Government sets out plan to ban conversion therapy

Following the Queen’s Speech Tuesday 11th May, Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, has confirmed that the Government will take legislative steps to ban conversion therapy.

Legislation will be introduced, protecting people from the coercive and abhorrent practice of conversion therapy in the UK.

Many forms of the practice are already prevented under current legislation, but this new ban will ensure that it is stamped out once and for all.

New funding will also be made available to increase the support available for victims of conversion therapy, the first time a government has offered this in the UK. This support is expected to be in place by summer.

Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, said:
“As a global leader on LGBT rights, this government has always been committed to stamping out the practice of conversion therapy.

“We want to make sure that people in this country are protected, and these proposals mean nobody will be subjected to coercive and abhorrent conversion therapy.

“Alongside this legislation, we will make new funding available to ensure that victims have better access to the support they need.”

As soon as parliamentary time allows, and following a consultation, the ban will be introduced in parliamentary legislation. The accompanying consultation will seek further views from the public and key stakeholders to ensure that the ban can address the practice while protecting the medical profession; defending freedom of speech; and upholding religious freedom.

Maya Forstater, wins tribunal appeal over transgender tweets

 

A woman who lost her job after saying that people cannot change their biological sex has won an appeal against an employment tribunal.

Maya Forstater, 47, did not have her contract renewed after posting tweets on gender recognition.

She lost her original case at a tribunal in 2019, but a High Court judge ruled her “gender-critical” beliefs fell under the Equalities Act.

The appeal said the tribunal had erred in law and another should take place.

Ms Forstater, from St Albans in Hertfordshire, did not have her contract renewed at the think tank Center for Global Development (CGD) in March 2019, after posting a series of tweets questioning government plans – which were later scrapped – to let people declare their own gender.

She claimed she was discriminated against because of her beliefs, which include “that sex is immutable and not to be conflated with gender identity”.

In the initial tribunal employment judge James Tayler said that her approach was “not worthy of respect in a democratic society”.

He concluded that Ms Forstater was “absolutist” in her view and said she was not entitled to ignore the rights of a transgender person and the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering”.

But the Honourable Mr Justice Choudhury said her “gender-critical beliefs” did fall under the Equalities Act as they “did not seek to destroy the rights of trans persons”.

Ms Forstater said she was “delighted to have been vindicated” but CGD said the decision was a “step backwards for inclusivity and equality for all”.

In a video statement, Ms Forstater said: “I’m proud of the role I’ve played in clarifying the law and encouraging more people to speak up”.

Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, said: “The decision is disappointing and surprising because we believe Judge Tayler got it right when he found this type of offensive speech causes harm to trans people, and therefore could not be protected under the Equality Act.

Maya Forstater won her case because the Employment Appeal Tribunal concluded that her belief that biological sex is real, important and immutable met the legal test of a genuine and important philosophical position that is protected under the UK’s equality laws.

The test for such a protection was that her belief touched on an important part of human life, would be accepted by others and – this is the important bit – could not be shown to be a direct attempt to harm others.

The appeal panel found that while her words were offensive to some, they fell far short of the violent and oppressive views of “Nazism or totalitarian”. There was not even any evidence that she had harassed anyone at work.

Where does this leave employers? Equality and employment law require them to recognise and uphold the rights of all in the workplace.

Ms Forstater’s speech and beliefs are protected – but so are the rights of trans people. And if speech crosses the line from an honestly held belief to bullying, attacks and intimidation, then the scales very obviously tip in favour of protecting the victim.

Covid-19: Vaccine passports ‘unethical’, church leaders warn Boris Johnson

More than 1,200 church leaders have urged PM Boris Johnson not to introduce Covid vaccine certificates, saying they are an “unethical form of coercion”.

In an open letter, the leaders – who include Anglican and Catholic ministers – warn passports could create a “surveillance state”.

The government says it is reviewing whether to use vaccine certificates and “no decisions have been taken”.

The UK equality watchdog says passports could create a “two-tier society”.

Government ministers have said that certificates would allow people to show if they have been vaccinated, had a negative test or had natural immunity from a confirmed infection in the previous six months.

A government spokesperson said: “We are considering a range of evidence around Covid-status certification and whether it may have a role in opening up higher risk settings safely. The review is ongoing and no decisions have been taken.”

The the open letter stated

The introduction of vaccine passports would constitute an unethical form of coercion and violation of the principle of informed consent. People may have various reasons for being unable or unwilling to receive vaccines currently available including, for some Christians, serious issues of conscience related to the ethics of vaccine manufacture or testing. We risk creating a two-tier society, a medical apartheid in which an underclass of people who decline vaccination are excluded from significant areas of public life. There is also a legitimate fear that this scheme would be the thin end of the wedge leading to a permanent state of affairs in which COVID vaccine status could be expanded to encompass other forms of medical treatment and perhaps even other criteria beyond that.

