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Transgender children could be ‘forcibly outed’ under new proposals, charities warn | UK News

Transgender children will be “forcibly outed” under the government’s draft guidance on gender identity in schools, according to a coalition of charities.

A joint statement by a group of organisations including Mermaids, Stonewall, and Amnesty International UK, said the guidance “seeks to deny the existence of transgender pupils, discouraging them from coming out and being their authentic selves, and could lead to young people being forcibly outed to parents and teachers”.

The long-awaited draft guidance was issued in December, and offered proposals for schools and colleges in England on how best to support pupils who are questioning their gender.

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‘I socially transitioned at school’

It said “parents should not be excluded” from decisions taken by a school or college relating to requests for a child to “socially transition”, or in other words, a child who wishes to change their name, pronoun or their clothing.

‘A risk of significant harm’

Exceptions are allowed in “rare” circumstances “where involving parents would constitute a significant risk of harm to the child”.

It also said teachers and staff should “not be required” to adopt the child’s chosen pronoun, and should not have to accept all requests for social transition.

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Trans golfer on hatred after tournament win

But the charities have said the proposals will “erase decades of progress in making schools places that value difference and reject discrimination”.

They want ministers to withdraw the guidance and “rethink” their approach, and some of the signatories have published their own guide for those responding to the consultation, advising “schools and colleges should only engage with parents with the explicit consent of the child or young person in question”.

‘Lots of individual interpretation’

When the Department for Education guidance was published before Christmas, Sky News heard from schools and parents with experience of children questioning their gender at school.

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‘Pronouns are a matter of respect’

Kevin Sexton, executive headteacher at Chesterfield school in Liverpool, said the draft guidance offers a “pragmatic pathway” advising schools, though still left “lots of areas” for individual interpretation.

But one parent who we called Carrie, to protect her identity, spoke of her “scary” experience as the school her child attended changed her child’s name and pronouns without consulting her.

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In response to today’s statement, the department told Sky News: “All schools are expected to follow official guidance over advice from special interest campaign groups. Once the official guidance is final, we expect that schools follow it.

“This guidance will support schools in making decisions which are in the best interests of their pupils.

“Our draft guidance reflects the law, which schools have a duty to follow. It takes a parent-first approach and prioritises children’s safety and wellbeing, whilst recognising that treating children as though they are of the opposite sex can have significant psychological effects on a child.”

The guidance is currently open to public consultation until 12 March.

Charities affiliated with late Queen await news on whether they will get new royal patron | UK News

Hundreds of charities once affiliated with the late Queen remain in the dark over whether they will be given a new royal patron.

Many say they are optimistic – but the slimmed-down monarchy means many could miss out.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth, each of her royal patronages was sent a letter explaining there would be a review.

Nearly a year later the outcome is still not known.

Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff has a close connection with the monarchy, whose faces are carved into the stonework outside the building.

The late Queen and her father, George VI, were both royal patrons of the Friends of the Cathedral.

The charity hopes the King will take on the role.

“We support the heritage, the music, and the fabric of the cathedral. I’d like to think he would value what we do,” said the chair of the Friends, Linda Quinn.

“The Queen supported us, took an interest in what we did, and we used to feel very valued for that.”

Queen was royal patron of more than 600 charities

The late Queen was, at one time, royal patron of more than 600 charities and organisations, including the Dogs Trust.

The charity’s chief executive, Owen Sharp, said: “It was great having her associated… because we’re all about the love of dogs and everybody associated the Queen with loving dogs. We do some work internationally and the Royal Family travels well.”

He’s optimistic her patronage will be filled: “All the indications are that we will have a royal patron, obviously we don’t know who that will be, but we look forward to finding out.”

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Millions of trees planted in late Queen’s memory

King said he would not have time for all his charities

The Royal Family hold 3,000 royal patronages.

Hundreds are vacant after the deaths of the late Queen and Prince Philip.

But the difficult departures of Prince Andrew and Prince Harry also left gaps.

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Buckingham Palace is conducting a review of patronages including those held by the King and Queen.

In his first public address, the King explained he wouldn’t have time for all his charities.

‘It’s a symbiotic relationship’

Some have questioned the purpose of patronage, but Dr John Tribe, a senior lecturer in law at the University of Liverpool, believes the prominent positions do matter.

He said: “I like to refer to it as the patronage bargain… it’s a symbiotic relationship, it’s not just about the charity itself benefiting there’s also a reflected glow that the patron receives.”

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Buckingham Palace says the review is still under way to decide what happens next.

But take a look at the recent balcony moments and you realise the streamlined monarchy many want comes at a cost.

There simply aren’t enough working royals to fill the vacant roles, which were once the bread and butter of British public life.