Last weekend an audio recording emerged of a 13-year-old girl being called ‘despicable’ by her teacher at a school, run by a Church of England trust, in East Sussex for refusing to respect a classmate’s decision to identify as a cat. The teacher told her she would report her to a senior colleague and she would no longer be welcome at the school if she continued to express the view that ‘if you have a vagina you’re a girl and if you have a penis you’re a boy’.
The Department for Education (DfE) is due to publish draft guidance next week advising schools how to deal with the explosion of children identifying as trans and, judging from a sneak preview in the Sun, it looks quite robust. Schools will be banned from helping children change gender without their parents’ consent, no one can be compelled to use a child’s preferred gender pronouns and, for reasons of fairness, trans-identifying pupils won’t be allowed to participate in competitive sport. But there will be nothing in the guidance about how schools should cope with ‘furries’ – children who identify as animals.
My first thought on hearing about this bizarre subculture was that the kids must be doing it to ridicule woke teachers. After all, if the ‘correct’ approach when faced with a child identifying as a member of the opposite sex is to endorse their self-diagnosis, then schools are bound to adopt the same ‘affirmative’ attitude when children identify as cats or dogs. That seems to be the trap the teacher in East Sussex has fallen into.
But was it all an elaborate hoax? A recent story in the Telegraph about ‘furries’ suggests not.