Bullying in Schools

The Church of England supports homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools shock! It would not admit that-

The church has just published “Valuing All God’s Children”, which says some lovely things. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said in the introduction, Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God. We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem. Church of England schools offer a community where everyone is a person known and loved by God, supported to know their intrinsic value. In the context, that means trans kids are accepted for who they are. The guidance, according to their press release, aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, they quote Stonewall’s research: 9% of trans pupils receive death threats at school. 46% of pupils hear transphobic language “frequently or often”. 84% of trans pupils have self-harmed, 45% have attempted suicide, and 68% of LGBT pupils report that school staff only “sometimes”, or never, challenge HBT language when they hear it.

In the early years context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration. 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 firefighter’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self-imagining.

Um. Not every child with gender diverse play is trans. The guidance is not clear on this. That should be general guidance, not guidance on HBT bullying. The language teachers use when they comment, praise or give instructions [should] 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. In our highly gendered society, everyone needs that protection, not just trans kids.

Tutus and tool belts, a memorable example, was picked out by the New York Times for its headline covering the matter. I hardly think the NYT would cover any other guidance by the Church of England to its schools, but trans stories, with the frisson of weirdness, get coverage.

The Daily Mail rushed to a transphobic nutcase, or “conservative Evangelical”. What would she say? These rules are unkind, unloving and lacking in compassion. We are all against bullying, but the church is using these guidelines to pursue an agenda that runs counter to the church’s teaching. We are getting to the point where if you are not careful, the slightest slip from the correct agenda in a Church of England school will get you punished. The anti-bullying agenda is aimed against people who step out of line — the anti-bullies are becoming the bullies. That is, she wants to stand up for children and adults who would enforce restrictive gender norms, and deny we are “made in the image of God”, even by mockery, taunts and bullying. She gets reported in the Daily Mail and NYT.

Grassroots Christians, including teachers and school staff, have HBT views on Christian Doctrine, and are self-righteous about that, banding together to protect their right to bigotry. The Church’s report confirms that when it reports those statistics on bullying, teacher non-intervention, and self-harm. Possibly the Mail is looking for the controversy, in an attempt to make the story interest its readers, but it dredged up another homophobic windbag who said she and others long for clear and courageous biblical leadership, that is, they want bishops and press-releases to be as openly homophobic as they are. That bigot was recently on the Archbishop’s Council- the bigotry is at the top and throughout the church.

It is important that the church hierarchy says nice things, though perhaps they only do so to continue to get funding from the State. They could do more, but have not: We have not offered lesson plans or materials for physical, social, health and economic education (PSHE) or relationships and sex education (RSE), but the appendices do provide practical examples and templates for schools to use as they instigate anti-bullying policies and strategies.

Meanwhile, little girls are discouraged from playing with superhero capes, in case they are thought to be unfeminine. It’s insane.

The report pdf.

a male “radical feminist”

If you spent all your waking hours reading radical feminists on the net saying how awful trans are, you would barely scratch the surface of it. There are blogs and forums almost entirely dedicated to such outpourings. Kiwifarms, which laughs at the most extreme inhabitants of the hugboxes, now has a forum on such things, where I read “if a man feels so entitled to having society validate his fetishes and misogyny that he’d kill himself if he isn’t catered to, then his suicide would be a relief to others.” That’s us told: that we kill ourselves is no ground for easing up on the hatred, and so no suffering of ours is enough to make them relent. The following page of that forum becomes a debate on what a trans woman should undergo to allow us to use women’s loos, and whether anything is enough. When someone starts listing cross-dressing sex offenders and their offences, Kiwifarms becomes what it had been satirising. Fortunately, someone points that up by saying “I don’t understand why we don’t call them transvestites anymore”.

“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race”. That is a quote from Sally Miller Gearhart, first open lesbian to gain a tenure-track faculty position in the US, now often used to show how feminists are anti-men but useful for a lesbian in the 1970s to fight back against her erasure.

I agree that feminism has a right to anger– another article written by a man- especially this bit: Should feminists turn their anger into rage? Never. Rage is aimless, painful, pointless and ill-conceived. Should they turn it into a blazing passion and a welcome desire to make the world a better place? The answer is a resounding yes, and I’d argue that’s what most feminists do. I tend to feel undirected rage can often develop into righteous anger, but that is a quibble.

I get why personal remarks can be objectionable. Yesterday two women told me how pretty my dress was, and in one case I felt overpowered- and liked it. She expressed surprise that I did not know the flowers on my dress were hellebore. That pleasure I feel is at the heart of some women’s objections.

The answer has to come in empathy and the human encounter. There is the desire, say, to have a leg removed and perhaps never walk properly again, in a living human being. See the distress of the person with this unwanted leg. Because our desires make no sense- all humans, not just trans folk- reducing discourse to common-sense rational argument cannot fit human beings. Or at least, the desires that do make sense- a good career, a family, a house and pension fund- are less overwhelming than the ridiculous ones.

I accept women’s anger, though think it would be better directed against FGM, or restriction of reproductive rights, than against trans women. That might make a real difference to women’s lives, and in the case of trans women, the anger is often directed against the cis women who welcome and accept us.

But men who argue against accepting trans women have no such excuse. They are bullies who delight in bullying a weak marginalised group, for no purpose, and feel entitled by their male privilege. Someone angry because she feels forced into conventional femininity, disliking mine, has a reason. A man from male privilege disrespecting femininity is disrespecting a large proportion of the human race.

Monet, Poplars on the Epte

Bullying succeeds

Bullying works. That is why people do it.

The first letter the employer’s solicitor sends on receiving an employment tribunal claim is to the claimant, saying that the claim is without merit, but the employer will agree not to pursue costs against the claimant if the claimant agrees to drop the claim immediately. This is usual, whatever the merits of the claim. They seek to terrify the opponent into submission.

Bullying is applauded. I heard on the BBC that the gallery staff and security guards at the National Gallery had gone on strike, because their jobs had just been contracted out. The journalist commented that the unpopular outgoing director had been “doing his job”. Contracting out means steeply reducing wages and worsened working conditions. This is seen as normal, rather than doctrinaire extreme right.

Robert Peston’s programme Quelle Catastrophe! was billed as a report on the rise of the extreme right in France, but was the exact opposite. It was not an argument, but mockery of the French employment law code, which was portrayed as preventing French economic growth by preventing small businesses from expanding. The Front National wishes to reopen factories, for the benefit of the workers. That is a left wing policy, critiqued from an extreme-Right position which the BBC characterises as balanced.

In Britain, Nigel Farage appeals to the racists by calling for the repeal of race discrimination provisions in the Equality Act. He says British employers should be able to prefer British workers. The effect of this would be to erode the British workers’ rights, which is Farage’s real purpose.

This is not quite the #1000speak post envisaged: we were supposed to write of recovery from bullying. There may be uplifting tales of personal growth and increasing maturity and power on the link. But I have not recovered. I have not got over the bullying. Sometimes, as now, I am aware of futile, enervating anger and frustration.

More equal societies are healthier and happier. Now economic growth is the only aim, and all its proceeds must go to the wealthiest, and all services for others must be cut or extinguished, and schools must mould pupils in this ideology: and that is centrist, normal, obvious, rather than some insane Ayn Rand fantasy-

Here is the link to the 1000 voices speak for compassion posts on building from bullying.

Fortunately my inner voices are not bullying me as hard as they did.