 2018, concluding that transgender individuals are at risk of fatal violence and that “fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.”