In the first signs that this government may take a different line on transgenderism to its predecessors, it is being reported that it will drop plans to make it easier for people legally to change gender.
While the government’s formal response to a public consultation on updating the Gender Recognition Act, launched by Theresa May in 2018, is expected by the summer (after several delays), in the meantime a government source has told the Times that: ‘While we believe adults should be able to live their lives, and trans rights should be respected and protected, the government also has a role to play in protecting children.’
The government’s new cautious stance, if it bears out, is a welcome contrast to the approach of Theresa May, who said: ‘I want to see a process that is more streamlined and de-medicalised, because being trans should never be treated as an illness.’
It comes as concerns about the impact of experimental transgender treatments on children continue to mount.
A legal challenge to the use of puberty-blockers on minors was launched last month against the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust, which runs the UK’s only gender-identity development service (GIDS), by a former psychiatric nurse at the trust and a woman who is de-transitioning from living as a man.
The trust was rocked last year by the dramatic resignation of its governor of trustees, Dr Marcus Evans, who accused it of being ‘defensive’ and dismissing ‘challenge and examination’ following a damning internal report that said the service was ‘not fit for purpose’ and children will ‘live on with the damaging consequences’.
Dr Evans was shortly followed out of the door by five of the trust’s clinical staff who were part of the team deciding whether to administer puberty-blockers. They quit over fears that children as young as three in their care were going through unnecessary gender reassignment treatment.
Belatedly, NHS England has in the last few weeks ordered a review into the use of puberty-blocking drugs on children.
Yet despite this new caution, in the last fortnight it has emerged that three NHS trusts in the west of England have endorsed a guide approving puberty-blockers and declaring that anatomy ‘is not always a good guide’ to determining a child’s sex.
There is clearly a long way to go to protect children from this fashionable madness, particularly as current NHS rules allow children to commence gender transition treatment before puberty without their parents’ support.
These problems in the medical arena are compounded in the educational arena, where transgenderism is being promoted in schools both under the guise of the new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum and elsewhere, as with the No Outsiders equality programme. Children as young as four are being taught that their ‘gender identity’ may differ from their ‘sex assigned at birth’ and asked to consider whether they may have been ‘born in the wrong body’. Little wonder that cases of gender dysphoria have ballooned in the past decade, with nearly three-quarters of new cases being girls.
These are anti-scientific, anti-biological ideas that have no place in a centre of learning, and will serve only to confuse children and put them at risk of unnecessary, harmful, life-altering treatment. The evidence is that around 90 per cent of children who experience gender dysphoria, if left without affirmative intervention, become reconciled with their biological sex by the time they finish puberty.
The Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group held a briefing for MPs and peers in Parliament on Wednesday at which they called on the government to ban the promotion of gender fluidity to young children.
Angela Rayner, the leading candidate to be Labour deputy leader, who has signed the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights pledges which support gender self-identification, transgender access to women-only spaces and expelling ‘transphobic’ party members, criticised the briefing: ‘It’s extremely concerning that this event is taking place in parliament. Relationships and sex education is of crucial importance, especially for LGBT+ pupils.’
But education policy should protect children from harmful anti-scientific ideas about being ‘trapped in the wrong body’, not promote them and fuel the confusion. Such a policy doesn’t so much serve transgender pupils as prioritise affirming them in their confusion above the safety, dignity and privacy of women and girls.
Bizarrely, it is all the female candidates in the Labour leadership and deputy leadership race who have signed the most extreme trans pledges and the men who have been more cautious. This makes things difficult for those wanting to resist the trans movement, as transgenderism is seen (not entirely unfairly) as primarily an issue affecting women on which therefore women need to take a lead. When most prominent women lead in the wrong direction it is therefore very difficult for anyone to mount an effective pushback.
We need better from all our politicians, but especially from the women, who must start to stand up for their sex and recognise first and foremost that it is defined biologically not psychologically, objectively not subjectively. They must resolve to ensure that all girls grow up confident in their identity as women, not wanting to flee it, or finding themselves repeatedly put at risk by boys presenting as girls.
This Conservative government needs to get a much better grip on this issue and stop running scared, and start being bold on standing up to the woke orthodoxy. Their new Northern voters will thank them for it, as will a great many others – the Conservative Party, in its apparent self-loathing or insecurity in its traditional values, always seems to underestimate the electoral appeal of a genuinely conservative politics, always being too ready to heed the wails of the woke over the quiet convictions of the common man and woman, and this is a classic example.
Standing up for science and women against an anti-scientific, anti-women woke orthodoxy, while showing care and concern for those who suffer with gender confusion, should be the obvious course to take, and an easy win for a Conservative Party wanting to appeal to traditional working-class voters.
Unfortunately, the Tory party seem to have taken leave of their brains. Yet the apparent U-turn on self-identification plus the NHS review of treatment suggest the brain may be making a comeback. Now if the spine can just do the same, we might get somewhere.
(Image: Transgender Pride Flag flies on the Foreign Office building in London. Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0).)