Media Release 29 May 2017
Family First NZ says that new guidelines being pushed by the PPTA in schools are not inclusive, they are exclusive, and most schools will continue with business as usual focusing on bullying and mental health issues experienced by all school students.
“Schools should be a ‘safe and affirming environment’ for all students and most schools are achieving this. The fact that the PPTA are pushing this “diverse sexualities and genders” agenda should concern all parents,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Schools are keen to deal with the bullying issue but they are taking a full school community approach. The PPTA guidelines ignore the far greater proportion of students who are bullied for the more common reasons of body image, racial background, disabilities, and academic success or failure. And of course the major prevalence of cyber-bullying.”
“Unfortunately, overweight students, students with acne or a speech impediment or a physical disability, or who are struggling academically, or students from a different culture don’t have a PPTA-sponsored ‘lobby group’. Their cause is not politically sexy enough.”
“But what is most ironic in all of this is that any student that doesn’t buy in to the group-think that is expected and dictated, even if it doesn’t affect the way they relate with other students, will immediately be bullied themselves with terms such as ‘homophobic’, ‘transphobic’, and ‘bigoted.’ Getting rid of all bullying is obviously not the key message of these groups,” says Mr McCoskrie.
The PPTA is also telling secondary schools that “Gender identity refers to what a person thinks of as their own gender, whether they think of themselves as a man or as a woman, irrespective of their biological sex”, and that schools must not only recognise these forms of diversity, but affirm them.
But a recently released report which analysed over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, concluded:
- The belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex – so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ – is not supported by scientific evidence.
- Only a minority of young people who express gender-atypical thoughts or behaviour will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children and young people should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
“It’s time that the PPTA placed priority on scientific evidence and sound medical practice, rather than bowing to ideology and special interest groups pushing an agenda. In the school setting, girls have a right to privacy, especially in situations where they feel particularly vulnerable, like a toilet, changing room or showers. Students have a fundamental right to bodily privacy. Is it safe for a young female student to be in an intimate facility with adolescent or older males? We say, no. We believe most parents would also say no.”
“The ‘gender agenda’ will simply lead to confusion in schools. Ignoring biology is not a proper solution. What young people really need is affirmation of their unique personality and appropriate treatment for their unhappiness and other presenting emotional issues, and appropriate support for parents – but definitely not gender confusion which denies biological reality,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Schools are being ‘bullied’ by the PPTA and other groups into adopting ‘gender identity’ policies around uniforms, toilets, changing rooms, and sports teams. Most schools want to act in the best interests of the whole school community without fear of breaching the law, but some are buckling under the pressure. And the toilet issue is just the tip of the iceberg. What about the issues of changing for school p.e., camp cabin arrangements, and participation in sports teams.”
“We have male and female changing rooms because of biology, not because of ‘gender identity’. Separate facilities reflect the fact that boys and girls have bodily differences; they are designed to protect privacy related to our bodies. We can figure that out – why can’t the PPTA? Obviously it’s also not safe for a boy to be playing in the girls’ rugby team,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Most schools will rightly ‘file’ these latest guidelines from the PPTA and continue business-as-usual catering for all students and their needs.”