The government has admitted that the Education Secretary has not met with a single LGBT+ organisation about the forthcoming guidance it intends to provide schools on transgender-related issues.

On 5th September, Nadia Whittome, the Labour MP for Nottingham East tabled a Written Parliamentary Question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many meetings she has had with which LGBT+ organisations on transgender guidance for schools in the last 12 months.”

Last Friday, Schools Minister Nick Gibb, responded on behalf of the Education Secretary:

The Secretary of State has not met any lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations directly to discuss the guidance, but the Department is keen to consider the full range of views and will be undertaking a public consultation on the draft guidance prior to publication.

“During the consultation period, the Department plans to engage with a range of interested organisations, including organisations that support the LGBT community.”

Six months ago, in March of this year, the Prime Minister announced that the government intended to provide schools guidance on trans-related issues by the summer term – a deadline that it has now missed. Since then, there have been a number of briefings to the press about what the draft guidance contains and of disagreements between ministers.

Despite this, the Education Secretary has not seen fit to meet with any LGBT+ organisations to discuss their views on what the guidance should contain, even though it will directly affect young trans people.

Commenting on the government’s response to her Parliamentary Question, the MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome said:

“This guidance could have huge implications for the safety and wellbeing of young trans people. If the government cared about this, it would have met with LGBT+ organisations early in the process of drafting this guidance to ensure it gets it right. It is frankly insulting that the Education Secretary has been preparing this guidance for at least six months and hasn’t met even once with a single LGBT+ organisation. 

“The government has given up pretending it cares about LGBT+ people – from this guidance, to dropping the conversion therapy ban, to appalling remarks about LGBT+ refugees, our community is being treated as collateral damage in its vile and dangerous culture war.”