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The government should stop this social experiment on children

Don’t throw children to the activist wolves as guinea pigs

Artillery Row

The long-awaited trans guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) may or may not be published next week, but according to latest reports the government is still muddled about the issue of social transition. On the one hand, social transition may be allowed in certain circumstances; on the other hand, teachers and children will not be compelled to use the wrong sex pronouns for a child.

If this is the case, a contradiction will be built into the guidance. Social transition, by definition, is a demand on everyone to refer to a child as a member of the opposite sex — calling a girl a boy and vice versa. It requires the whole school to play along with the child’s belief. How will this work if some teachers and children are calling a girl “he” and referring to her as a boy, and others are calling her “she” and referring to her as a girl?

The resulting confusion would be especially difficult for children who are neuro-diverse, learning disabled, or who have speech and language impediments. This situation would not be conducive to learning. Social transition really is an all-or-nothing demand on the whole school.

An editorial in the Times last week described those who think social transition should be banned in schools as “hardliners” who are adopting an extreme position in a polarised debate. The trans lobby groups who push for social transition, even without informing parents, are characterised as “the opposite extreme”.

This is a false equation. People who understand biology, and think that children should not be misled about this reality by their teachers in schools, are not extremists. Opposing an extremist ideology does not make one an extremist on the opposite side. Disagreeing with Scientology and believing it should not be used as a template for children’s education does not make one some sort of radical.

There are lobbyists for extremist gender identity ideology, and there are those who know that by any objective measure it is not true. Boys do not magically become girls by stating they are. The biology-denialist, anti-reality movement (unlike Scientology) has not only been allowed into schools to train teachers and talk to children (in many cases funded and endorsed by government), but has dictated school policies.

The most extreme point on the spectrum of this extreme ideology is the “gender affirmation” and social transition of children themselves. Using children to “prove” or bolster an ideology and its political aims is exploitation, pure and simple. Social transition of even one child in a school sets a self-ID policy for children in contradiction of the factual teaching of biological sex demanded by the DfE in its RSHE guidance. There is no getting away from this for government.

The rate of children put on puberty blockers has doubled over the last year

NHS England has learned this lesson after commissioning an independent review of the Tavistock gender clinic, chaired by distinguished paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass. The unquestioning “gender affirmative” approach led by ideologues, within a clinic under pressure from trans activist groups such as Mermaids, put children at risk of unnecessary medical intervention. Now that the clinic is due to be shut down, only the ideologues are left working there, and the rate of children put on puberty blockers has doubled over the last year.

“Gender affirmation” is a discredited approach that has led to irreversible medical harms being perpetrated on children. A systematic review from NICE found that the evidence for the benefit of blockers is of very low certainty. NHS England subsequently produced a new service specification that limits the use of blockers to a select enrolment of children with “early onset” gender dysphoria onto a clinical trial.

It is now the turn of the Department for Education to follow the evidence. We know that for younger children, under the watchful waiting approach, gender dysphoria naturally resolves for around 85 per cent of children during or after puberty. The first study of children treated under the “gender affirmation” approach found, conversely, that gender dysphoria resolved for only 2.5 per cent of the study participants. Social transition seems to lock in gender dysphoria. We know this happens because a study from 2013 shows that social transition is a strong indicator of persistence of gender dysphoria.

There are no comparable studies for adolescents who develop gender dysphoria after the start of puberty: as the Cass Review of the Tavistock stated, this is the group we know the least about. It is a completely new cohort, a generation brought up on “gender affirmation” and social transition.

However, a new study using data from the Tavistock clinic GIDS found that: “Overall, there were no significant effects of social transition or name change on mental health status.”

This replicates the findings of previous reliable studies, one in 2019 which found that “there was little evidence that psychosocial well-being varied in relation to gender transition status” and one in 2020 which concluded:

… the degree of social transition did not significantly predict the outcome. Therefore, claims that gender affirmation through transitioning socially is beneficial for children with GD could not be supported.

The consequences of social transition are made clear in the Cass Review of the Tavistock clinic. The interim report of last year highlighted the extent of social transition as a factor in children and parents demanding “gender affirmative” care from clinicians:

By the time they are seen in the GIDS clinic, they may feel very certain of their gender identity and be anxious to start hormone treatment as quickly as possible.

The link between social transition, persistence, and progression to blockers and hormones is clear. A gender affirmative approach in schools is the starting point of a medical pathway, the consequences of which will last a lifetime.

As with puberty blockers, the cost/benefit calculation is against social transition. The gender affirmative approach has been found to be unsafe in healthcare for children, and the DfE must now act in line with NHS England and put a stop to the gender affirmative approach in schools.

Children were harmed at the Tavistock clinic because a political social justice movement was allowed to dictate policy in healthcare. The government must step in now to protect children, who are already being targeted by activist groups and teachers, from the same harms.

Government-endorsed social transition of children in schools, even if limited, would be a huge victory for Queer theorists and gender identity activists. They know that even one child’s transition destabilises reality for every other child in the school. Just one girl called a “boy” in school teaches all children that “gender identity” is a fact that overrides biological sex.

It is ludicrous to suggest that a cautious evidence-based approach in schools would be discrimination towards this group of children; the opposite is true. This is a generation of children so thoroughly brainwashed into believing in the idea of “gender identity” that they have been put at risk and the government has failed to safeguard them. It is the Department for Education’s job to get rid of this ideology in schools, not endorse it by waving through social transition. Throwing just one child to the activist wolves as a guinea pig in a social experiment is not an option.

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