Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton, known as “the coolest state secondary in town”, has 76 pupils who do not fully identify with their biological sex.
40 pupils do not identify with “the gender they were assigned at birth” (their biological sex), and others identify as “gender-fluid”, in which your gender can supposedly change from one to another on a whim. All the pupils would be between the ages of 11 and 16. The staggering results were uncovered by Brighton and Hove City Council’s “Safe and Well at School Survey”.
Their headteacher Richard Bradford, said how “proud” he was about the “equalities and inclusion work” the school does:
We are proud of our diverse community and we work hard to support the needs of every child. When we support the students who do present as trans we listen to them and their parents and carers and wherever possible follow their lead. When a family approaches the school about a gender questioning issue we listen to their requests and support them in a way that is appropriate to the young person, family and wider school population. As a result of this support we are pleased that a number of trans students have successfully completed their secondary education with us.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour for the neighbouring Kempton and Peacehaven constituency, said it was “great to see schools are active in supporting students in their journey”:
No one should be pressured either way and to become something they do not believe they are. That means we must be supportive for those that choose a different gender that they are assigned at birth. There is of course a push back at the moment because when changes happen, it’s scary for a lot of people. The approach is to take those people with us on the journey and to show them the world is not going to change. We need to let people know that young men and women will not be forced into something they don’t want to be. Schools like Dorothy Stringer have demonstrated they show respect for everyone, and they have promoted safety and understanding.
Tatler has previously praised the school for its “liberal vibe” and for “having the perfect balance between work and fun”. This laissez-faire attitude to the students is not surprising given its location – the school falls within the constituency of Caroline Lucas, the UK’s only Green Party MP. Brighton is notorious for being a hotbed of leftist ideas and attitudes. The council was for a while under the control of the Green Party, leading to bin-bags piling up in the street through sheer mismanagement.
The school also runs awareness courses from the Allsorts Youth Project – a government and lottery funded organisation for “trans and gender questioning children” aged 11-15.
Polly Carmichael, Director of the NHS gender service for children, cast doubt on the idea that the children were all “born this way”:
Without a doubt there are some young people who are finding a community, friends and all sorts of things through joining a group who have an interest around gender. It’s probably the case that [some] are caught up in something rather than it being an expression of something that has arisen from within.
One Brighton teacher who wished to remain anonymous, told the Daily Mail that many teachers are worried about the situation, but that “nobody wants to speak up and get shot”.