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Another stone in the wall

No, two-year-olds cannot be trans

Artillery Row

One thing us Brits know about our US cousins is that when it comes to belief — whether in extraterrestrials or Jesus — the Yanks go all-out. No matter how batty, the rest of the world always clamours to import American ideas. Both these facts were evident on Friday, when Europe’s largest LGBT+ lobby group Stonewall tweeted: “Research suggests that children as young as 2 recognise their trans identity”.

US-branded theories about trans tots have hit the UK

This dubious claim has been lifted directly from the theories of US psychologist Dr Diane Ehrensaft, author of The Gender Creative Child. Wide-eyed gender botherer Ehrensaft apparently believes that pre-verbal children give out “gender messages”. She is one of many such child gender specialists in the US where from television screens to classrooms, the existence of the “trans child” has become an unremarkable fact. 

Yet the ideology which gave birth to it is a remarkable fiction. In one memorable speech Ehrensaft confidently stated a male baby who opened the poppers on his baby grow was creating a dress. Similarly a female infant who tore out her hair grips was a signalling a proto trans-male identity. The idea that infants, before even being potty trained, can have an innate sense of gender identity ought to be preposterous to anyone who has spent time with young children. And yet, it has spread.

With depressing inevitability, US-branded theories about trans tots have hit the UK and been picked up by Stonewall and their acolytes. The official Stonewall Twitter account made the comments when retweeting an article in the Metro in which a trans-identified parent mused on the gender identity of her preschool daughter. The tweet concluded:

Yet, many nurseries and schools teach a binary understanding of pre-assigned gender. LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming education is crucial for the wellbeing of all young people!

One suspects Stonewall might be lining themselves up to deliver kindergarten gender identity training, perhaps through the medium of pasta shell pictures.

The anonymous writer of the Metro article complains that a nursery teacher caused “damage” to her daughter by telling “her she’s a girl, that she’s always a girl”. She opines that her child has “been less likely to talk about her gender with us, and when she does it’s often to affirm her femininity”. With barely disguised scorn for the ignorant teachers, the affronted parent complains: “I suspect her teachers don’t think she’s “old enough” for gender nonconformity, despite published research confirming that children as young as two to three recognise their gender, and can identify their own transness.” She concludes that all schools should implement mandatory LBGTQ+ awareness to prevent transphobia. 

Cruel or neglectful parents are rarely given column inches to share their childcare tips — but imposing harmful ideas about gender on uncomfortable kids is somehow righteous and intriguing. Consequently, those who burden their offspring with their own neurotic political posturing are enabled by the likes of Metro

A more charitable reading is that every parent believes their child is special. To a doting mum even the most obnoxious, snot-smeared brat is a gift. Just as naturally, there are always unscrupulous quacks ready to capitalise on this. For a brief period during the 1980s and 1990s a craze swept through the yoghurt-weavers of the US East coast before making its way to Europe: the Indigo Child. Thousands of parents believed that the reason their offspring were poorly behaved was that they were gifted with *ahem* indigo auras, indicating that they were a more highly evolved species of human. A narrative emerged that Indigo Children had been sent to save the planet. 

Stonewall’s approach is woke sexism

Parents were validated in their firm conviction that their offspring were indeed gifted, and there were calls for specialist education centres. After the instigators made careers flogging books and courses, both adults and children grew out of the delusion and the movement largely withered away.

But unlike the Indigo children, today “trans kids” are in every school. Once they would’ve been seen as kids who didn’t conform to sex stereotypes — so-called tomboys and sissies. Such kids only present a problem for the narrow minded, for those who want to shape behaviour to neatly fit pre-packaged sex stereotypes. The sane solution is to accept that there’s no right or wrong way to be a boy or girl, and to stop projecting adult neuroses into classrooms. But the approach of Stonewall is to suggest that children need to change their identities to fit into sex roles. This is woke sexism.

There was once a homophobic trope that the gays were out to get children. For years, Stonewall and grassroots campaigners fought to show the heterosexual mainstream that gays, lesbians and bisexuals aren’t a risk to children. We made progress. Today, by promoting this dangerous delusion of the trans child, imported wholesale from the US, Stonewall could encourage damaging ideas and assumptions. Parents of all sexual orientations are right to be wary of what is being pushed under the banner of inclusion.

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