Channel 4’s ‘Born in the Wrong Body’ recent season of programming began with the episode ‘My Transgender Kid’, doing its bit to reinforce uncritical mass acceptance of the idea that children have an innate ‘gender identity’ which overrides their biological sex.
The Tavistock and Portman gender clinic has seen referrals increase by 50% every year since 2009, and we are likely to see a continued rise in referrals of children the more publicity is given to ‘brave’ parents on TV and throughout the popular media. On seeking information, worried parents will be directed to ‘gender support’ groups such as Mermaids, who will frighten them further with misleading statistics on suicide rates of young ‘trans’ people. The ‘trans’ label in itself may be covering up underlying psychological or emotional issues which remain undiagnosed by therapists keener to exhibit their social-justice credentials than their clinical judgment. Meanwhile, what remains undisclosed is the fact that hormone treatment and surgery is not effective in bringing these figures down.
The pressure on schools to go along with the trans narrative will also increase if The Gender Identity Research and Education Society gets its way. GIRES has presented evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee, calling for children as young as three to be taught about transgender issues in school. The trans advocacy charity criticised the DfE for failing to include ‘atypical gender identity development’ in the curriculum.
Teaching children that it’s fine to be ‘atypical’ simply involves allowing children to play with whatever they want, encouraging all children in an expansive definition of what their sex can be, and having no tolerance for teasing or bullying of those children whose behaviour doesn’t fit the stereotypes for their sex.
What GIRES are advocating though, is giving kids the opposite message. Through books in which right-on versions of Pingu tell their friends ‘We’ll tell them you are Sally and were never really John!’ they want children to be taught that if you are a boy who likes what society deems to be ‘girl’ interests, then you must actually be a girl.
Schools are in a bind: teach all children that a little boy can be a little girl and grow up to be an adult woman, and little girls can grow up to become adult men, or be seen as transphobic. If we do teach children that these things are possible, we also have to re-write the whole biology curriculum – perhaps we could call it Biological Creationism.
The theory that children have an innate ‘gender identity’ which does not match their biological sex has no scientific basis; it is impossible to have a brain which is the opposite sex of the body. The idea that male and female brains are significantly different has long been discredited. There is no existence of a pathophysiology to support treatment: to have preferences typically associated with people of the opposite sex is not a pathology, and there is nothing medically wrong with the body.
To even make the claim that a child is biologically male but ‘is a girl inside’ requires a definition of the term ‘girl’ as a recognised category with a set of definable characteristics. The definition we have is the biological classification ‘young female.’ Beyond that, we are in the realm of subjective judgment and stereotype. If ‘girl’ is a self-definition, an identity or a feeling, then the word means potentially anything and therefore nothing.
Children in any case have no fixed innate ‘identity;’ children’s identities are in process of being built through interaction with environmental influences, without which identity cannot develop. ‘Social transition’ then is nothing short of indoctrination into a trans identity.
There is also no evidence that a child’s non-conforming behaviour is in itself problematic for the child, or whether any experienced distress is caused by secondary factors such as the judgements of adults, imposed restrictions of expression or teasing and bullying from peers.
We are nevertheless advised by self-appointed gender specialists to try to fix something non-pathological in the head by medically treating the healthy physical body; making this the only situation in which medical intervention does not cure a sick body, but healthy organs are mutilated in order to match a psychological identity.
The facts, verified by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, are that most children with ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ will grow out of it by adolescence, and the overwhelming majority will be gay or lesbian. Given this fact, we should be wary that the ‘transing’ of children is effectively just another form of gay conversion therapy.
So where is the outcry? It’s certainly not coming from the Lib Dems who have just voted to support the ‘right’ of gender-variant children to receive puberty blockers until they are eligible for cross-sex hormone treatments. The Women and Equalities Select Committee on Transgender Rights have also hinted at ‘radical’ changes after hundreds of submissions from adult transgender people and activists, which suggests that a critical examination of this treatment of children is not going to happen any time soon.
We have no idea of the effects of puberty blockers on brain development; but in effect we are suspending children in a childhood state, ostensibly to ‘give them time to decide’ but clearly making that decision a foregone conclusion as the point that kids typically change their minds is during normal puberty. We also know that hormone treatments affect bone mass density and result in life-long sterility, but there is no research on other long-term effects on health.
In fact, no ‘gender specialist’ can tell you the long-term consequences of these radical treatments on children’s healthy bodies, because nobody knows. By setting children off on a path of sterilisation and medicalisation for life we are performing nothing less than an unprecedented and mind-boggling experiment using the children of this generation as the guinea pigs.
I originally wrote this article for The Wales Arts Review but I thought it belonged on this blog, so I am publishing it here in a slightly updated version. For any parents who want to know more about the issue I am in the process of setting up a resource site at transgendertrend.com in collaboration with other parents. It’s not finished yet, but please pass it on to any parents you think may be interested!