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Dangerous education : the occupational hazards of 'transgender education'

Morgan, Ellis and Taylor, Yvette (2018) Dangerous education : the occupational hazards of 'transgender education'. Sociology. ISSN 0038-0385

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Abstract

This article sets out the ways in which primary schools have come to bear significant risks in making decisions over whether, how and when to reflect transgender issues. We examine press reporting that arose in relation to a recent incident in the UK in which a primary school in East Sussex was widely criticised for instigating such a ‘transgender education’ initiative. We argue that despite tacit indications that UK government supports ‘transgender education’ as a learning area for children as young as five years old, there is an ongoing risk to primary schools who implement such initiatives. The nature of this risk is located within the usage of equalities terminology within governmental discussions and official guidance that effectively acts to gloss over the enduringly controversial nature of transgender issues. The vague and non-specific nature of equalities terminology allows for both heteronormative and transgressive interpretation, thereby locating the risk of public criticism with primary schools, and headteachers in particular.