Finally, as Christian leaders we wish to state that we envisage no circumstances in which we could close our doors to those who do not have a vaccine passport, negative test certificate, or any other “proof of health”. For the Church of Jesus Christ to shut out those deemed by the state to be social undesirables would be anathema to us and a denial of the truth of the Gospel.

The government’s suggestion of vaccine certificates has united MPs from all sides of the Commons, with No 10 facing criticism from those in both Conservative and opposition parties.

More than 70 MPs railed against the plan earlier this month, arguing that demanding medical proof in order to take part in local community life, such as going to the pub, was discriminatory and divisive.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “very worried” vaccine passports could lead to discrimination against people who have not received a jab.

High Court Ruling: Children under the age of 16, must convince a judge they understand the immediate and long-term consequences of taking puberty blockers

Children under 16 who want to undergo gender reassignment must now convince a judge they understand the “immediate and long-term consequences” of the process before taking puberty blockers, a landmark ruling said today.
The High Court has decided a child must be able to “understand, retain, and weigh” the factors involved in the process, including the implications of surgery and loss of fertility which may follow in the future.
Three top judges, Dame Victoria Sharp – sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Mrs Justice Lieven said the courts must weigh up whether the child can go ahead with the treatment, but said it is “very doubtful” 14 and 15-year olds will now be able to give consent and “highly unlikely” 13-year-olds could satisfy the test.
The ruling comes after a legal challenge by Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers when she was 16 before “detransitioning”, and the mother of a 16-year-old autistic girl who is currently on the waiting list for treatment.
The case was brought against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust,
which said it was “disappointed” but immediately suspended such referrals for under-16s.

The NHS said it “welcomed the clarity” the ruling would bring.
One of the claimants, Keira Bell, said she was “delighted” by the judgment.

Christian school worker takes her dismissal fight to tribunal

A Christian school assistant who was sacked for posting on Facebook about plans to teach LGBT relationships in primary schools is taking her case to an employment tribunal.

Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire last year.

The mother-of-two shared and commented on Facebook posts which raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school.

Mrs Higgs, who was posting on Facebook under her maiden name, shared two posts in October 2018.

In one Facebook post, Mrs Higgs urged people to sign an online petition against making relationships education mandatory.

In another she shared an article about the rise of transgender ideology in children’s books in American schools.

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Mrs Higgs’s case at the employment tribunal, which is starting in Bristol on Monday.

Lawyers representing Mrs Higgs will argue that her sacking breached her freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Ahead of the hearing, Mrs Higgs said: “Nothing could have prepared me for what happened. I was told that the reasons behind my sacking were nothing to do with my Christian beliefs – it had everything to do with my Christian beliefs.

“The whole experience broke my heart. I have been punished for sharing concerns about relationships and sex education.

“My number one concern has always been the effect that learning about sex and gender in school will have on children at such a young age. I have not discriminated against anyone.

“Through my case I want there to be renewed freedom for others, especially Christians, to express their beliefs and opinions without fear of losing their jobs.”

by Rod Minchin

RSE Victory for Parental Rights – for now

Roger Kiska on the government’s announcement that schools can delay their introduction of Relationships and Sex Education
September 2020 is just around the corner, at which time the government’s new regulations on Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will take force. If you are not yet familiar with the new regulations, Christian Concern has put together this video to guide you through what will be taught and what may be taught. The regulations will apply to all schools in England, regardless of whether your child’s school is maintained or independent.
However, one of the fundamental statutory requirements put in place under the regulations to safeguard parental rights is that schools must consult parents when drafting their school’s RSE policy, which includes informing parents of what is to be taught their children. To be clear, while the Department for Education, in guidance it released in October 2019 refers to this process as ‘parental engagement’, the law could not be any more clear that no less than consultation should take place. This means that your ability to give feedback should be robust and that the school must give due regard to the views of parents during the consultation process. Anything less would be a breach of the school’s statutory duty towards your rights.
Department for Education Delays Start of RSE
In a victory for parental rights, the Department for Education has now announced that while the new regulations making RSE compulsory will still take effect from September 2020, schools will nevertheless be able to delay introducing it into their pupils until Summer term 2021. The Department made their decision because of the impact of the coronavirus restrictions on education and how it has hampered the ability of schools to consult parents about their RSE policies.
We therefore encourage parents to write their children’s schools asking when those consultations will take place; letting them know that you support a delayed roll out of RSE given the short time frame between now and September.
The team at the Christian Legal Centre has put together the following draft letter to assist parents in engaging with their schools:

