QueerAF Partnership: I’m a non-binary parent and after Brianna Ghey I’m scared for my trans kid

10 February 2024 | Inclusive Journalism Cymru

The devastating impact of bullying on trans kids is more evident than ever.  In a murder case that has captured media attention, and the LGBTQIA+ community – the judge ruled that transphobia played a part in the murder of transgender teen Brianna Ghey.

But this is not a single stand alone case. The culture in which these two teenagers thought it was justified to kill a transgender teenager is about to get cemented into schools right across the UK.

The government is currently consulting on its draft guidelines for how schools in England should treat trans pupils.

If implemented, they could force teachers to out trans children to parents and ban trans kids from some bathrooms and from sports. They’ll have a chilling effect on a generation of young people that being transgender is wrong, unreal, something to be ignored or hidden away.

Even though this is a devolved matter and the Welsh Government is coming up with it’s own guidance – this is particularly scary for me as a non-binary parent with a trans kid whose life will be forever changed if the guidance spreads across the UK.

The guidelines are, in a word, transphobic.

They repeat almost every single gender critical dog whistle; single-sex changing spaces, trans kids in sports, putting parents’ wishes over what the child wants.

It will give teachers the freedom to refuse to respect the names or pronouns a child uses. This is in a place that is supposed to nurture, support, and educate children.

My kid is 7, and we are completely led by her, and we help her understand her options. Her transition is completely social at this age and will be for many years until (and if) she decides to pursue a medical transition when she’s older. She is living happily in the clothes she likes, the pronouns she is happy with and a name she loves.

If her school follows the guidelines, all of that goes away.

She would have to use pronouns she hasn’t used for three years, a name she hasn’t used for two years.. She would have to wear clothes that make her uncomfortable, and be forced to take part in sports and spaces she would feel uncomfortable in.

She wouldn’t be allowed to be the wonderful little girl she is becoming at school. Where she spends six hours of her day. One who likes to dance and draw and is learning to play the harp. A girl who is by her own admission, funny and sweet and way cooler than me or her mum.

"The culture in which these two teenagers thought it was justified to kill a transgender teenager is about to get cemented into schools right across the UK. "

Ren Williams


The number of gender-questioning children is rising as a new generation begins to understand the fluidity of gender and the knowledge that being trans isn’t an illness, that it’s not something that is wrong but something to acknowledge and explore (or embrace).

It’s a reflection of what Children have always done by exploring their identities in various ways; they explore the ideas of new names and nicknames, picking up cultures and fashions and dropping others.

To stop a child from exploring a part of their identity just in case they’re trans, is counter-productive to everything schools and parents are supposed to do in raising fully formed adults.

Bullying of trans kids isn’t allowed, according to the guidelines.

Bullying isn’t allowed now, of any child, and yet it’s a daily occurrence in schools across the country.

And yet, if this guidance comes into place, more kids will suffer if teachers don’t have to use a child’s chosen name and pronouns. If they don’t, why should their classmates? It singles out a child as different, and makes them a target.

All trans children will have to be out and be labelled as trans instead of simply living.

It doesn’t need to be this way.

I’ve seen how the school in our little Welsh town can support her and have a thriving classroom of kids learning and growing together.  It can work, it’s a model for schools across the country, and they haven’t needed any guidance on how to support my daughter.

My daughter’s school have been supportive. She asked me to tell them about her pronouns, but she asked to be called another name by herself. These are changes they’ve accepted, again, following her lead.

She’s allowed to race with the girls (she’s not a sprinter blessed but she tries), she’s allowed to use the girls’ toilets, and she shares a room on an overnight trip with her two best friends (something planned out in advance with the consent of the parents of her friends who we know well).

We even had a meeting last summer to talk about how best to support her and work within the laws that already stand as she goes into her third year.

Trans kids deserve better support in school.

It’s not hard to get it right, it doesn’t affect their education or that of their classmates, it doesn’t involve huge changes. But the little changes make a world of difference, indeed, they save lives. They also set her and her friends to succeed in life by growing up with a caring, loving understanding of the difference in our world – that’s the future all kids deserve.

This article is part of a QueerAF and Inclusive Journalism Cymru partnership dedicated to uplifting Welsh LGBTQIA+ emerging and marginalised journalists. 

You can follow Ren on Instagram, X or visit their website

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