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The Proud Trust, an LGBTQ youth charity, has taken a stand against the Department for Education (DfE) by sending a legal letter demanding that the consultation process for the proposed guidance on ‘gender questioning children’ be made accessible to Disabled individuals and inclusive for young people. 

The charity criticizes the DfE for not providing the consultation document in alternative formats like British Sign Language (BSL), Easyread, or Braille, which excludes disabled people from participating. Additionally, they argue that the document’s complex language is unsuitable for children and young people, who are the most affected by the guidance and should have a say in the consultation.

The Proud Trust say the DfE need to make their consultation document more accessible to disabled people

The Proud Trust is advocating for alternative methods of consultation, such as face-to-face meetings and workshops, to ensure that all voices are heard. They have requested that the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, extend the consultation period to allow those previously excluded to contribute.

The charity emphasizes the importance of the guidance, citing research that shows a significant percentage of young people do not feel supported by their schools in dealing with transphobic bullying, and a majority of teachers and school staff express the need for more training to support trans students.

Leigh Day solicitors, representing The Proud Trust, have highlighted the government’s duty under the Equality Act 2010 to avoid discrimination and consider the equality implications of its activities. They urge the DfE to take immediate action to rectify the issues and provide an equal opportunity for all affected individuals to participate in the consultation process.

The Proud Trust’s actions reflect a broader call for inclusivity and accessibility in governmental processes, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their abilities or age, can have their voice heard in matters that directly impact them. The outcome of this legal challenge may set a precedent for future consultations and the way the government engages with vulnerable groups. The DfE’s response to these demands will be closely monitored by advocates and the affected communities.

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