Over the last couple of years The Conservative Woman has repeatedly drawn attention to the dangers of transgender ideology, particularly for children, which Theresa May and her various Equalities Ministers seem set on turning into law.
In fact we have given vent to our alarm to such an extent that we made an editorial decision to give the topic a break. Sometimes less is more.
Today, however, I find myself rescinding that resolve after reading this devastating article in the Mail on Sunday by psychotherapist Bob Withers.
Sometimes it takes different language or a different perspective to communicate the enormity of what we have been allowing – even encouraging – in letting so many children change their gender with massive hormone treatment and brutal surgery before they are fully mature. Since 2011 the Tavistock Centre’s Gender Identity Development Service in London has seen more than 1,000 under-18s while NHS professionals continue to enable hundreds – possibly thousands – more to have major surgery to change their gender. It’s become a movement with its own momentum.
Withers argues from a position of 30 years of experience of dealing with mental health issues that allowing children to change sex is ‘a lazy and damaging solution and one which NHS professionals, teachers, politicians and the law are all too eager to embrace to signal their progressive views’. What is sold as a policy of medical respect for genuine choices is not the case at all.
As he explains it, the underlying truth which professionals either avoid, or are too scared to explore, is that trans identity is not the problem but the symptom of underlying mental health problems which remain unacknowledged and untreated. He writes: ‘In my field, for example, many psychotherapists are now afraid to properly question a patient who identifies as trans: afraid to explore their past, ask questions of their sexuality, or look into their mental health. They won’t go there, for fear of being struck off.’
This is why. Recently, 650 trans activists signed a letter published in Therapy Today, the house magazine of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, calling on anyone not practising ‘affirmation therapy’ (ie reinforcing the child’s belief, not questioning it) to be booted out.
Even raising the issue of ‘contagion’ or ‘popularity’ amongst schoolchildren – given the evidence of patterns of trans identity behaviour in various schools – Withers says is unsafe.
Under this ‘identity politics’ bullying, adults are being corralled into normalising a medical experiment on children of a kind that is horribly reminiscent of the now disparaged procedure lobotomy. This rightly became a byword for medical barbarism and an exemplary instance of the medical trampling of patients’ rights. These, I must stress, are my thoughts and words, not Withers’s. Yet here we are doing it again, on children, and sometimes with parental encouragement.
They may feel this is right way to go, but like lobotomy it is impossible to reverse. Furthermore the evidence is that the help so many parents seek is otherwise – it is not for sex change permission or a fast track to hormone treatment and surgery – as this letter from a parent adviser explains so clearly here. It refers to parents wanting counsellors who understand the pressures on teenagers who have knowledge of the plethora of online forums (and irresponsible Channel Four programmes) which are influencing suggestible, nonconforming, unhappy or isolated children and teens.
This is what Withers’s very brave article highlights – that soon such help will effectively be banned. Then we will indeed look back on this largely unquestioned rush to change our children’s sex as one of the darkest chapters in the history of medicine
You can read Bob Withers’s article in full here.