Christian parents sue government over school's transgender policies

Nigel Row, 48, and his wife Sally, 46, have launched legal action. (Christian Concern)
Nigel Rowe, 48, and his wife Sally, 46, have launched legal action against the government over transgender policies in schools. (Christian Concern)

A Christian family is launching legal action against the government over its transgender guidelines after they claim their six-year-old son was left confused by a boy in his class who was wearing a dress. 

Nigel and Sally Rowe, 48 and 46, are to pursue a judicial review over the Department for Education’s (DfE) refusal to intervene in their case and its promotion of what lawyers describe as ‘politically partisan’ Cornwall Schools Transgender Guidelines, said the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the couple. 

The couple, from the Isle of Wight, pulled both of their children out of school amid concerns over guidelines around transgenderism. 

The Christian Legal Centre, who are backing the couple, said the Rowe's six-year-old son had come home from school confused that a boy in his class had started wearing a dress and identifying as a girl, and their eldest son had faced a similar issue two years previously at the same school.

They have been home schooling both their children for the past four years and are arguing that current guidelines leave any parents who disagree with trans ideology in an impossible situation.

They are calling for the Cornwall Guidelines to be overhauled and for Christian beliefs on the issue of gender to be respected and tolerated in state education.

The Rowes lodged a formal complaint to the DfE calling on the Secretary of Education to intervene in their case and to review the use of the Cornwall Guidelines in primary schools. 

The couple have been home-schooling their children for four years after withdrawing them from school. (Christian Concern)
The couple have been home-schooling their children for four years after withdrawing them from school. (Christian Concern)

The request was refused in July 2021, so the couple are now pursuing a judicial review.

Nigel Rowe said: "This is not just about boys wearing dresses. This case is about an ideology that is now embedded in schools, local authorities, and Church of England leadership, and is causing serious long-term harm to thousands of children.

"We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls. Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment.

"We took this action with heavy hearts, but having seen how this issue has escalated, we feel vindicated and believe the government must be challenged.

"The Cornwall Guidelines must be scrapped and replaced with a policy that protects children from partisan materials that lead them down a road of irreversible harm.

"We have been shocked that the government has refused to act on the clear evidence presented to them and face no alternative but to pursue a judicial review."

Sally Rowe said: "We were given no choice but to home school our children. We, and our sons, either had to go along with what we believe is a lie or face being labelled as ‘transphobic.’

"It is not possible for Bible-believing Christians to bring their children up in line with their beliefs under such policies and approach.

"We have been blessed that home schooling for our children has been a positive experience, but we are concerned for other families who are not able to home school and are forced to risk having their children indoctrinated by these guidelines.

She added: "Six-year-old children are not able or even allowed to make decisions on voting or having a tattoo, for example – it is therefore immoral to think that they can make such life-changing decisions at such a young age.

"As a society we are called to protect children, and these guidelines and the culture they are embedding in primary schools is achieving the opposite."

The couple have enlisted the help of experts to report on what they say is the impact that transgender-affirming policies have on young children.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "It is chilling that Christian parents who want to bring up their children in line with their Christian beliefs cannot trust state education to be kind to them and make room for them.

"We will stand with the Rowes as they continue to seek justice and to protect the well-being of so many vulnerable children in primary schools."

Yahoo has contacted the Department for Education for comment, though they told the Times: “We recognise that issues relating to gender identity can be complex and sensitive. Schools are best placed to work with parents, pupils and public services to decide what is best for individual children — and what is best for all others in the school.”