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Boys should be free to wear tutus and tiaras, says Church of England

Nov 13, 2017 by

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Guidance for schools urges teachers to let children ‘play with the many cloaks of identity’ rather than conform to stereotypes

Boys should be free to choose to wear a tutu, tiara or heels, and girls to wear toolbelts and superhero capes, the Church of England has said in new guidance issued to its schools.

The advice also calls on teachers to avoid using labels that might alienate children’s behaviour “just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes”.

The updated guidance for its 4,700 schools, titled Valuing All God’s Children [pdf], follows advice issued three years ago that covered homophobic bullying. It has now been expanded to include transphobic and biphobic bullying.

The church advises that nursery and primary school should be a time of “creative exploration”, and that pupils should feel free to “try out the many cloaks of identity” and “explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision”.

In the guidance, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warns that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes “profound damage leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide”.

The advice adds: “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing-up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision.

“For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, toolbelt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.”

It adds: “Children should be afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence. They are in a ‘trying on’ stage of life, and not yet adult and so no labels need to be fixed. This should inform the language teachers use when they comment, praise or give instructions. It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences.”

Source: Boys should be free to wear tutus and tiaras, says Church of England | Society | The Guardian

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