A decision by a female-only school to stop referring to its pupils as “girls” to make trans students feel included has been branded “ridiculous.” Others claim it could even lead to mental health problems.
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in Manchester announced on Wednesday that it will ditch the term “girl” from its staff vocabulary in order to prevent any trans pupils from being misgendered.
The announcement has stirred public outcry, with some commentators arguing the policy would “rob” children of their identity. Others wondered what the school, founded specifically for girls, will now be called.
The school defended the policy, saying: “We are working to break ingrained habits in the way we speak… particularly referring to [students] collectively as girls,” adding that they “welcome and celebrate diversity.”
One local told RT that Altrincham’s decision is “ridiculous” as “girls are girls and boys are boys.”
Another woman said: “Too much attempt to move everything to gender-neutrality… I think it actually leads to more confusion rather than clarification.”
Chris McGovern, chairman of Campaign for Real Education, hit out at the top-performing girls’ school’s new approach, saying it is “extraordinary.”
“We are going to have more and more children with mental health problems who are confused and unhappy,” McGovern told RT.
“By all means support children that have a gender issue but don’t do it at the expense of the majority. Do not rob them of their gender identity. We only need to apply those basic principles of religions that we only treat other people how we wish to be treated and we solve the problem.
“We need to stop foisting, pushing adult neurosis on these children,” he added.
Altrincham was ranked sixth in the Sunday Times list of best-performing schools in the country, with all its pupils being awarded A-C grades in the 2016 GCSE exams.
Head Teacher Stephanie Gill told parents in a letter that the school’s new approach came as a response to “the challenges facing our students who are questioning their gender identity or who do not identify as girls.”
At the time of receiving notice of the change, one parent said: “When I opened the letter, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. It seems a bit potty to me.”
The parent, who requested to remain anonymous, added: “They are talking about diversity, but it’s a girls-only school. How does that work?”
The school has confirmed that the change will not apply to its name.