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Sex, gender and schools: seminar open for booking (Tuesday June 7th 5.30-7.30pm)

We’re delighted to announce that the long-postponed seminar on sex, gender and schools is now open for bookings. We look forward to welcoming you to the University of Edinburgh campus, whatever your views on the subject matter, or whether you’re just curious to learn more. Please use this Eventbrite link for bookings:
Feminist educators have spent decades considering how to challenge gender stereotyping in schools, and how to make schools more supportive places for gender non-conforming pupils. The recent unprecedented increase in numbers of children and young people (especially girls) identifying as transgender has brought issues around gender and education into the spotlight, and many schools have turned to government-funded lobby groups for guidance on how to respond. The interim report of the NHS England-commissioned Cass Review recently noted that “gender expression” is widely regarded as complex, and forged in the “interaction between biological, cultural, social and psychological factors”. And yet the Scottish Government’s non-statutory guidance for schools, and the advice frequently given to teachers by lobby groups, is based on a more simplistic view, that children and young people asserting a transgender identity are expressing an inner and authentic truth. This seminar will use insights from feminist theory to explore and analyse the environment in which children and young people come to identify as transgender, and to consider how gender is (and could be) framed in the school curriculum. We will examine how discussion has been closed down, including in University departments of education, and invite audience members to be part of re-opening informed, critical and evidence-based dialogue.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, Director, Transgender Trend: “From Tumblr to TikTok – The Gender Identity Generation
Professor Michele Moore: “Dare to Say: Gender Identity Ideology is Dangerous in Schools”
Dr Shereen Benjamin, University of Edinburgh: “Gender In and Beyond the School Curriculum”


We will be releasing tickets on a phased basis: please add your name to the waiting list if prompted to do so, as we expect to release more tickets in due course.
Everyone is welcome to this seminar, and it is likely to be especially relevant to teachers and other education professionals, policy-makers, parents, academics and students of education. There will be plenty of time for discussion from the floor: we encourage respectful discussion of different viewpoints, and we ask attendees to observe the University of Edinburgh’s Dignity and Respect Policy.

4 replies to “Sex, gender and schools: seminar open for booking (Tuesday June 7th 5.30-7.30pm)”

  1. Csweet says:

    Will the event be livestreamed or recorded?

  2. sbenjami says:

    We’re not planning to livestream, but we’ll record the event and make it available afterwards.

  3. Sergio says:

    “We will examine how discussion has been closed down” Has it though? As I can see, gender critical folk are anything but shut down- see this event, or more importatnly from Westminster government plans to exclude trans people from the ban on conversion therapy. Seeing the speakers and the blurb, there is no discussion in this event, just one side of the debate.

    1. sbenjami says:

      Thanks, Sergio. You might want to read our earlier post on the history of this event, which has been almost three years in the planning. That’s certainly unprecedented in my experience – and had EAFAF not been in existence, the event would almost certainly not be going ahead. I’ve never known an event face so many barriers during my time at this university. Meanwhile public engagement events of all kinds platforming gender identity theory uncritically have gone ahead at UoE. In the year leading up to lockdown I counted 12 such events, some of them quite significant in scale (one was a 2-day conference). By contrast, just one event platforming gender critical speakers went ahead, a 90-minute discussion panel in June 2019. There have been several public UoE online events since the start of lockdown platforming gender-identity theory uncritically (I haven’t attempted to count them). As far as I’m aware, there have been none platforming gender critical views.

      If you read the history of this event, you’ll see that the organisers originally tried to platform diverse views – LGBT Youth Scotland, Scottish Trans Alliance, and the UoE Staff Pride Network (SPN) were all invited to provide speakers but declined. After this event was postponed because it was targeted, SPN organised an event of their own on schools, which platformed gender-identity theory uncritically. No gender critical speakers were platformed, and there was no attempt to engage with any gender critical views – it was an in-person event, but questions and comments from the audience had to be sent electronically to the event chair, who curated them carefully so that no alternative views could be aired. We won’t do that – all are welcome to attend this event, and we won’t attempt to prevent anyone from speaking whatever their views, so long as they’re expressed respectfully, according to the usual conventions of academic discussion and as reflected in the University’s Dignity and Respect Policy.

      It seems we’re still some way off from being able to achieve what the organisers of this event initially wanted – a panel of speakers with diverse views, all examining the evidence base together with the intention of identifying the best possible approaches for schools, pupils and teachers. It’s not the gender-critical ‘side’ who are preventing this from happening.

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