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Trans ideology is far from defeated

Children in Scotland and Wales are still being encouraged to socially and medically transition.

Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams
Columnist

Topics Identity Politics UK

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It is great news that England’s gender-confused children will no longer be pushed on to puberty blockers. As Jo Bartosch wrote on spiked, last week’s declaration from NHS England that there is ‘not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness’ of these drugs was long overdue. Sadly, the same guidance does not apply to children growing up in other parts of the UK. In Scotland and Wales, children struggling with their gender identity are still being encouraged down an irreversible path towards drugs and surgery.

In England, the closure of the Tavistock gender-identity clinic for children was announced back in 2022, following an interim review into gender services by paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass. Concerns had long been raised about the increasing numbers of girls being referred to the clinic. Whistleblowers warned that many of the children presenting with gender dysphoria may really have been suffering with autism or other mental-health problems. Some had histories of sexual abuse. Others were simply confused about their sexuality and would likely grow up to be gay. Critics asked whether powerful puberty-suppressing medication was really the best way to treat vulnerable children with complex problems.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s gender-identity clinic for children, the Sandyford, continues to dole out puberty blockers. This means that drugs deemed unsafe for English children are considered perfectly fine north of the border. Given that there are no biological differences between children born either side of Hadrian’s Wall, we can only conclude that Scottish health officials are more concerned about not upsetting transgender activists than they are about the physical health of the nation’s children.

The Sandyford is currently recruiting to fill a senior post. Its job advert proudly asserts that the clinic follows the latest World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) guidelines, which explicitly recommend puberty blockers and surgery for any child who claims to have been born in the wrong body. Recently, leaked correspondence suggests that even WPATH’s own members know that children are not able to consent to such life-altering treatments. Children have knowingly been put in harm’s way, it seems. Yet shockingly, even though the WPATH’s guidelines have now been discredited, the Sandyford has not been deterred from using them.

Meanwhile, under proposed new legislation, Scottish parents could face prosecution if they do not accept that their child requires medical intervention to change gender. The SNP wants to push through a ban on what it misleadingly calls ‘conversion therapy’. This would make it illegal to ‘change or suppress another individual’s gender identity’. As the Free Speech Union explains, these new laws would, if passed, make it illegal to impose ‘restrictions or limitations’ on a child in order to ‘repress or prevent the development of their… gender identity’. Parents will essentially be forbidden, by law, from protecting their children from gender ideology.

Incredible though it might seem, things are, if anything, even worse for children growing up in Wales. Newly elected first minister Vaughan Gething has pledged to ‘continue to support the right of trans people to self-identify as the gender of their choice’. For children, this means they will be given UNESCO and WHO-backed Comprehensive Sexuality Education classes. Their aim is to challenge social and cultural norms regarding sex, gender, sexuality and relationships.

While England’s children have benefitted from guidance published last December that states that schools should not simply accept pupil requests to ‘socially transition’, teachers in Wales allow children to change gender without informing their parents. Children in England are no longer automatically allowed to change their name and pronouns while at school, or to wear the uniform or use the toilets and changing rooms meant for pupils of the opposite sex. But in Wales, none of these new rules apply. Welsh parents might be entirely ignorant that their children have adopted a new gender identity.

Despite England appearing to take a more sensible approach to gender-confused children, there is no room for complacency. In September 2022, maths teacher Kevin Lister was sacked for gross misconduct by New College Swindon, after two students complained about his refusal to refer to a female pupil by her chosen new male name and pronouns. Lister argued that making him conform to this request would be ‘compelled speech’. He told a hearing at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre this week that he ‘took issue with the demand on me to socially transition children who are unable to make an informed decision’. ‘It is not the role of a maths teacher to confirm the gender transition and social transition of a student’, he added. The fact that Lister’s stance has subsequently been vindicated by the government guidance did not seem to matter to his school. Rather than being lauded for his common sense, he is still having to fight to defend his livelihood.

It seems that despite some recent welcome changes in England, trans activism still has a powerful hold in schools and healthcare settings across the UK. Kids are still receiving the message that biology is irrelevant and that made-up notions of gender identity are all important in determining who they are. In Scotland and Wales in particular, social and medical transitioning are still being touted as solutions to children’s feelings of distress.

This needs to be stopped. Adults in every single part of the UK need to be absolutely clear: there is no such thing as a transgender child. Those who pretend otherwise are doing immeasurable harm.

Joanna Williams is a spiked columnist and author of How Woke Won. She is a visiting fellow at MCC Budapest.

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Topics Identity Politics UK

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