'Genderbread Person' training for civil servants branded 'unscientific nonsense'

·5-min read
'Genderbread Person' training for civil servants branded 'unscientific nonsense'
'Genderbread Person' training for civil servants branded 'unscientific nonsense'

Civil servants are being given "Genderbread Person” presentations, The Telegraph has learnt, prompting fears that “unscientific nonsense” is being allowed to infiltrate the heart of Government.

The gingerbread-man-style diagram is in use across government departments to illustrate gender identity, sexual attraction and biological sex as sitting on a spectrum of zero to 100.

New trans-inclusion workshops are being run by a:gender, a trans and intersex group that has expanded from the Home Office to become a cross-government membership network.

It says it wants officials to go beyond current equality legislation and use “appropriate language/names/pronouns” and “challenge inappropriate language or behaviours”.

The Genderbread Person was shown in a video call session for around 180 civil servants in February, seen by The Telegraph and organised between a:gender and the Civil Service Race Forum. The graphic has also been displayed in other major government departments in diversity meetings.

It describes anatomical sex as “male-ness” or “female-ness”, a notion refuted by gender-critical academics who insist it is simply binary or could distort statistics. The graphic describes gender identity as “how you, in your head, experience and define your gender".

The revelation comes as public bodies have partnered with Global Butterflies, a little-known trans lobby group, which has also used the genderbread graphic in its guidance and urges employers to remove all gendered language from their policies.

This is despite Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, calling on Whitehall to cut ties with the controversial charity Stonewall. Feminists had criticised how taxpayers paid millions of pounds on training that was eroding sex-based rights, such as by opening women-only facilities to males and scrapping gendered words like "mother". This opened a rift between advisors in Downing Street over how to navigate the trans debate.

Now women’s rights campaigners fear that Whitehall is partnering with similarly controversial lobby groups in Stonewall’s place.

'Aggressively ideological and unscientific nonsense'

Bev Jackson, director of the Stonewall breakaway charity LGB Alliance, said: “It’s extraordinary that the civil service continues to forge relationships with lobby groups masquerading as training providers to promote aggressively ideological and unscientific nonsense.

“These lobby groups claim to be diversity and equality experts, but often misrepresent equalities law to undermine women’s rights and those of LGB people. What’s particularly galling is they often claim to represent LGB people, when they are actually undermining our rights.

“Our sexual orientation is protected in law yet these groups render sexual orientation meaningless by denying sex matters. The Government needs to stop funnelling taxpayers' money into these organisations. LGB Alliance calls for an urgent moratorium on all government spending on inclusivity training by outside organisations."

Global Butterflies was founded in 2015 by Rachel Reese, a trans woman. Its website lists as among its clients the Strategic Command, which manages joint responsibilities across the three armed services, as well as UK Parliament, British Transport Police and NHS Health Education England. It is not known how much, if anything, they have paid.

'Remove gender from all written communications'

In generic Global Butterflies training seen by The Telegraph, instructors urge employers to “remove gender from all your written communications...and policies” and warn that “we are in Gilead” if trans rights are not advocated. They suggest firms install gender-neutral lavatories, a stance shared by Stonewall but which some women reject, and "show your trans credentials" by supporting future trans legislation changes.

The Government Legal Department and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel worked with Global Butterflies last year to write a guide on “drafting gender-neutral legislation”. The document told legislators that the pronouns he/she should be swapped for “they”. It also advised “avoiding gender-specific nouns” such as chairman and waitress.

In a foreword to the guide, two directors from Global Butterflies wrote that “a significant percentage of the next generation of the workforce no longer sees gender as binary and expects to see a new and better approach to gender identity and expression in documentation.”

Maya Forstater, of the campaign group Sex Matters, said: "Government departments should be careful that the civil service isn't jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. When they leave Stonewall they are vulnerable to just carrying on with the same approach but with other organisations.

“What they should do is go back to basics - go back to following the law on discrimination and harassment, and not use this to imposing gender ideology on their staff.”

'Genderbread Person has many supporters'

A Global Butterflies spokesperson said it worked with "many inclusive organisations in all sectors of the UK, both private and public sector bodies". They said employees are urged to voluntarily add pronouns to emails and social media to demonstrate "allyship".

The spokesperson added: "We do use the Genderbread Person in some of our work. It has its challenges although it has helped countless attendees of our training sessions understand the uniqueness of each of us. Like any training tool it has its many supporters and a very few detractors."

The House of Commons said it paid for a session with Global Butterflies last year as part of Transgender Awareness Day but had no continual relationship.

The Ministry of Defence said it paid no money but held a panel discussion with Global Butterflies in 2019, adding it was "proud of all our LGBT+ military and civilian personnel”.

A:gender and British Transport Police did not respond to requests for comment, while the NHS and Government Legal Department declined to comment.

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