Dear [Headteacher Name],
I write this letter on behalf of my son/daughter, [child’s name], in Year [R-6].
I understand that from September 2020, new regulations requiring that relationships education be taught in the school will take force but that schools may delay beginning RSE until the summer term of 2021 as per the announcement of the Department for Education on 04 June 2020.
I am also aware that as a statutory pre-condition to relationships education being taught my child, the school must consult with parents as to the contents of the school’s RSE policy and what it intends to teach my child.
Would you please let me know when that consultation will be taking place and what materials will be used as part of the teaching of relationships education?
I am aware that time is of the essence because of how close we are to September 2020. Given the potential impact of how and what will be taught as part of relationships education on the manner in which I choose to raise my child in accordance with my Christian faith, I would urge the school to take the extension granted by the Department for Education to fully assess the needs of parents and ensure a robust consultation process.
Kind regards,
[Parent(s) name]

There is strength in numbers! Please act now for the benefit of our children.
Know Your Rights
As a helpful guide about your rights, it is important to note that schools do not have unfettered discretion in deciding on the content of RSE classes. In fact, schools are bound by numerous statutory requirements governing what and how they select material to be presented as part of RSE:
The material must be age appropriate [Section 34(3) of the Children and Social Welfare Act 2017];
The material must have due regard for the religious background of the pupils [also Section 34(3) of the Children and Social Welfare Act 2017];
The process in which the material is chosen and taught must respect the manner in which parents wish to raise their children in accordance with their own religious and philosophical convictions [Protocol 1, Article 2, European Convention on Human Rights];
The material cannot indoctrinate as to sensitive moral issues; i.e. any material chosen and the manner in which it is taught must be critical, objective and pluralistic [Kjeldsen, Busk Madsen and Pedersen v Denmark, Judgment, Merits, App No 5095/71 (A/23), [1976] ECHR 6, IHRL 15 (ECHR 1976), 7th December 1976, European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]];
The material, and the way it is selected must have due regard to the school’s public sector equality duty to promote good relations among those with different protected characteristics, meaning that the school must have due regard not to cause offense or discord to parents of a faith background [Section 149(1)(c) Equality Act 2010];
Schools must consult with parents when drafting and amending their RSE policies [Section 80B(3) Education Act 2002; Section 2A(f) Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014];
Regard must be given to the principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with their parents’ wishes [Section 9, Education Act 1996];
The pursuit or promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject is forbidden [Section 406, Education Act 1996].
LGBT elements are not required to be taught as part of Primary school Relationships Education [Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, Parliamentary Question Period 25 June 2019].

Christian Concern

Relationship Sex Education lessons in primary schools are being reviewed amid complaints.

There are growing concerns with guidance given for Relationship Sex Education “RSE”.
Kent and Barnsley councils are withdrawing on transgender issues in schools. In an email exchange with a concerned citizen, TEP’s Gille Heath said:
“In response to questions raised as to the legality of the Guidance, this was taken down on 15 May and is now under review.”

Last week, Shropshire County Council withdrew its own controversial guidance on transgenderism for schools and colleges and asked them to stop using the advice.
The document, ‘Guidance for schools and colleges on transgender and supporting transgender pupils’, said that pupils should have the “right” to use the toilets which match their so-called gender identity,
and should be allowed to access the changing rooms of the opposite sex.

Earlier this month, Oxfordshire Council’s ‘Trans Inclusion Toolkit for Schools 2019’ was also withdrawn amid pressure from parents and an impending court case.
In March, lawyers representing Warwickshire County Council told The Christian Institute that it was dropping its explicit and misleading All About Me programme following the Institute’s threat of legal action.

The Minister for Equalites and Women, Elizabeth Truss, Speaks

The Minister for Women and Equalities has confirmed that single-sex spaces will be protected when any changes are made to gender recognition law.

Liz Truss MP was responding to a letter from Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, who had raised concerns about the distortion of the “traditional rights to privacy, dignity, personal identity and honour” of women and girls.
The Equalities Office is set to outline its plans for changes to the law in the summer, following a consultation which took place in 2018 but it has faced a number of delays because it has proven “divisive”.

‘Clear message’
In her response, Truss wrote: “I am grateful to you for raising your concerns. I have made my commitment to protecting single sex spaces for women and girls clear.
“As part of this work I will ensure that Government guidance gives a clear message to service providers, schools and others, putting their ability to provide single sex spaces beyond doubt.
“I will be able to say more about this important issue when I publish the Government’s response to the Gender Recognition Act consultation in the summer.”

Irreversible treatments
Last month, Truss announced several changes to gender law, including restricting irreversible treatments for under-18s, to mixed response.
She suggested that under-18s may soon be prevented from having sex-change surgery, that single-sex spaces would be protected, and that transgender adults should be free “to lead their lives as they see fit”, but did not provide any detail on how the Government would proceed.

