Transgender children to lecture teachers on classroom challenges
Transgender children will lecture teachers and healthcare professionals about the challenges they face in schools in a bid to increase understanding of the issue.
The taxpayer-funded training will see three teenagers deliver classes in Dudley to raise awareness of the support required by transgender youngsters.
Session one is aimed at school staff, including teachers and school nurses, who will be told how it feels to be a transgender young person.
A further session will be run for youth and social workers, who come in contact with transgender children out of school.
It is being run by the Transgender Inclusive Schools Project (TISP), which is one of the first schemes of its kind in the country to focus on the needs of gender non-conforming teenagers.
Council bosses have hailed the training as being a step towards a tolerant and inclusive society.
However, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says it is ‘pandering to the politically correct brigade’.
Mr Etheridge, a former UKIP councillor in Dudley, said: “What training exactly have these young people had that allows them to lecture professionals who have spent many years training to get where they are now?
“More to the point, how can these individuals be so certain of their gender and sexuality as they are still in the adolescent phase?
“This kind of thing is pandering to the politically correct brigade and is an appalling use of tax-payers money.
“It is causing extra costs to our education system and extra costs then to the beleaguered NHS. It has to stop.”
Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley, the Conservative councillor for Kingswinford South, defended the training and said it could be extremely valuable.
"Bill's criticism of this shows exactly why he has always been on the political fringes," he said.
"Times are changing and as a society we have to be more tolerant and inclusive towards all people.
"If this training can help young people, and indeed help staff to better understand what is going on, then we should welcome it.
"Bill is clearly happy to sneer at it and complain that it is a waste of money.
"I would of thought that here in the 21st century we can all be a bit more tolerant and accepting of others, no matter what their sexuality may be."
The project runs on July 11 at the DY1 building on Stafford Street. It is part of the Dudley Young Health Champion’s Project and supported by the What Centre.