Parents told their son, 6, may be transphobic over his ‘confusion’ about boy in dress

Sally and Nigel Rowe from the Isle of Wight are now launching a judicial challenge against the Department of Education over the Church of England primary school’s transgender guidelines

Sally and Nigel Rowe
The family say they strongly disagree with the school’s transgender guidelines because of their religion

The parents of a young boy say a primary school told them their son, 6, would be considered “transphobic” if he expressed confusion over a classmate’s gender.

Sally and Nigel Rowe received a letter from a Church of England primary school on the Isle of Wight informing them about their guidelines concerning transgender identities, The Times has reported.

The letter warned that students would be deemed “transphobic” if they didn’t “believe a transgender person is actually a ‘real’ female or male.”

Children would also be labeled as transphobic if they showed “discomfort” or did not “connect with someone based on their transgender status,” highlighting that this included behavior such as refusing to use a preferred name or pronouns.

The family lives on the Isle of Wight


Christian Concern)

The Rowe family have removed both of their sons from school and are challenging the Department of Education’s transgender guidelines, with a full hearing expected to occur in three to six months.

They first removed their older son from the school in 2015 after a classmate, who previously was known as a boy, began identifying as a girl and wore female clothes, which “confused” him.

Their younger son expressed similar confusion in 2017 when a gender-fluid pupil joined the school, alternating their appearance each day.

This prompted the Rowe family to raise the issue again, which is when they received the letter in question.

Nigel told The Times: “One of the main issues we struggled with in relation to the letter was that it said that if our six-year-old son did not recognize the other boy as a little girl or a little boy, then he would be considered transphobic.

“I don’t think that a six-year-old has the cognitive ability to work that out, especially if the child is gender-fluid.

“And the letter also said that we as parents would be considered to be transphobic if we didn’t accept that position.”

The Rowe family say they strongly disagree with the school’s transgender guidelines because of their evangelical Christian faith.

The Rowes now home school both of their children after their sons expressed confusion over their classmate’s gender


Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

The small community that the family is a part of on the Isle of Wight are not pleased with their ongoing dispute, Nigel said.

Mr Rowe said: “There was no way we could go back to the school. We weren’t welcome.

“And other schools here would have had problems with the fact that we were parents who had raised this issue.

“We felt it was a hostile environment. This is a very small community on the Isle of Wight.”

They say they previously had a good relationship with the school, and are now civil but distant as a result of the legal challenge.

Sally told The Times that they have faced abuse and rude comments from other families and parents, but claim there are many parents at the school who do support their views.

“But they have to whisper their support, that’s how scared they are of speaking out,” she says.

She added that one member of the school’s staff shouted at her out of home, saying “Shame on you.”

Nigel was very clear about his views, saying that he is aiming to challenge “a form of contagion in the school system,” that comes from the “rise in issues around transgenderism and children,” finding that people “have been afraid to criticize. “

He continued: “We need to get back to a reasonable standard of science and biology on this issue. There are men and women.

“Some people may feel that they are not male or female, but you will never genetically be the opposite sex.”

However, LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall writes on their website: “There is no right or wrong way to be trans, but what is clear is that it’s not something that’s a fad or a ‘lifestyle choice’ and that all trans people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. If you aren’t recognized as being the gender you know you are, it’s extremely damaging.”

The charity also highlights that “trans people in the UK face huge levels of abuse and inequality,” and argues in favor of gender-affirming guidelines in schools.

Stonewall said: “The fact that teachers, doctors, families and caregivers are talking about gender more is a good thing.

“It means that children are more empowered and more able to explore their identity as they grow up, as well as helping them understand and celebrate difference in others.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education told The Times: “We recognize that issues relating to gender identity can be complex and sensitive. Schools are best placed to work with parents, pupils and public services to decide what is best for individual children and what is best for all others in the school.”

The Department of Education is defending the judicial challenge.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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