Book sent to 800 primary schools teaches children sex is 'assigned'

Book sent to more than 800 primary schools teaches children that person’s sex is ‘assigned’ to them at birth by a doctor and gender is a ‘sliding scale between male and female’

  • What Does LGBT+ Mean? has been sent to 814 primary schools across the UK
  • Says a doctor ‘looked at our body and gave us a label based on what they saw’
  • The book, by LGBT+ educational resource company Pop’n’Olly, is written by diversity campaigners Olly Pike, director, Mel Lane, and her son, James Canning
  • A book which teaches children that a person’s sex is ‘assigned’ to them at birth by a doctor has been sent to 814 primary schools across Britain. 

    Copies of What Does LGBT+ Mean? also claims that gender is a ‘sliding scale between male and female’ and that a doctor or nurse ‘looked at our body and gave us a label based on what they could see’. 

    The book, by LGBT+ educational resource company Pop’n’Olly, is written by diversity campaigners Olly Pike, Mel Lane, and her son, James Canning. 

    One of the sections is dedicated to ‘assigned sex’ with the illustration of a doctor holding a clipboard.

    ‘A person’s gender is who they feel that they are, e.g. male, female, both or neither,’ it reads.

    ‘Gender is usually something a person just knows about themselves, although it can also be something a person discovers about themselves as they grow older.

    ‘Most people’s gender will be the same as their assigned sex, but this is not always the case for everyone.

    ‘When a person’s gender is the same as their assigned sex, then this is called ‘cisgender’. 

    It also features a section called ‘Gender as a spectrum’, which read: ‘The scale is shown with labels in between male and female, including mostly female, partly female, both or neither, partly male and mostly male.

    Copies of What Does LGBT+ Mean? (pictured) which teaches children that a person's sex is 'assigned' to them at birth by a doctor has been sent to 814 primary schools across Britain

    Copies of What Does LGBT+ Mean? (pictured) which teaches children that a person’s sex is ‘assigned’ to them at birth by a doctor has been sent to 814 primary schools across Britain

    On its website, the non-fiction book which was first published in October is described as being aimed at children aged eight to 11, upper KS2 and lower KS3 pupils.

    ‘This book explores identity, assigned sex, gender, love, sexuality, discrimination, privilege, allyship, pride and more,’ the website says.

    ‘This is going to be a book that will make a big difference in the lives of countless young people.’

    Helen Joyce from advocacy group Sex Matters said that nobody is ‘assigned’ a sex: ‘I’ve given birth twice and both times I knew what sex the baby was at 20 weeks. It’s just absurd,’ she told The Times.

    ‘How did we get to a place where teachers feel they can sit and say to some primary children, “Some people feel male, some feel female, some feel both and some feel neither”?’

    Pop’n’Olly is also encouraging people to donate the LGBT+ book to primary schools across the UK and are offering a two-for-one deal on the donations.

    You can even search for a primary school on their ‘school finder’ feature which lets you check if it has been sent a book already.

    One of the sections is dedicated to 'assigned sex' with the illustration of a doctor holding a clipboard. 'A person's gender is who they feel that they are, e.g. male, female, both or neither,' it reads

    One of the sections is dedicated to ‘assigned sex’ with the illustration of a doctor holding a clipboard. ‘A person’s gender is who they feel that they are, e.g. male, female, both or neither,’ it reads

    In the section eastern England, 460 of another book from Pop’n’Olly have been donated. The east Midlands have had 522 donated and London 719.

    The north west has had 630 donated, Scotland 231, the south east 422, the south west 337 and just 57 in Wales. 

    The terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ which are referred to in the Pop’n’Olly book, co-written by the company’s director, Olly Pike, have in recent years been understood to be about the traits of masculinity and femininity rather than sex.

    What Does LGBT+ Mean? claims that ‘people feel happier and included when their pronouns are respected’, and has definitions of transgender, non-binary and intersex people.

    ‘We can’t just assume pronouns,’ it writes. ‘If you are not sure about another person’s pronouns, it is OK to politely ask.’ 

    The book, by LGBT+ educational resource company Pop'n'Olly, is written by diversity campaigners Olly Pike (centre), Mel Lane (left), and her son, James Canning (right)

    The book, by LGBT+ educational resource company Pop’n’Olly, is written by diversity campaigners Olly Pike (centre), Mel Lane (left), and her son, James Canning (right)

    There are also explanations of sexuality, including heterosexual, gay, lesbian, pansexual and asexual. 

    When author Pike was asked how widely it was being read by teachers, he said: ‘Teachers have expressed interest, thanks and gratitude towards this book. It’s helping the teachers as much as students,’ The Times said.

    An education source told the paper: ‘Britain is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, but it’s neither constructive nor appropriate to be concerning young children with culture war issues.

    ‘We should let kids be kids.’

    Author Olly Pike describes himself as Director and CEU, ‘Chief Executive Unicorn’ on the Pop’n’Olly website.

    Co-authoring the book is James Canning is a university student who works with his mother Mel Lane at Dorset’s LGBT+ youth charity Space Youth Project, where they deliver staff training and workshops for students aged four to 18.