School programme ‘imposes gender ideology’, says feminist group

A feminist group has raised fears that ‘pledge packs’ for schools may lead to the imposition of gender ideology on children. Gender ideology teaches that a person’s self-declared gender, including that of children, can be totally independent of their biological sex.

The packs will initially be sent to 22 secondary schools by Dublin Comhairle na nÓg — Dublin city council’s youth council — and contain a pledge inviting staff and students to “provide a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students to communicate their issues”.

Laoise Uí Aodha de Brun, founder of ‘The Countess’, said that although taking the pledge would be optional for each school and individual student, the introduction of the packs would create a “coercive” atmosphere in which conforming to “gender ideology” would become the norm.

“Even back in the days of the Pioneer Pledge, when children took their confirmation at school, that was not mandatory. But I remember well the social pressure to stand up and to pledge. And, in fact, everyone did because it was the ‘done thing’. Just because this is being dressed up as progressive, it’s not progressive when anyone who is awake and thinking critically can see that gender identity ideology is very harmful to women, children, and same-sex attracted people,” she said.

The new pledge asks students and staff to participate in “training in queer sexual health”, and “understanding LGBTQIA+ issues”. It also requests that schools review their anti-bullying policies, and add a section on gay and trans students.

The packs will be sent to the schools in the week beginning September 20. Twenty-six schools were asked to be involved, but four declined.