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Artillery Row

Schools need a reality check

Our educators should be teaching the truth

A recorded conversation between a teacher and two pupils at a school in Rye has caused quite a stir in the national media after being posted on Twitter this week. The girls were called “despicable” for believing there are only two sexes and for refusing to believe that a girl is really a cat. The 13 year-olds were reprimanded for “questioning the child’s identity”.

Although it’s not clear whether there actually was a cat-identified girl in that school — the administration is denying it — a subsequent investigation by The Telegraph did reveal examples of children in schools identifying as “furries”, including one pupil who meows in answer to teachers’ questions rather than responding in English. In one school, pupils are allowed to flout uniform rules by wearing cat ears in order to express their “true self”.

We should not be surprised. It is alarming that teachers don’t seem to know how to deal with this issue when it arises, but the reasons are obvious. When identity politics is embedded in schools, how can you affirm one childhood “identity” but not another? When personal identity overrides reality for one characteristic (sex) how can it not override reality in another (species)? Why not nationality or race, as reported in Hannah Barnes’ book Time to Think about the Tavistock gender clinic? According to Dr Matt Bristow, a former clinician at the clinic, some children identified as “east Asian, Japanese, Korean, that sort of thing”.

Once we disrupt reality for children, anything goes

Denial of physical reality has been going on in schools for some time now. Once we disrupt reality for children, anything goes. How can we expect children to confidently distinguish between feelings and reality once they are told by teachers that a girl in their class is now a boy?

Schools have been led to believe “affirmation” is the only legitimate way to respond to the boy who identifies as a girl. However, “gender affirmation” just means “sex denial”. Calling a boy a girl is not “affirming his gender identity” but denying his biological sex. Whatever activists may claim, the definition of the word “girl” is not “a subjective identity”, but “a young female human being”.

Gendered Intelligence inadvertently exposes the difference between these two things on their website page “Language and Pronouns”— spot the odd one out in this list of words:

Words to describe gender identity could be words such as woman, agender, genderqueer or genderfluid.

The move away from objective reality and into the world of subjective identity is reflected in the ever expanding acronym that began with “LGB” and has since morphed into “LGBTQ+” and more. Stonewall added the “T” in 2015 and now produces “LGBTQ+ inclusive” guidance for primary schools. Since the Department for Education included “LGBT” in its Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) guide, Stonewall has expanded this to “LGBTQ-inclusion” to support “LGBTQ+” children.

After campaigning for a trans inclusive conversion therapy bill, activists are now referring to it as a ban on “LGBTQ+ conversion therapy”. This seems to be the way with the gender identity/Queer movement — give them the “T” and they’ll take a Q+++ ad infinitum, with apparently no ceiling on the adult sexualities it encompasses.

This movement has recast everything as “identity” and done away with reality completely. Stonewall now describes sexual orientation as sexual identity. Most worrying is the fact that “asexual” is included in the ever-expanding list of gender and sexual identities, with the implication that it makes a child different from the norm.

Where gender identity ideology erases the distinction between the sexes, the Queer Theory on which it is based is about destabilising reality and disrupting all boundaries, including between adult and child. This is why we have seen the spread of drag queen story time and age-inappropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) resources in schools, including adult fetish, kink and BDSM material. It is why we have external RSE providers whose aim is to “smash cis-heteronormativity” and “queer the primary classroom”.

It is the job of every other child in the school to socially transition a classmate

Adult men dressed in “human-pup” fetish gear have been a fixture at Pride parades for a good few years now (and have been photographed encouraging little children to join in their “play”), yet primary schools are falling over themselves to celebrate Pride Month with seemingly no idea what it has come to represent. Certainly it is not gay rights.

This is the world of Furry Fandom, one branch of the ever-expanding TQ+ “community” that children in schools are now identifying into. It’s the perfect marriage between adult male fetish and innocent childhood passion, the perfect boundary-breaker between adult and child. As happened when “transgender” expanded into non-binary gender identities, we can expect animal identities to spread through schools.

As is the case with “gender identity”, identifying as an animal could be an adolescent mask to cover up underlying anxieties, including not wanting to grow up. In both cases, it is the magic word “identity” that stymies teachers, who have been trained to believe they must validate a child’s identity above all. In her interim report on the Tavistock gender clinic, Dr Hilary Cass warned of “diagnostic overshadowing” where underlying problems are missed or ignored when clinicians rush to affirm a child’s identity. The same thing is happening in schools.

Teachers also have the words “Diversity and Inclusion” ringing in their ears whenever they are called on to respond to a child’s identity expression. The holy trio of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) has been elevated to such an extent in schools that it has effectively become a replacement for the Equality Act. No wonder teachers are afraid to do anything other than celebrate any new “diversity” in the classroom, when heaven forbid they fail to include it.

Leaked Department for Education (DfE) forthcoming draft trans guidance suggests that schools will still be able to socially transition children in cases where the parent agrees. This spectacularly misses the point. First, you might as well just hand all schools over to activist parents. Second, a child does not socially transition themselves, or use their own “preferred pronouns”. It is the job of every other child in the school to socially transition a classmate.

Hilary Cass called social transition an active intervention that could have significant effects on a child’s psychological development. It is not an appropriate task for children to actively intervene in the psychological treatment of another child, and no individual parent or school has the right to demand it. Likewise a doctor who recommends social transition for a child (as many “gender doctors” will) has no authority to proscribe the behaviour of children who are not his patients.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether the school is telling children that there is one boy in the school who is a girl or there are twenty; it is the denial of reality that children are learning. We are seeing the results of this destabilisation of reality for this generation in various manifestations, of which “furries” is only the most recent and most sensational. The long-term psychological harms we don’t yet know.

The DfE has one decision to make. Should schools teach children (through the RSE curriculum or by transitioning a child) that subjective identity is real and objective reality is false? If the answer is yes, we can expect many more confused children who can’t distinguish between feelings and reality, with many more different genders, nationalities and species proliferating in schools.

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