Transgender: does acceptance begin in school toilets?

Portugal is debating a draft law that would allow transgender school children to choose whether to use the boys' or the girls' toilets. Conservative parties are fiercely opposed to the idea. Those on the left argue that school is the best place to introduce acceptance for sexual minorities. The Portuguese press is equally divided.

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Público (PT) /

Our grandchildren will be more tolerant

Amid heated debate Manuel Soares, president of the union of Portuguese judges, offers soothing words in Público:

“Of course the law will eventually lead to cultural change. Our children and grandchildren will be more naturally accepting and tolerant of their transgender colleagues. They will no longer humiliate and degrade them. ... The issue is not about being conservative or progressive, right or left-wing. The point is to know how we can ensure that respect is shown in schools for the values of self-determination, diversity and privacy and overcome differentiating factors that lead to more discrimination and bullying, often with tragic consequences.”

Observador (PT) /

Laws are not what is needed here

To decree a new worldview by law is not the way to proceed, argues Observador:

“Respect for homosexual and transgender persons is imperative and much needs to be done in this area. .. But this respect does not call for the uncritical adoption of an exclusionary and scientifically contradictory dualism between the cultural and the biological. Nor does it call for the state to intervene and shape our thinking by decreeing a language and a worldview by law. ... To think this way about respect towards sexual minorities is to instrumentalise them. And that is the threatening little step that turns 'gender theory' into ideology.”