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Education magazine TES loses star columnist over transphobia row

Nick Duffy May 11, 2019
Natasha Devon resigned from TES over the feature

Natasha Devon resigned from TES over the feature

A columnist has resigned from education magazine TES to protest a front-page feature that listed a resource from anti-trans pressure group Transgender Trend.

TES had published a front-page feature in Friday’s (May 10) edition on how to deal with transgender issues in schools, which included a link to the resource from Transgender Trend.

The feature, written by teacher and ‘gender critical’ campaigner Debbie Hayton, evaluated a number of resources for schools and added: “In my view, it is the Transgender Trend guide that is most consistent with [safeguarding law].”

The print article included a list of resources that directed teachers to the Transgender Trend schools resource pack, which has been widely condemned by education experts and LGBT+ groups.

TES linked to guidance from anti-trans pressure group

Transgender Trend’s resource pack advises schools to “be cautious” about giving transgender children the right to dress and be referred to as their chosen gender, to avoid giving transgender children time off school to attend medical appointments, and to sort kids into PE groups based on “biological sex.”

The pressure group, which has no experience in education or trans issues, also advises teachers to tell classmates of transgender students that “you can’t actually change from a boy to a girl” and “what you think or feel can’t change you from a girl.”

Transgender Trend released a controversial 'School resource pack'
Transgender Trend released a controversial ‘School resource pack’

Their guidance warns teachers to “avoid publicly celebrating a transgender child as brave and courageous,” pushing the discredited claim that being transgender is a “social contagion.”

TES was originally known as the Times Educational Supplement, but is no longer associated with The Times newspaper, which has itself come under fire for its critical coverage of trans issues.

Columnist hits out at “publication which supports transphobia”

The feature has led to the resignation of TES columnist Natasha Devon, who is also founder of the Mental Health media charter.

In a statement on Twitter, Devon said she had been “concerned for some months” about TES‘ stance on trans issues.

She added: “TES‘ front page article this week contains promotion of an organisation called ‘Transgender Trend’, which supports conversion therapy for trans young people & suggests being trans is a mental disorder.

“It is my understanding that Transgender Trend pretends to be an organisation which gives teachers tools to support transgender young people but in fact does the opposite.

“I’ve had several people contact me to express their despair that TES would promote such an organisation.”

She added: “Stonewall has official condemned the TT and some of their past transphobia in schools has been reported in Schools Week.

“I cannot remain professionally associated with a publication which supports transphobia.”

A spokesperson for TES told PinkNews: “We stand by the content of the article, and we won’t comment directly on the specifics of Natasha’s resignation.”

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