The Church Of England Says Boys Should Be Allowed To Wear Tutus And Tiaras If They Want To

In new guidance issued to schools, the Church says children 'should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision'.

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Children should be free to dress up in girls' or boys' clothes as they please, the Church of England has said in new guidance issued to schools.

The guidance, titled Valuing All God's Children, aims to help schools offer the Christian message 'without exception or exclusion,' the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby writes in his foreword.

'We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem,' he adds.

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The advice for 4,700 schools follows a document first published in May 2014 that tackled homophobic bullying. It has now been updated to include transphobic and biphobic bullying.

In a section on 'creative exploration' in primary schools, the guidance says boys should be free to choose to wear a tutu or heels, and girls to wear tool-belts and a fireman's helmet.

'Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box),' says the advice. 'Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision. For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess's tiara and heels and/or the fireman's helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment. Childhood has a sacred space for creative self imagining.'

It adds that 'no labels need to be fixed' by teachers or adults who deem a child's behaviour to be problematic because it doesn't conform to gender stereotypes.

The report comes after the Gender Identity Development Service revealed that last year, 1,400 children under 18 were referred to to the service, nearly double the number the year before. The figures showed that nearly 300 of these children were under the age of 12, with some as young as three years old.

LGBT charities like Stonewall have welcomed the updated guidance, which it says is urgently needed to reduce bullying.

In a statement given to the BBC, a spokesperson for the charity said: 'Our research shows that nearly half of lesbian, gay, bi and trans pupils are bullied for being LGBT at school: a situation that desperately needs to change.'

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