'No More Boys and Girls' BBC Experiment Pushes Gender-Free Classrooms

Trailer for an upcoming BBC2 program 'No More Boys and Girls' released on August 6, 2017.
Trailer for an upcoming BBC2 program "No More Boys and Girls" released on August 6, 2017. | (Photo: videoScribble YouTube screencap)

A BBC Two documentary is testing out gender-free classrooms where 7-year-old children are being taught to forget differences between boys and girls in an effort to achieve so-called "true equality between the sexes."

The documentary, titled "No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender-Free?" premiered on Wednesday and follows presenter Dr. Javid Abelmoneim as he leads a classroom of schoolchildren in a gender experiment.

As the Evening Standard reported, Abelmoneim took over a class of 23 pupils from Lanesend School on the Isle of Wight, looking to challenge them on gender stereotypes.

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"At the beginning of episode one, the children undergo psychometric tests to assess their perception of sex and gender," the article described.

"Despite their young age many of the pupils already perceive a significant difference between the two sexes. Every girl but one said they believed boys are 'better' than them, with the exception of Tiffany who commented that 'men are better at being in charge' and another, Kara, explaining 'girls are better at being pretty.'"

The documentary comes at a time when the number of children being referred to gender identity clinics in the U.K. has reached record highs.

Gender Identity Development Service statistics released in July found that 84 children aged between 3 and 7 were referred to such clinics in 2016, which is more than four times higher than the number of referrals in 2012–2013.

Some, such as Chris McGovern, a former adviser to the Department for Education, have criticized such developments.

"It has become an industry, people are making a career out of encouraging children to question gender at an age when they need to be left to be children. When teachers raise these issues children can become confused or unhappy and traumatized by it," McGovern told The Telegraph at the time.

Abelmoneim strongly denied that the classroom experiment could be harmful to children. "One, this is absolutely not about gender identity. Two, in no way could you imagine anyone ever trying to steer children in a way that's harmful," he argued in an interview with Telegraph Online.

"We're talking about the BBC. I'm a doctor. Their parents and teachers were involved. Three, watch the program and then if you still want to hold that view — well, then you're daft."

Still, some scholars, such as Dr. Joanna Williams, a university lecturer and author of the book Women vs Feminism, have warned in the past that children being taught to "unlearn" the difference between boys and girls could be harmful.

"Children — encouraged by their experiences at school — are beginning to question their gender identity at ever younger ages," Williams warned in an article for the Telegraph Festival of Education in June.

She pointed out that an increasing number of schools are "encouraging even the youngest children to question whether they are really a boy or a girl."

Watch the trailer for the BBC Two "No More Boys and Girls" documentary below:

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