Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Home Election Watch As trans lessons start, can Liz Truss stop the madness?

As trans lessons start, can Liz Truss stop the madness?

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LAST week, the Sun reported that 15 pupils at a Kent school are identifying as genders different from their birth sex. Most of them are girls.

The newspaper says some of these girls are seeking gender reassignment. What are some of the things their futures might hold? Double mastectomies? Sterilisation? Cross-sex hormones for life? Brittle bones? A lifetime of pronoun-policing and offence-taking? Hopefully a good many will desist. 

We should no longer be surprised by this phenomenon, which barely existed a decade ago. The BBC produces teaching materials explaining that there are more than 100 genders.

The Government’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Reforms, which went live this September, opened a gateway through which ‘gender identity’ ideology will gallop into our schools.

The proponents of this ideology will be pleased by the Sun report. They want actively to sell to children the idea that sex is a spectrum; actively tell them that they all have an inner gender identity that may or may not align with their biological sex; actively shed their inhibitions and boundaries around the other sex. 

Political commentator and author James Lindsay says it is part of a campaign to dismantle the innocence of childhood, and, thereby, wider existing power structures. 

To replace them with what? New power structures of course – but with someone else in charge. (Guess who?)

It’s a Conservative Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, who has implemented these RSE reforms, despite many people raising concerns about gender ideology. It is a Conservative Health Secretary, the woke Matt Hancock, who has enthusiastically tweeted the Stonewall message on LGBT sex education. 

But we shouldn’t be surprised. The Conservative government has long been a captive of the gender identity lobby. In fact, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) funded a good number of the resources that will now make their way into our schools. Resources that misrepresent the law, that will befuddle and gaslight our children about biological sex, science, their sexuality, law, language, and their rights to bodily privacy and dignity. 

How did this come about? In February 2019, the GEO advertised the funding it would be making available to various LGBT groups.

Its announcement explained that a group of organisations would split £1million ‘to extend work that protects children from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying’. According to the press release, an existing initiative ‘delivered by Barnardo’s and Stonewall’ had already supported ‘1,200 schools in England’. 

The PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) Association was contracted by the GEO to assess everything produced through the project funding against a ‘shared standards framework’ and provides links to all the resources on its website. What is the word for the opposite of a treasure trove? 

An organisation called Consortium provides a dangerous and irresponsible factsheet that tells us that puberty blockers are a fully reversible medication.

Yet the NHS has stated that it’s ‘not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones’ and that ‘side-effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations’.

Another Consortium factsheet tell us: ‘When delivering sex education, it is important to use inclusive language. For example, avoid saying “men’s/boy’s penises” and just say “penis”,’ effectively teaching kids that biological sex does not exist. It’s cruel, it’s bullying; kids can see that biological sex exists.

An advised ‘important topic for discussion’ is the fact that ‘anal sex is not exclusively practised by men who have sex with men, many heterosexual couples enjoy anal sex’. Why is it important? For schoolkids? 

Another factsheet says that within a school ‘a new pupil who has already transitioned need not disclose’. What this means is that a boy can use the girls’ toilets and facilities without the girls even being told. Read that again. The girls’ rights to privacy, even to information – dismissed.  

With respect to toilets, the same factsheet says: ‘If boys’ and girls’ toilets are separate, the school must ensure that a pupil who transitions may use the facilities that match their new gender presentation and their wishes’. What about girls who don’t want a boy in their toilets? This advice misrepresents the law. Girls have a right to single-sex toilets. 

Surgery is casually introduced. ‘Surgical interventions to modify the sex characteristics and bring them more in line with the gender identity are not undertaken under 17 years old. Genital surgery may be described as “lower or bottom surgery”; breast / chest surgery may be described as “top” surgery’. 

Just like that … so casual. 

The risks surrounding such deeply invasive procedures are, of course, not mentioned. The lifetime of medication, potential sterility, pain, regret. No? Kids too sensitive?  

I could go on and on and on. There is resource after resource, factsheet after factsheet. There is Stonewall, whose website declares that ‘trans women are women’ and campaigns for gender self-ID and the removal of women’s single-sex spaces.

There is Barnardo’s (Barnardo’s!), providing bright Powerpoint slides telling kids that ‘we all have a gender identity’ and asserting: ‘Don’t judge or make assumptions about people’s sexuality or gender because of what they like to do / how they look.’ 

What?! So kids are not meant to look at an adult man and assume he’s a man, or that a woman is a woman? They’re not meant to look at another kid in the playground and …? This is totalitarian gaslighting, in a document seemingly funded by our government, aimed at our kids.

Presumably not all of this endless material was funded by the GEO. Some of it was, some of it wasn’t. But let us not even get to that side of this scandal. (Where was the accountability? Who monitored this use – misuse – of taxpayer funds?) The PSHE website implies that all of it is endorsed by the GEO. And now it is provided free, for use in our schools, with our kids. Thank you, successive Conservative Ministers for Women and Equalities. 

In recent months the current minister, Liz Truss, has valiantly begun to take a stand against this legacy. In fact, this week she has at last made an announcement about a related matter – the Gender Recognition Act. She has confirmed that in this country there will be no right legally to ‘self-identify’ your own sex, and that single-sex spaces are, and will remain, legitimate.  

Thank you, Liz Truss. However, so much damage has been done. The Government has now gone live with its Relationships and Sex Education Reforms. Ofsted ensures that schools can’t turn a blind eye.

The PSHE Association promotes documents, aimed at schoolchildren, endorsed and funded by the Government Equalities Office, for use in schools to meet RSE requirements. The documents are free for schools to download. They advocate for the removal of single-sex spaces. 

To recap: They misrepresent the dangers of the gender-related medicalisation. They teach our kids not to trust their senses when they are looking at boys and girls, men and women. 

They tell schools to allow boys into girls’ changing rooms, without even telling the girls. They tell kids that sex is assigned at birth, that they all have an inner gender identity. 

They casually outline gender surgery. They misrepresent the law, ignore science, reimagine reality, gaslight kids. 

And, as night follows day, the Sun carries a report that 15 girls in one school are no longer ‘identifying as girls’, with some seeking gender reassignment.

All I can say again is thank goodness for the courage of Liz Truss. I hope she has the support of many colleagues, more of whom should have the courage to back her more publicly. I know she has the backing, and the gratitude of women, and parents, and, well, just people – from all over the country.

But the requirement for her work and her courage has only just begun. As a matter of urgency, she must surely distance herself, the GEO, the Conservative Government, from the material hosted by the PSHE organisation.

Then she must press for an urgent review of the RSE reforms following the Values Foundation’s excellent suggestion that, quite simply, RSE lessons must align with the science curriculum. So goodbye gender ideology. 

I hope Gavin Williamson (or preferably his successor) will be hearing from Liz Truss very soon.

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Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske is a former adviser to the New Zealand Government, served two terms as a Conservative councillor in Hammersmith & Fulham and is currently a full-time mother. She tweets as @carolinefff

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