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Norman Wells: Pandering to the transgender agenda is pandering to a delusion


Which toilet facilities should I use – the ladies or the gents? It hardly sounds like the sort of question calculated to spark national controversy or to merit engaging the minds of education administrators and government legislatures. Yet on both sides of the Atlantic, it is fast becoming a pressing issue.

In the United States, the Justice Department and the Department of Education are insisting that: ‘A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity…’ The discomfort that this approach may cause to others is considered insufficient to justify a policy that disadvantages transgender pupils. Meanwhile, in the UK, student unions at three British universities are campaigning for sanitary towel bins in male toilets ‘for men who menstruate’.

Toilets aside, the transgender agenda has made massive strides over recent months. There have been ‘transgender days’ in primary schools to raise issues surrounding gender identity, and a CBBC documentary about a girl who now identifies as a 13-year-old boy was judged the best children’s programme at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards for 2016.

A short-lived online survey for 13-18 year-olds released by the Children’s Commissioner for England, asked teenagers, ‘How do you define your gender?’ and offered 23 options, including ‘gender fluid’, ‘genderqueer’, ‘tri-gender’, ‘all genders’ and ‘intersex’. In case no single option adequately expressed how the young people felt about themselves, respondents were invited to ‘Choose as many as you want.’

Not to be left out, the politicians are also jumping on the transgender bandwagon. In January, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report on Transgender Equality recommended that ‘Trans issues (and gender issues generally) should be taught as part of Personal, Social and Health Education’ in schools. It further recommended that ‘provision should be made to allow 16- and 17-year-olds, with appropriate support, to apply for gender recognition, on the basis of self-declaration’.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has advocated ‘enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity’ and called for ‘greater recognition and greater protection’ for people who do not identify as a man or a woman to be a priority for the current parliament.

Has the world gone mad?

In the not-so-distant past a man who claimed to be a woman, or a woman who professed to be a man, would have been regarded as seriously deluded at best, and treated as an object of pity.

It is a simple fact of human experience that women menstruate and men do not – no matter what the men and women concerned may feel about themselves. A person’s sex is an objective fact. For someone to claim that he or she is something other than his or her biological sex is a sign of confused thinking and should be treated as such.

Yet now, in the name of ‘trans inclusion’, we are expected to take such claims with the utmost seriousness. And it’s not just a question of ‘playing along with it’ either. We are instructed to align our own thinking to the delusions of a tiny minority of people who are persuaded that their gender differs from the sex they were ‘assigned at birth’.

Not only that, but schools, universities, hospitals and other public institutions are expected to adopt policies and introduce procedures and practices on the basis of a delusion.

One of the most disturbing things about gender ideology is the effect that it has on our perception of reality. Imagine that I, as a middle-aged, white British man, tell you that I am a young, black African woman. If you were to address and treat me as such, you would be acting contrary to the clear evidence staring you in the face. Quite literally you would be calling black white, and white black. You would be placing my subjective feelings above the objective facts.

And your ‘enlightened’, ‘progressive’ attitude would not be doing me any good. If I were genuinely confused about my identity, you would merely be reinforcing me in my confusion and delusion.

Last year over 1,400 children who identified as transgender were referred to the Tavistock Clinic Gender Identity Development Service, twice the number referred in 2014. The number of under-18s receiving gender treatment from the NHS Gender Identity Disorder Service similarly saw a massive increase from 97 in 2009/10 to 1,013 between April and December 2015. If gender ideology continues to take root, the confusion will only increase and those numbers will rise.

A truly compassionate approach towards those struggling with feelings at variance with their biological sex would honestly, gently and patiently seek to help them to recognise and accept what they are, and not pretend that they are what they are not.

(Image: Cory Doctorow)

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Norman Wells
Norman Wells
Norman is the director of the Family Education Trust and author of Too Much, Too Soon: The government's plans for your child's sex education

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