Are you a boy or are you a girl? Are you both or are you neither? Brighton and Hove council’s school registration form for September 2016 has invited parents to discuss such issues of gender identity with their 4-year-old children:
“We recognise that not all children and young people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth or may identify as a gender other than male or female, however the current systems (set nationally) only record gender as male or female.
“Please support your child to choose the gender they most identify with or if they have another gender identity please leave this blank and discuss this with your child’s school.”
Good idea? I once spent some time at a primary school in Brighton. It was shocking to witness children starting school there unable to speak, let alone read the odd word or sound out a few letters! Certainly, they did not seem to be coming from homes in which gender identity discussions was high on the agenda. Nor, I suspect, is such ‘table talk’ the norm in many homes across Brighton or, indeed, across the rest of the country.
In many ways young children see the world differently from adults. As Isaac Bashevis Singer observed in his speech of acceptance for the Nobel Prize for Literature, children “still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff…”
The intrusion of adult angst about gender identity into the world of childhood will, at best, confuse infants. At worst it will unsettle, disturb and even traumatise. It is a cruelty perpetrated on children by adults who believe they are, somehow, doing ‘good’. Rather, they are robbing children of their childhood. The road to hell, of course, was ever paved with good intentions.
These days, gender identity are very high on the educational agenda. Recently, the Children’s Commissioner for England established a nationwide gender awareness survey amongst of 13-18-year-olds. Schools were asked to seek parental agreement for pupils aged under-16, to participate.
Blatchington Mill School in Brighton & Hove felt confident enough to ignore parental consent and simply set the survey form as pupil homework. In response to criticism from parents Brighton and Hove Council stated: “Blatchington Mill has a well-deserved national reputation as a beacon of best practice for the work it does on LGBT-related issues as part of its personal, social and health education curriculum.” It seems that, consequently, the school is above criticism. Even Ed Milliband, as leader of the Labour Party, sought its advice.
In terms of gender identity the homework survey form provides pupils with a list of over 20 options:
“How do you define your gender? The young people we talked with used the following terms; which of these best describes how you define your gender? Choose as many as you want.)
Girl Trans-boy Genderqueer
Boy Gender fluid Gender non conforming
Tomboy Agender Tri-gender
Female Androgynous All genders
Male Bi-gender In the middle of boy and girl
Young Woman Non-binary Intersex
Young man Demi-boy Not sure
Trans-girl Demi-girl Rather not say
Others (please state)”
Brighton and Hove councillors seem to be intoxicated, trans-fixed and paralysed by ‘political correctness’. In truth, the councilors, themselves, require counselling. Children with issues of gender identity certainly need support but it is unacceptable to provide this support at the cost of damaging the emotional wellbeing of other children. The casualties of the current gender-awareness offensive will be the silent majority of young children, especially our 4-year-olds.
Be concerned. Whatever is going on in Brighton is, as I told The Sun, very likely coming to a council near you any time soon.