A GOVERNMENT blunder led to a survey being sent to Brighton and Hove schools which asked children to define their gender from a list of more than 20 different terms.

The Government’s Children’s Commissioner said the questionnaire had not been signed off and was a working draft.

However, the department sent it to Brighton and Hove City Council in error and asked officers to distributed it to the city's secondary schools.

It asked youngsters aged 13 and 18 to pick from 23 terms to which best described their sex.

The £2.9 million Government department issued the survey on their Facebook page with a message from Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield OBE.

She said: "We want to know how gender matters to young people: what does gender mean to them; how does it affect their lives; what do they want to change?".

The online link to the survey is now no longer active.

The survey caused controversy this week with parents described it as unnecessary and confusing to teenagers.

It was sent out to Blatchington Mill School students as homework.

It asked "how do you define your gender" and included 23 options and space for "other".

As well as girl and boy, the list includes a catalogue of other labels - including non-binary, demi-boy and gender fluid.

Yesterday the school said there was nothing to indicate the survey was just a draft.

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: "The survey was sent out at the request of the Office of the Children's Commissioner.

"Schools that have distributed the survey did so in good faith based on written instructions and there was no indication it was a draft."

She added the local authority is awaiting instruction on what to do with the survey.

A spokesman for the Children’s Commissioner could not confirm how many local authorities the survey had been distributed to but added there were "no plans" to redistribute it.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said officers had not received the survey. East Sussex County Council had not responded to our request by the time we went to press.


AN explanation of some of the gender terms:

Someone who is transitioning or has transitioned from male to female.

Someone who is transitioning or has transitioned from female to male. 

Gender fluid
Those whose gender varies over time.

People with no gender identity or a neutral identity. 

Of indeterminate sex.

Those who experience two gender identities, either varying or simultaneously.

A term which encompasses any gender identity which is not exclusively male or female.

An individual whose identity is only party male.

An individual whose identity is only party female.

A person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions.

Gender non-conforming
People who do not not follow conventional ideas of how they should act or look based on their gender assigned at birth. 

Someone who is a mix between three gender identities which can be experienced either simultaneously or at varying times. 

All genders
An individual who identifies as all possible options.

In the middle of boy and girl
A person who identifies somewhere between male and female genders.

A person with physical features which may be thought of as male and female.