Parents accuse Church of England of child abuse after school shows 8-year-olds gender identity video
Parents are accusing the Church of England of child abuse after learning their primary school-aged children were subjected to a video that promotes the idea of being born in the wrong body.
Calvin and Nicola Watts of Kent in southeast England pulled their children from St Michael’s Church of England primary school when they discovered their 8-year-old was shown a video titled It Feels Good to be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity without their knowledge or consent, according to the United Kingdom-based watchdog group Christian Concern.
Read by Nana Ceecee — whose YouTube channel includes several videos of her reading books about child transgenderism, such asPrincessBoy and When Aidan Became a Brother — the book, authored by Theresa Thorn, tells the story of young Ruthie, who is a biological male described as a “transgender girl.”
Ruthie has a brother named Xavier, who the book describes as a “cis-gender boy.”
The book recounts how “Ruthie was five when she told her parents they had got her gender identity wrong,” while “Xavier was three and a half when he told his family he likes being a boy.”
One passage of the book reads as follows: “Your gender identity might not match what people thought you were when you were born. When you were born you couldn’t tell people who you were or how you felt. They looked at you and made a guess. Maybe they got it right, maybe they got it wrong.
“You might feel like your gender changes from day to day,” the book concludes.
When the parents learned about the lesson, they began reaching out to other parents and raised concerns that such content violated St. Michael’s safeguarding policy, which states that “all children…have a right to be heard and to have their wishes and feelings taken into account and all children regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion, sexual identity or orientation, have equal rights to protection.”
The parents also informed the head teacher at St. Michael’s and the chair of governors overseeing the school about their concerns for “the emotional and physical safety of their child,” saying they believed showing the video was a form of child abuse, adding that they “did not believe they could return their child to the school until the issues were properly addressed,” according to Christian Concern.
When they attempted to address the teacher who showed the video, they were reportedly “banned from trying to speak to the teacher,” Christian Concern said.
Other books, such asAnd Tango Makes Three, about two penguins who “create a non-traditional family,” were also promoted to students at St. Michael’s, the group said.
While the Church of England did not provide an immediate response to the parents, Calvin and Nicola Watts issued a joint statement saying they were “shocked and horrified” by their discovery.
Their statement read in part: “If you watch the Nana Ceecee video it can only be described as child abuse — it is unscientific, nothing to do with relationships and encourages the idea that 3-year-olds can declare themselves as nonbinary to their parents.
“Whether the showing of the video was politically partisan, or an ignorant mistake doesn’t matter — either way it was negligent.”
In response to parents’ concerns, Stuart Reeves, the chief executive of the Tenterden Trust, which oversees the school, pointed to the Church of England’s controversialValuing All God’s Children, which are its official guidelines for educating children on LGBT issues.
Reeves wrote: “In hindsight, and in view of the sensitive nature of the topic, it would have been better to have checked the suitability of the resource with the [head teacher]. This is something that will happen in the future.”
He also rejected the allegation that St. Michael’s is engaged in promoting gender fluidity: “With reference to the potential promotion of gender fluidity I have found no evidence to suggest that this is happening at the school.
“I have, however, found evidence of the school adhering to the guidance set out by the Department of Education and that of the Church of England in particular which mentions, very clearly, that our role as teachers is to ‘help young people to value and respect everyone as cherished and loved by God, regardless of gender identity or sexuality.”
But according to the Christian Legal Centre, showing such material violates official guidance from the U.K. which recommends — though does not prohibit — the use of “materials which suggest that non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity.”
Despite those guidelines, Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, called on the Church of England to respond to the allegations, calling the video “disturbing and utterly inappropriate.”
“The Church of England must urgently respond to the serious issues raised by the family,” William said. “It is unacceptable that children as young as eight should be exposed to such harmful material.”
Last month, the Anglican denomination defended its guidance for its 4,700 primary schools on LGBT issues, claiming that it doesn't allow students as young as 5 to self-identify as the opposite sex.
"This is simply false," reads a statement issued by The Church of England in response to Christian Concern's complaint that the denomination's guidance tells schools to affirm students' chosen gender identity as young as 5.
According to the CofE, the Valuing All God's Children guidance was first published in 2014 in response to research showing that "homophobic bullying was something which needed particular attention in Church schools." The document was rewritten in 2017 and updated again in 2019.
"Valuing All God's Children does not say that children as young as five should be affirmed if they want to identify as the opposite gender. It doesn't use the language of affirmation at all, anywhere," the denomination's statement reads. "This is a misrepresentation of a resource which is designed to help schools ensure all children are treated with the dignity they deserve."
Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com.