Michelle Dewberry has defended mocking children who identify as cats. The GB News presenter said she had been accused of being “cruel and/or bullying”.
It follows reports that a pupil who refused to accept that a girl might want to identify as a cat was reprimanded by her teacher at a Church of England School. The teacher told the pupil that “talking about the fact that cisgender is the norm” is “despicable”.
In an audio video shared on TikTok, the teacher added: “If you don’t like it you need to go to a different school.”
READ MORE: UK teacher reprimands pupil that said girl ‘could not identify as a cat’
The pupil had expressed gender-critical views During a Year 8 class on “life education” in which children were told they can “be who you want to be — and how you identify is up to you”. The 13-year-old said “if you have a vagina you’re a girl and if you have a penis you’re a boy – that’s it”.
The girl also said: “If they want to identify as a cat or something then they are genuinely unwell – crazy.”
It was not clear from the video if there was a child in classroom who identified as a cat. However, the teacher was heard saying: “how dare you – you’ve just really upset someone” by “questioning their identity”.
Talking about the story on GB News, Dewberry donned cat ears and whiskers. The 43-year-old said: “Meow, I’ve learnt something new today, everybody.”
“It is perfectly acceptable to identify as a cat. You what?
“Don’t you dare mock it by the way because I’ve decided that is now what I am. Meowchelle, to you.
“But if you do indeed mock it be careful because I wouldn’t be surprised if it could be considered a hate crime. Self-identity, where do we draw the line?”
Sharing a link to the GB news segment on Twitter, Dewberry said: “I’ve had people messaging me saying I’m cruel and/or bullying to mock this child. No.
“Cruelness is indulging this ridiculousness and prioritising feelings/fiction over actual reality. The more people who stand up to nonsense, the better.”
Yesterday, The Telegraph reported that its inquiries “had established that other children at other schools are also identifying as animals”. Its report claimed: “it is not difficult to find genuine examples of children in UK schools insisting on being addressed as animals”.
The article claimed that a pupil at a secondary school in the South West of England insists on being addressed as a dinosaur, and a pupil at another secondary school in England insists on identifying as a horse.
Previous claims that children were identifying as cats in UK schools have been denied. Earlier this year, a Scottish secondary school had to deny reports that some of its pupils were identifying as cats and defecating on the floor after school officials refused to provide a litterbox.
Following posts on Facebook that were picked up by the media, Aberdeenshire Council said: “There are no cats and no pupils identifying as cats at Banff Academy.”
It would appear the litterbox story may have been inspired by an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience Spotify podcast. Talking to former Democratic US Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Rogan said his friend’s wife was a teacher at the school.
However, Reuters fact-checkers say there is “no publicly-available evidence that proves schools are providing litter boxes to self-identified ‘furries’ anywhere in the U.S.