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Caroline Farrow: What chance have these brave parents against the transgender thought police?


I have my doubts about the wisdom of Nigel and Sally Rowe’s decision to go public about removing their children from their C of E primary school after another boy started wearing a dress, as well as their intention to pursue legal action. It’s not that I disagree with the sentiments that the Christian couple expressed, but sadly they are on dodgy ground both legally and theologically.

It’s going to be extremely difficult for the Rowes to claim that they are being discriminated against, because their child is not the directly affected party. Being transgender is a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act, and although this is supposed to apply only to over-18s, Stonewall has done a great job under the guise of bullying prevention in forcing schools to apply it to their pupils. It’s not going to end well for them.

Were I to have been in their position I, too, would have withdrawn my children, but kept my mouth firmly shut. Mr and Mrs Rowe were clearly ill-equipped for the type of questions they faced as they did the rounds of the media studios on Monday.

I’m a veteran when it comes to defending difficult issues regarding sexuality in the media. My heart went out to the Rowes when they were asked by Jane Fae, on Victoria Derbyshire’s show, how they could be sure that their children were in fact boys. It’s unbelievable that they should have had to feel defensive about explaining such a basic biological reality!

Fae had obviously planned the line of attack in advance and so when they mentioned the most obvious difference, they were immediately accused of making it all about genitals. Not only that, but the claim that they were taking an adult decision for children too young fully to grasp the concept of what it means to be a man or a woman, made it seem that the Rowes were imposing something harmful on their vulnerable children. It was a masterful piece of rhetorical projection worthy of Syme, Winston Smith’s colleague in the Ministry of Truth and the man tasked with working on the Newspeak dictionary in Orwell’s 1984.

The Rowes’ lack of media prowess speaks to the fact that they are ordinary people who are receiving merry hell as a result of daring to ask whether the Emperor is wearing any clothes. Although they explicitly stated that they felt compassion for a child who presents as transgender, Labour MP Stella Creasy denounced them for teaching their children ‘hate’, and Conservative MP Anna Soubry has attacked them for ‘not being very Christian’.

Nigel Rowe, who has said that he previously loved and supported the school, has said, ‘We’re doing it because we want to make a stand for parents like ourselves who feel there is an agenda going on that is overriding our beliefs.There are a lot of people who are very angry about what is going on in our schools, but they are too afraid of voicing their opinions. We think that somebody has to speak out before it gets out of control.’

This was the second child in as many years who had presented as transgender in that particular Isle of Wight school. Given the number of transgender people in the adult community, this seems an unusually large proportion. Of course they were going to question what was going on and whether or not there was a trend.

My children would be as confused as the Rowes’ boys if members of their class suddenly presented as the opposite sex and they were expected uncritically to accept it. In fact by asking children to do this, we are abusing them by telling them that sex is something that can be altered as easily as a change of clothing and name.

When it comes to the transgender child, is setting them off down a path where they fear the onset of puberty and are then put on a course of first puberty blockers and later cross sex hormones, and potentially radical surgery along with a lifetime of medication, really the kindest and most effective way of treating gender dysphoria? Especially when the evidence is that puberty blockers not only affect brain development which cannot be reversed, but are likely to make the adult sterile. If surgery is undertaken later it makes it more difficult for those who have attempted to become women to achieve orgasm, and impossible for those who have attempted to become men to achieve natural erections. Those who go through a sex change are being condemned to a life of little satisfaction, sterility and frustration, combined with a natural anxiety about whether they can be accepted as a member of the opposite sex. It’s no wonder that the suicide rate in this demographic is so high. Cases are also beginning to emerge of those who have changed their mind and required corrective surgery for the damage done to their young bodies.

It’s completely up to adults if they choose to go through a sex-change but utterly wrong to impose an adult agenda on children and then accuse them of bullying or hatred if they find it hard to accept. The Rowes are correct to note that the issues surrounding sex and gender are far too complex for young children to have to grapple with.

Regardless of the wisdom of their case, the hate (coupled with a liberal helping of anti-Christian prejudice) unleashed by the media and political establishment upon this plumber and his wife for calmly stating facts, further demonstrates Orwell’s maxim: in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

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Caroline Farrow
Caroline Farrow
Columnist for the Catholic Universe

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