A Christian couple who took their children out of a Church of England primary school because a classmate wanted to be recognised as transgender have been condemned for their hypocrisy.
Nigel and Sally Rowe are planning to mount a legal challenge against the school after their six-year-old son’s classmate was allowed to wear a dress.
The couple intend to educate the child and his eight-year-old brother, who attended the same school, at home.
The parents said that they “show love to anyone and everyone” but were concerned the situation would cause their child “confusion”.
They called for the young transgender boy to be helped in a “private space”, rather than in the public sphere of a school.
“It was the fact that he was identifying as a girl some days and as a boy other days, so the fact that he was dressing up in that manner and was trying to portray that particular gender on that day.
“So for us it was very difficult because it’s inconsistent,” the boys’ father told BBC 4′s Today programme on Monday.
“Our son is brought up in a way that there are boys and there are girls.”
The couple said they were concerned for the “welfare of all the children”, but dismissed claims that a lack of acceptance was one of the reasons for such high suicide and self harm rates among young transgender people.
“I don’t believe that’s the case. I don’t believe it’s that they’re not accepted... I don’t think people are bullying those children in any shape or form. I don’t think that’s the case,” Mr Rowe said.
“Many parents are concerned that they are going to have their son or daughter going to school and the next thing they know they’ve got children who are coming dressed in a different gender.”
He continued: “All the kids are equal but actually we have a social understanding that we have boys and we have girls. There’s a distinct difference.
“Not just in what you wear but also in our DNA, the way we are.. and we feel that there’s a political agenda that’s sort of pushing this and driving this.
“Remember, we are taking children that are six years of age. A six year old... doesn’t have the mental capacity to work out those kind of things at such a young age.”
The Christian couple were criticised for their hypocrisy on a number of levels, including their claims of politicising gender and their assertion that transgender children are not bullied.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry and Labour MP Stella Creasy were among those lambasting the parents, with Creasy accusing them of teaching their child to “hate’.
The couple were urged to teach their children about diversity.
And others pointed the hypocrisy of some of their other arguments.
The Stonewall School Report, released in June, showed that 64% of trans pupils are bullied for being LGBT at school.
The findings also revealed that one in ten trans pupils have received death threats, and more than two in five have tried to take their own lives.
The report reads: “While a growing number of schools are supporting their trans pupils, too many are not equipped to do so.
“It is vital that this is remedied as a matter of urgency.”