Rishi Sunak parrots ’72 genders’ teaching claim on Loose Women

The UK government is continuing to claim that young children are being taught about “72 gender identities”, with prime minister Rishi Sunak repeating the fear-mongering line on ITV daytime show Loose Women.

Appearing on Loose Women yesterday (16 May), Sunak made the comment while discussing new guidelines on sex education in England.

The new guidance on relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) will ban sex education for children under the age of nine year and prohibit education about gender identity for all pupils.

“Children were being exposed to lots of different things,” Sunak said. “You know, we’ve got lots of people talking to kids, they were talking about [how] you can have 72 different gender identities.”

He also claimed that “very young kids” were being exposed to “things which clearly aren’t appropriate”.

Rishi Sunak, “People talking to kids about having 72 different gender identities”

Is this some sort of culture war, or is this really happening in our schools? pic.twitter.com/2rIaHzpiDZ

— Farrukh (@implausibleblog) May 16, 2024

There is no evidence to suggest that children are being taught about 72 genders, and the claim appears to have come from a set of false reports that alleged a child on the Isle of Man was taught by a drag queen in 2023.

The reports were later revealed to be untrue, but not before teachers received a “tirade of abuse” and death threats.

When pressed by journalists during a series of interviews about how widespread the use of “inappropriate” relationships and sex education resources is in schools, education secretary Gillian Keegan said she didn’t know.

“I don’t think it’s widespread. I mean, I don’t know. Because, you know, it’s not something that we’ve gone and done a particular survey of… we’ve listened to reports, we’ve listened to concerns.”

Sadiq Khan ‘concerned’ for trans young people

The new guidance has faced criticism from experts and politicians, who have branded it “the new Section 28” – the Thatcher-era legislation banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by local authorities.

Following the publication of the amended policy, London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was concerned for the wellbeing of trans young people.

“We’ve just got to be a bit aware when we have these conversations that we’re conscious about the impact that this has on trans young people,” he said.

“Many of these people – young people – learn about these things through social media. You know, the proliferation of porn, and also the proliferation of misogynists like Andrew Tate. If we’re delaying proper, responsible teaching until later on, I worry about who’s going to be rebutting some of the nonsense on social media, who’s going to be giving our young people that stoicism and resilience.”

Khan added that he is nervous about what he described as the Tories’ attempt to “introduce this issue as a culture-war issue”.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas also expressed her worries, telling PinkNews that there are “no depths to how low this Government will sink.”

She went on to say: “It is always age appropriate to teach children how to stay safe, kind and respectful. Rather than demonising information as ‘ideology’, it is Tory ministers themselves who need to get back in the classroom and learn better.”

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