The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has called for compulsory ‘gender diversity’ training for sixth form college and further education (FE) teachers, warning staff who refer to ‘non-binary’ persons using ‘incorrect’ pronouns could face legal action.
ATL Wales president Leslie Tipping said mandatory training on gender identity issues is long overdue, lamenting that staff were confused over pronouns.
“Lecturers could be put in quite an embarrassing position if they address someone as a he who is a she or neither a he or a she,” said the union boss — warning that without proper training, staff “could end up with legal issues”.
Declaring that students who identify as transgender or ‘non-binary’ — the latter status referring to people who claim to be neither male nor female — have “entitlements”, the union boss said compulsory training would help FE staff “understand legalities.”
Without mandatory training, Ms Tipping lamented that it is only ‘pro-active’ colleges which are making staff undergo instruction in transgender identity politics.
LGBT+ officer for NUS Wales Jasper Williams said sixth form college staff “struggled” when the neuropsychology student declared transgender status.
“One [sixth form] teacher couldn’t get anything that wasn’t male or female,” Williams told BBC News.
“He made comments making it sound like non-binary genders made up and like a fantasy idea.
“The other teachers were fine but they struggled with it.”
The Bangor University student said that while the college was led by a “liberal and encouraging” head teacher, staff “messed up a lot” with regards to the etiquette demanded by LGBT activists.
“If they were using someone as an example they’d say he and then change to she and get confused with what they should be using.
“There was a massive lack of education on that part,” WIlliams bemoaned.
Facilities were also an issue for transgender and ‘non-binary’ students, according to the LGBT activist, bemoaning: “Toilets were very gendered apart from the disabled on the ground floor which I didn’t feel comfortable using.”
BBC Wales contacted the 14 FE colleges in Wales to ask what “gender diversity” training they off to staff, to which three responded — all reporting an increase in the number of students claiming transgender, ‘non-binary’ or ‘genderfluid’ status.
Cardiff and Vale College said all members of staff have received training which included “protected characteristics”, with “more detailed, bespoke training” given to teachers whose subjects attract a large number of “gender diverse” students. The college it added it was working with Trans Form Cymru to create a more detailed action plan and more training.
Coleg Cambria reported that all front line staff were given training delivered by the transgender community, and that each college site has gender neutral toilets.