They are not adults – let them enjoy the innocence and creativity of their childhood.” Brighton and Hove City Council’s lead member for equalities, Councillor Emma Daniel, said the change to the form had been made in response to calls from families and schools to be more inclusive.
The mother also argued that children of this age don’t have a sophisticated enough understanding of gender issues, and asking them to make a distinction so young could have harmful ramifications later in life. “Research has shown that 80% of children who experience gender dysphoria as children DO NOT transition in later life but instead are more likely to be gay.
She said: “A boy who does not fit into the ‘masculine’ category should not be encouraged to believe that his body is wrong, rather schools should be encouraging that child to broaden their view of what is masculine. The worrying rise in schools and other agencies accepting the self identification of a four-year-old is likely to cause emotional distress.
“Imagine how confusing and upsetting it would be to be the ‘trans’ child: a boy who self identifies as a girl at four, grows up as trans (is told by school and other agencies that they are no different from other girls), has a new name and pronoun but then grows up to be a gay man.
“As an adult that child might feel let down by the very people he trusted to protect his best interests, he might feel he has been emotionally abused by the collusion in a narrative he had no power to control, he might want redress for the emotional damage caused.
“Children do not have access to an adult view of the world – they don’t fully understand permanence, social structures, what is possible and what is not possible.
Four-year-olds do not generally have fixed views and often don’t fully understand that their sex, colour or even species is fixed.
“Treating children as though they are adults is a dangerous approach from a safeguarding point of view.
Brighton and Hove parents have raised concerns about being asked to support their three and four-year-olds to choose which gender, if any, they identify with when accepting a place for primary schools.
Hundreds of parents found out yesterday which primary school their children will be attending in September, and were asked to fill out a council form to accept the offer.
After the tickbox for male/female, a note explained that the national recording system only gives these two options, and asked parents to “support your child to choose they gender they most identify with or if they have another gender identity please leave this blank and discuss this with your child’s school”.
The wording of the letter is already under review after the council was made aware of concerns about the new policy. “Children at school should be free to develop their identity, celebrate their achievements and accept their bodies.