A SCHOOLGIRL is pushing ahead with legal action after council guidance on transgender inclusivity made her feel 'powerless'.

The Oxfordshire girl, 13, is seeking a judicial review at the High Court against Oxfordshire County Council.

She opposes council guidance issued to schools last year, called the Trans Inclusion Toolkit.

The 65-page document offers guidance to schools and colleges, with advice including to allow trans pupils to use whatever toilets and changing rooms they prefer.

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In a statement released today the girl, who has not been named, said: "I am very surprised that the council never asked the opinion of girls in Oxfordshire about what we thought before they published the toolkit.

"Under these guidelines I have no right to privacy from the opposite sex in changing rooms, loos or on residential trips...it makes me feel that my desire for privacy, dignity, safety and respect is wrong.

"It makes me feel sad, powerless and confused.

"I don't understand how allowing boys and girls to share private spaces is okay."

She said she was also concerned that allowing flexibility in single-sex sports, which is another aspect of the toolkit, could be 'unsafe'

A teacher and Oxford parent Victoria Edwards had previously also been part of the legal action, but they have withdrawn their claims to 'prioritise the action' being taken by the girl.

Ms Edwards said: "It is she whose dignity and privacy are being violated by this guidance, it is she who is at risk of emotional and physical harm and it is she who is representing the interests of all children and young people, not only in Oxfordshire but throughout the entire country.

"We give her our full support and will help in every way we can to ensure we win this case and protect her and all her peers."

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An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said as of yesterday afternoon, the authority has 'not received any formal legal proceeding'.

He added: "If we do, we will consider it and respond appropriately."

The council has previously said it 'utterly refutes the suggestion that we are failing to safeguard children'.

A statement added: "We are aware of the challenges faced by young people who feel they are not the gender they were assigned at birth.

"We also know that schools and other organisations are working hard to support these young people.

"While we acknowledge this is a difficult and emotive area, we are confident the revised toolkit will provide helpful guidance to schools looking to support this potentially vulnerable group."

Its Trans Toolkit was created with input from national experts and people who identify as transgender, and states on the cover page: "Gender is not pink and blue."

Part of the guidance states: "Schools and education settings need to be working proactively and globally to celebrate diversity and create visibility around the contributions and existence of trans, non-binary and gender questioning people, families, carers and staff.

"They need to respond to individual children and young people, to transphobic prejudice, discrimination, bullying and hate crime."

The document was amended following concerns raised by Safe Schools Alliance (SSA) UK last year, a parent and teacher group that is supporting the judicial review.

In a statement today, the group said the toolkit was 'seriously flawed and poses a risk to children'.

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SSA UK spokeswoman Tanya Carter said: "This [toolkit] is in direct opposition to all safeguarding protocols which recommend that single sex provision should be made for children over the age of eight when sleeping, using toilets and changing, and that contact sports should be segregated after puberty for safety reasons."

She said the guidance could end up having a negative impact on lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils and affect their ability to 'understand and embrace their sexual


Campaigners in support of the judicial review are fundraising on CrowdJustice.com for legal fees, and more than £14,000 has been raised so far.

Paul Conrathe, a solicitor from Sinclairslaw supporting the case, said: "This toolkit significantly mistakes the law whilst purporting to offer best practice guidance to educational settings.

"Boys who identify as girls are not legally able to access safe and private spaces used by girls.

"This toolkit raises significant safeguarding concerns for children."

He said the judicial review will seek to get the toolkit 'set aside and declared unlawful'.