10-year-old girl suspended for asking to be exempted from LGBT school lesson

Kaysey

LONDON, July 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A 10-year-old who was suspended from school for a week after asking her teacher permission to be excused from participating in a “Pride Month” LGBT lesson has gone on the record to explain the real dangers of the invasion of LGBT ideology in her school.

“Before anybody knew what LGBT meant, everybody knew what gender they were,” explained Kaysey, who, along with her classmate, Farrell, was suspended from the Heavers Farmer Primary School, located in Croydon, South London.

“But now people are confused,” continued the precocious 10-year-old, “and they’re saying that they’re bisexual and trans because they’re confused.”

“Before this happened, they were completely confident of who they were but now they’re not,” she added.

“It’s really affecting other kids,” explained Kaysey, “because now they’re losing confidence in [them]selves and looking at [them]selves and asking, ‘Why am I this person? Why can’t I be someone else?’”

“Before all this happened, people knew who they were,” said Kaysey. “School children are now facing the choice of what gender they are by the age of four.”

Teacher reported to school authorities

Susan Papas, the head of Heavers Farmer Primary School, Croydon, South London, who banned the children from the school for five days for alleged anti-LGBT comments, has been reported to the local authorities for what amounts to an unlawful act.

Christian Concern, an advocacy group seeking to restore the United Kingdom to the Christian faith, recounts the incident that led to the two students’ suspension:

On June 20, Farrell, sitting next to his friend Kaysey in class, asked his year 5 class teacher, “Sir, please may I not take part in this lesson?” when the teacher handed out LGBT material for colouring. The teacher refused permission saying that the LGBT lesson was part of the curriculum.

After class, the form teacher is said to have accused Farrell of using “homophobic language” for allegedly saying, “LGBT sucks and LGBT’s dumb,” which the child denies.

Farrell, who was sitting with female pupil Kasey says he is a Christian and told a “visitor teacher” he did not “accept LGBT” because of his religion.

The teacher asked the two children, “Do you want them to die?” “We said no,” Farrell replied. If, however, they went back to their countries, they would be punished for being gay, Farrell told the teacher.

The teacher asked Farrell where he was from. Farrell said he was of “African Jamaican” heritage, and because there “everybody is Christian and Catholic, so they don’t accept LGBT.”

Later, Ms Papas shouted at the two children in front of the class, according to Kaysey. “How dare you? You are a disappointment to the school,” Papas told the two children outside the classroom.

Papas then put the children in different rooms and asked Kasey [sic]: “How dare you say that you want to kill LGBT people?” Kasey [sic] replied: “I didn’t say kill.” Papas then shouted at her and said, “Yes, you did, and don’t lie.”

Kaysey, a pentecostal Christian, says she was kept in detention for five hours from 10am to 3pm.

Kaysey’s and Farrell’s version of the story, which differs widely from what their teacher and the head of their school alleged, has been corroborated by their classmates.

Court banned me from teaching son basic rules for boys’ – father of 7yo slated for transition

Jeff Younger

Jeff Younger, who is locked in a court battle with his ex-wife over whether their son should undergo transition to a girl, says a court order bans him from discussing things like religion or the need to be respectful to girls.

Jeff and his former spouse Anne Georgulas are trying to resolve a parental dispute over their son, James. Anne insists that James identifies as a girl, calls him Luna, and envisions hormone therapy and eventually sex-change surgery in the future. Jeff rejects the idea and says his son is perfectly comfortable being a boy in his presence. The pair are fighting a legal battle, with a court temporarily ordering Jeff not to impose a male identity on the child.

The order forbids Jeff from calling his son James in front of anyone who knows him as a girl, and this significantly limits what they can do together, he told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze.

“Basically I can’t go to a school. I keep him away from any friends he might have at school that know him as a girl, and at my home he’s known as James and I use male pronouns. What I’m prohibited from doing right now is trying to convince him that he’s actually a boy,” he said.

The court’s ruling means that Jeff, who is a religious Orthodox Christian, has to be careful when discussing his faith with his son, he said. He is also cautious about teaching James how to behave decently, so that his words cannot be interpreted as imposing a male gender identity.

“I’m even a little trepidatious about reading the Book of Genesis as we go through our Bible readings after Pascha,” he said. “So, I’ve had a lot of trouble communicating with him on religious issues and on basic things that you’d have to teach boys, issues around self-control: how they should deal with women, older women, being respectful to females of their peer group.”

It’s very difficult for me to figure out how to do this without violating that order.

Jeff said James was misdiagnosed with gender dysphoria and simply wants the approval of both his parents.

“The court asked us to take them to social services and let the boys express their preferences,” Jeff said. “And what James said was: he wants to be a girl at his mom’s home and a boy at his dad’s home. He basically wants both his parents to love him.”

Watch the full video here