THE rights of Scottish schoolgirls are being undermined by rules allowing pupils to adopt a different gender and share changing rooms, it has been claimed, as it emerged schools are unprepared for the controversial overhaul.

A series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests have revealed that councils have widely backed guidelines produced by organisations campaigning for the rights of transgender people but have not considered how the new approach will affect children – particularly girls.

The new guidelines tell teachers that if a transgender pupil wishes to share a changing room with "other young people who share their gender identity," they should be allowed to do so.

"There is no reason for parents or carers of the other pupils to be informed," it adds.

The guidelines say young people should be able to compete in the sports events for the gender they identify with, and says if other pupils are uncomfortable using changing rooms or toilets with transgender pupils, they should use other facilities or wait until the transgender pupil is done.

However none of the councils involved, nor the children’s commissioner, nor Education Scotland have carried out an equality impact assessment to ensure the rights and wellbeing of other pupils are unaffected. This means the impact on other students has not been taken into account.

The data comes as a Christian charity is due to launch a legal challenge over the new guidelines.

Lodged by feminist campaigner and mother of two Jess Stewart, the FoI results suggest councils are failing to consider the ramifications of the move.

Ms Stewart said she recognises the need to support transgender children.

“They are obviously wanting to do the right thing which is great. But they’ve done it without considering girls,” she said.

“Girls are absolutely negatively affected by this. It is important to raise awareness of transgender children but putting a transgender girl in a changing room with 30 other girls isn’t proportionate.

“They should at least have looked at the possible fall out from putting a male-bodied person in changing rooms which are being used by 14, 15 and 16 year old girls.”

Among the councils which have endorsed the guidance produced by LGBT Youth and the Scottish Trans Alliance, Glasgow, West Lothian, Clackmannanshire and South Lanarkshire said they were unable to publish an assessment of the likely impact on other pupils as they had not carried one out. Edinburgh City Council failed to respond. The office of the Scottish Children's Commissioner, Education Scotland and the Scottish Government have all also backed the LGBT Youth guide.

Scotland's Children's commissioner said: "We did not undertake and therefore do not hold" any research looking at how other pupils might be affected by the guidance.

Education Scotland said it did not have any policies itself relating to transgender pupils and therefore "there has been no requirement for Equality Impact Assessments in relation any new or revised policies or procedures regarding transgender and non-binary school children."

The Scottish Government said it had not carried out any equality impact assessments and said the responsibility for carrying them out lay with councils.

Ms Stewart added: "Most of the organisations who have endorsed the LGBT guidance are publicly-funded, which means they have a responsibility to be transparent to the public about their decision making process and the importance of taking into account the risks and equalities of everyone.

"In the rush to be trans inclusive, has every single adult who approved this guidance booklet completely forgotten about the needs of girls? Do our girls mean so little nowadays to not even deserve the right of privacy?

"On one hand the media is reporting about the sharp increase of sexual harassment and assaults of girls within schools and on the other we are telling our girls they no longer have the right to set their own boundaries of who can be within their private spaces when vulnerable."

The Christian Institute, which has announced it intends to take legal action if the guidance is not withdrawn, also draws attention to this issue.

A letter sent to the Government by layers action in behalf of the CI says the guidance "does not adequately address the privacy rights of staff and other learners in schools where trans pupils are seeking to express their gender identity."

Calling on the Scottish Government to withdraw its endorsement of the guidance, the letter says the lack of any acknowledgement of the impact on other pupils means: "teachers and schools will be misled into thinking that equality law gives absolute rights to transgender people to the exclusion of the rights of other service users."

The CI letter concludes: "It is difficult to see how guidance can promote good relations if it insists on the rights of the transgender person in every circumstance to the exclusion of the rights of others."

James Morton, manager of the Scottish Trans Alliance, said EQIAs had generally not been carried out because the document distributed by councils was guidance, not an official policy.

"If it became an official policy position they should do an EQIA and I'm sure it would show that there isn't any negative impact on other pupils," he said.

He claimed critics hostile to trans people were presenting a distorted view of the guidance. "There has always been a very small number of people hostile to trans inclusion. They say they are concerned about the impact on girls but they are not just standing in the way for progress for trans people they are actively trying to roll back trans rights."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The guidance is not a Scottish Government publication, however we are supportive of this work, developed by LGBT Scotland, which we believe will reduce transgender discrimination.

“It is up to individual schools and local authorities to deliver relevant and engaging learning that best suits the needs of pupils.”