London: Boys should be free to choose to wear a tutu, tiara or heels, and girls to wear tool-belts and superhero capes, the Church of England has said in a new guidance issued to schools. The advice also calls on teachers to avoid using labels that might alienate children's behaviour "just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes", reports the Guardian on Monday.

The updated guidance for 4,700 schools, titled "Valuing All God's Children", follows advice issued three years ago that covered homophobic bullying. It has now been expanded to include transphobic and biphobic bullying. The church advises that nursery and primary school should be a time of "creative exploration", and that pupils should feel free to "try out the many cloaks of identity" and "explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision".

In the guidance, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, warns that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes "profound damage leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide". The advice adds: "Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing-up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision.

"For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess's tiara and heels and/or the fireman's helmet, tool-belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment." The church said that the aim of the guidance was to "prevent pupils in Church of England schools and academies from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity", the Guardian reported.

The guidance also acknowledged a wide range of views among all beliefs towards same-sex marriage, saying: "Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God. "We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem." (IANS)