Welsh schools and trans guidance – hung out to dry

Merched Cymru’s research shows how schools in Wales are compromising children’s safety and well being, and exposing themselves to the risk of legal challenge. In the absence of clear, legally compliant guidance from Welsh Government on making decisions regarding gender distressed or questioning pupils, schools are taking widely varying approaches, and often reaching for toolkits from transgender campaigning organisations that have already been withdrawn following legal challenge.

Download the full report:

“Hung Out To Dry: The impact of Welsh Government inaction on gender distressed children, their families and their schools.”

The report is based on Freedom of Information requests to a representative sample of schools across Wales, and one-to-one interviews with parents, teachers and other school staff. Continue reading “Welsh schools and trans guidance – hung out to dry”

A new Vale of Glamorgan Transgender Toolkit – still putting children at risk

While waiting for the long-delayed Welsh national guidance, the Vale of Glamorgan has pressed ahead with adopting its own transgender toolkit for schools. While it’s a huge improvement on the previous version, adopted in 2018, it still suggests that social transition (changing a child’s name, pronouns and access to opposite sex spaces and sports, and treating them as if they had changed sex) should be available on a case by case basis.

Parents and schools need to ask – who’s taking responsibility for such decisions and their consequences? Continue reading “A new Vale of Glamorgan Transgender Toolkit – still putting children at risk”

Mixed sex toilets in Wales’ schools – breaking the law

New and refurbished school buildings across Wales are imposing mixed sex toilet facilities on children. These toilets are not compliant with the law, and present considerable problems, particularly for girls.

Merched Cymru’s research shows that 15% of Welsh secondary schools surveyed have only mixed sex toilet provision, with many more having some or most of their provision in mixed sex blocks with shared handwashing facilities, which are not compliant with the regulations. Continue reading “Mixed sex toilets in Wales’ schools – breaking the law”

Joint statement by Merched Cymru and Women’s Rights Network Wales in response to statement by Welsh Women’s Aid

We are dismayed by the statement issued by Welsh Women’s Aid on 5 th October in response to unspecified comments by UK Government Ministers. Welsh Women’s Aid was established in 1978 with a specific focus on supporting local Women’s Aid Groups delivering single-sex services to
women experiencing domestic abuse and give those women a voice within the policy and law-making process.

It was set up by women, for women. It acknowledged that those services had to be exclusive of men, male adults, to allow vulnerable women and their children to break free from male violence and abuse and heal their trauma. Women’s Aid offered women a place of safety and sisterly support. This has worked for decades and has a strong evidence base. The unique value of single-sex services is recognised by domestic abuse survivors themselves, practitioners and by experts including the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls, Reem Alsalem. Continue reading “Joint statement by Merched Cymru and Women’s Rights Network Wales in response to statement by Welsh Women’s Aid”

Female swimmers need to feel safe

British Swimming’s Summer Championships made it into the mainstream media in July. Not because of the performances of any swimmers despite the fact that Imogen Clark’s 50m breaststroke time would have made finals in world aquatics in Japan. Instead, the pinnacle of a competitive development pathway was reported in mainstream media because of a now-common controversy. The achievements of swimmers – each of them having placed in the top 24 in their age group for each event – were ignored because a male official calling himself Anne Coombes had complained about being given the gender neutral changing room key at a Sheffield hotel despite presenting in women’s clothing. Continue reading “Female swimmers need to feel safe”