‘Boys should be free to wear tutus and tiaras’ – Church of England

The Church of England has issued transphobic bullying guidance, saying that pupils should be free to explore “who they might be”

Primary schoolchildren should feel free to dress up in a tiara or a superhero cloak without expecting comment from teachers or pupils, the Church of England has said in new bullying guidance issued to its schools.

“We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem,” wrote Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in the report’s foreword. Those at LGBT charity Stonewall said they hoped the guidance would help prevent bullying.

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The advice comes as polling for the Anti-Bullying Alliance showed that two in five children “hide aspects of themselves” for fear of being bullied. Of 1,600 eight to 16-year-olds questioned for this week’s Anti-Bullying Week, almost two-thirds had witnessed people being bullied for being “different”, over half feared being seen as different, and almost a quarter said they would change the way they look to conform.

We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem

Welby said sexual orientation should never be the grounds for bullying or prejudice, adding that “significant progress” had been made by the Church of England since homophobic bullying guidance was issued in 2014. The report, Valuing All God’s Children, said children should be able to play with “the many cloaks of identity” without being labelled or bullied.

Nursery and primary school in particular is a time of “creative exploration”, it said, where young people should be able to pick a tutu, tiara and heels – or a helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak – “without expectation or comment”.

Image: Mariana Yarritu

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