If you don’t know who you fancy then you’re queer, schools tell children

Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh - Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh
Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh - Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh

Scottish children as young as 11 are being taught in school that they are “queer” if they do not yet know their sexual orientation, it has emerged.

Teaching materials at Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh’s top state school, also claim that there are three biological sexes and suggest that highly controversial concepts around sex and gender are facts.

A presentation prepared for classes in the first year of high school is now being "reviewed". It follows a backlash from parents who fear the lessons have been taking place without their knowledge for several years.

A separate “gender neutral language guide” prepared for staff at another Scottish school, Wick High in Caithness, tells staff not to use terms such as mother, brother or sister to avoid upsetting pupils who identify as trans.

The documents were obtained by The Telegraph amid growing concerns that disputed gender ideology theories backed by the SNP government are being inappropriately promoted in classrooms.

Confused about gender after lessons

Kate Forbes, one of the contenders to take over from Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister, admitted this week that she had been inundated with complaints from parents of children as young as four who had come home confused about their gender after lessons.

The Boroughmuir High presentation states that “queer” is a term “many people use when they are not sure what their sexual or romantic orientation is”. Sexual attraction does not begin for many children until their teens.

It tells children they are born as “one of three things, male, female or intersex” and “this is your biological sex”. Intersex is a term used to describe people with rare genetic conditions causing differences in sex development (DSDs) but it is not a distinct biological sex.

It also urges children to refer to each other as “they” if they are “not sure what gender someone identifies as”.

One parent said she was horrified to learn that the “nonsense” material had been used in a lesson for her child earlier this year.

“It makes sense to teach that there are gay, lesbian and bisexual people and that their relationships are just as loving and meaningful as anyone else’s,” she said.

“But we should not be teaching children that ideological statements are fact or clearly encouraging those who don’t know what they are yet to call themselves queer.

“To say there are three biological sexes is utter nonsense, to put it mildly. No person in history has even been born anything other than male or female, DSDs always affect a male or a female.”

In 2021, the SNP Government issued guidance to schools which told them to always “be affirming” if a child wanted to change gender at school and that parents should not always be told.

It has refused to withdraw the guidance despite impartial expert evidence in England emerging to suggest that taking an exclusively “affirming” approach could be harmful to some children.

Don't say 'girls be quiet'

The Wick High guide, which helped the school win an award this month from the lobby group LGBT Youth Scotland, tells teachers not to say things such as “girls be quiet” as one of the pupils “may be a trans male”.

It calls for terms such as Mx (a gender neutral title), sibling, parent or significant other to be used when discussing families or people, rather than “gendered” words such as sister, mother or father.

When talking about jobs, words like “refuse collector” rather than binman should be used, staff are told.

For Women Scotland, the campaign group, said it was receiving increasing reports from parents who had been left shocked and angry after discovering how gender issues were being taught to their children.

Trina Budge, a director with the group, said: “When our children are still catching up on missing lessons due to the pandemic it's quite disgraceful that valuable time is being spent trying to instil compelled speech and push activists' unscientific, inaccurate information about gender identity theory.

"We all need to question why, if this is so wonderful, is it being done behind parents’ backs?”

Boroughmuir High said the presentation had been put together from “a number of different resources” and, following “feedback” from parents, it was being reviewed.

A spokeswoman for Highland Council, which runs Wick High, said: “Highland schools follow national guidance regarding equality and diversity, the gender neutral language guide recently introduced at Wick High School provides flexibility in how the school recognises, supports and manages the needs of all pupils.”