Photo by Luke Dray
Artillery Row

Revolving door ideologues

Publicly disowned last year, Equaliteach is now back — and receiving more taxpayer funds.

As part of “anti-bullying week”, the Department of Education recently announced that it had handed a new round of funding, worth over £1 million, to five organisations to help schools and colleges tackle bullying. One of the organisations was Equaliteach, an outfit whose output was publicly disowned last year by Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss.

Despite this public putdown, a parliamentary question (tabled by Conservative MP Tim Loughton) now reveals that Equaliteach will receive a further £163,765 from the public purse for work to be completed over a 7 month period. Nice work if you can get it.

Equaliteach introduced primary school children to bodily disassociation

Last year Equaliteach produced a document “Free to Be” which, as soon as she became aware of the material, Liz Truss openly condemned. She declared, “This document was not approved by government. It does not reflect government policy. The GEO logo should not be on it and I have asked for it to be removed.”

Her reaction was not surprising. The document introduced primary school children to bodily disassociation via the concept of “gender identity”: “Someone’s innate psychological understanding of themselves as either a man, woman or another identity beyond the man-woman binary [which] may or may not align with their biological sex.” Cisgender? “A term used to describe people whose biological sex is aligned with their gender identity.”

Equaliteach taught primary school children about confusing new pronouns: “Some people are more comfortable using gender-neutral pronouns such as they/their or ze/zir.”

Equaliteach told primary school teachers that confused young boys should be allowed into girls’ changing rooms: “transgender young people should have access to the changing room that corresponds to their gender identity.”

It told teachers that they could keep secrets from parents. If a primary school child discloses their gender identity, Free to Be assures educators: “There is no duty to inform the parents/carers… the duty of care is to the young person and it is their choice when or whether to come out to their parents/carer.” It goes further: “If the child is not out at home, care must be taken to ensure that interactions with parents/carers and documents sent home do not use the child’s preferred name.”

In fairness to Equaliteach, the Government Equalities Office had paid it to produce this “anti-bullying” material, with funding signed off by one of the gender-ideology-enamoured Conservative Equalities Ministers who preceded Liz Truss.

No wonder Truss felt compelled to speak out, even if it exposed her party’s carelessness

Truss might have been tempted to avoid drawing attention to her predecessor’s excesses with taxpayer funds and anti-science ideology. But Equaliteach crossed the line by smearing groups established to protect the rights of women and children. Their crime was nothing less than arguing for caution in the promotion of gender identity ideology to school children. In their GEO-commissioned output, under a red “Beware!” sign, Equaliteach warned, “sometimes anti-LGBT+ groups create resources with the aim of undermining rights for LGBT+ people. Such a resource has been created by a group known as ‘Transgender Trend’… It is advised to ignore any resources or other communications from this group.” Under the same Beware! sign: “The organisations Women’s Place UK and Fair Play for Women have also issued guidance which is inaccurate and confusing about toilet provision in schools.”

Disgraceful and slanderous no wonder Truss felt compelled to speak out, even if it exposed her Conservative predecessors’ conformity to fashionable ideology and carelessness with taxpayer funds.

Did Equaliteach learn anything from this episode? Seemingly not it still makes this material available to schools and free-to-download, with the slurring of Transgender Trend, Women’s Place UK and Fair Play for Women modified but intact.

What happened to proper due diligence by government departments and Conservative Ministers? When the Foreign Office joined the Stonewall Diversity Champions scheme without Ministerial approval and then, more recently, invited CEO Nancy Kelley to an event despite Liz Truss’s well-known public disapproval of the organisation’s schemes, a Whitehall source said: “It shows there are a number of officials at FCDO who consider themselves fundamentally unaccountable to ministers.” Another said: “For FCDO officials to covertly sign off taxpayer funds subsidising a controversial lobby group mired in constant rows is negligent at best and, at worst, conniving.”

Similar questions now need to be asked of the Department of Education. Why is it still funding an organisation which has been publicly rebuked by Liz Truss? Unaccountable or conniving? Did Schools Minister Will Quince sign off the funding choice, despite knowing the history of Equaliteach? How can he justify this? If he did not know the history, it is further evidence that the Conservatives have an inadequate grip on their officials and departments. Policy and funding decisions too often reflect the sometimes pernicious priorities of lobby groups, leaving democracy out of the loop.

As a result of this new round of funding, Equaliteach will now deliver further “anti-bullying” training “to at least 80 schools per year”.  Who will ensure that none of the new material, produced by Equaliteach and delivered to the classroom, promotes gender ideology to school children? Who will now protect children from concluding, via funding authorised by the Conservative Government, that they were born in the wrong body?

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