Looked After Children & Gender Dysphoria. 2

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Wallace Wong 

Wallace Wong is a Gender Identity Specialist based in Vancouver. He boasts that, of the 1000 children in his care, 500 are children from the looked after system. That is children who are, in some way, wards of the state. Wallace Wong works for the Ministry of Children and Families and also has a private practice.

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He arrived at his current career path after noticing how many “transwomen” were impacted by the HIV/AIDs crisis. He initially began working with adults but soon noticed that the age of those with “Gender Identity” confusion was becoming increasingly younger.

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You can listen to the full audio at this site. I imagine that many of you may diverge from their larger aims (as do I) however, given the dearth of coverage in other media outlets I will link to their research. This is the only way to honour my commitment to provide primary sources, where possible. The link is below.

Wallace Wong

The clips in my piece were included in the vimeo embedded in the above link. I have listened to it, in its entirety, and can attest to the accuracy of the transcribing. It is a long presentation and I can’t do justice to all of the issues it raises but below is a brief overview.

Wong argues that we must not confuse gender incongruence/roles with being Transgender but most of the examples supplied are of boys who like “girly” things. Expect lots of references to princesses and pretty things. He dismisses research showing high rates of desistance in children who, historically, claimed a trans-identity. He argues that “gender” is innate and quotes some research about hard-wired neurological causes based on MRI scans proving #LadyBrain. He also quotes some self-reported adherence to sex stereotypical behaviour, typically associated with the opposite sex. I suspect Wallace has not heard of the, Shakespearean, quote “the wish was father to the thought” (Henry IV, Part II). We are treathing retrospective wish fulfilment as if it is peer reviewed evidence. Laverne Cox & Caitlin Jenner are wheeled out to confirm the idea that children know they are trans age three. Caitlin, you may remember managed to father five children and win Olympic medals during his male life. Laughably, at one point a video commentator appears to think the existence of Facebook “genders” has some sort of evidential significance.

He is also at pains to dismiss any concern that confusion could arise between emerging homosexuality and a proto transkid. Similarly he argues that high rates of autism can be expected because both autistic traits and transgender traits are biologically determined. High rates of co-morbid mental health issues are to be expected, he argues, because being transgender is hard.

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Below Dr Wallace seems keen that we should know he is seeing patients as young as 3. He also makes it clear about the fast pace of this change and the fact that research has not kept pace with this development.

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Below is where Wong makes the startling admission that 50% (500 out of his 1000 referrals) are from the Ministry of Children and families. This means they are somewhere in the care system and commonly referred to as “Looked After Children”. Dr Wallace doesn’t appear to have much professional curiosity about the exponential growth in “transkids” over this period.

Jenn Smith (also based in Vancouver) is a male who expresses “feminine” and ascribes this to his experience within the care system. Jenn argues that children in care are particularly vulnerable to “identity” issues which also extend to “gender identity”. It was Jenn Smith who first made me consider this aspect of the debate.

You can catch up with Jenn Smith on his YouTube channel and here Jenn Talks specifically about this issue here:

Jenn Smith: Foster Kids

Listening to Jenn Smith talk it is hard not to be concerned about an estimated figure of one in ten LAC (Looked After Children) identifing as transgender. This is contrasted with an estimated figure of one in 200 of children residing with their birth families. Another disturbing dimension is whether the indigenous children, over-represented in LAC settings, are also being medicalised as “transgender”. This has dangerous echoes of the scandal of sterilisation of indigenous peoples which is a stain on Canada’s history. If they are included in this population, of transkids, that is a damning indictment of those tasked with the welfare of children in British Columbia.

Wong does identify the dangers of social contagion in his presentation. I suspect this is now such an obvious phenomenon he feels obliged to address it. He prefaces the quotes below with some arguments that the internet has allowed “trans children” to develop an awareness of their identity and find acceptance, and knowledge, in on-line communities. Below, he at least acknowledges the dangers of kids, particularly those “on the spectrum” (referring to Autism I assume) to be swept along with trans-ideation.

Astonishingly he acknowledges that 20% of Transgender kids are autistic but this is simply dismissed because autistic kids and transgender kids are “born this way“. This is not an uncommon feature of arguments from Gender Identity proponents. Once you embrace the belief of an innate gender identity you can find evidence everywhere and fit facts to confirm your hypothesis. Conversely if, like me, you are a sceptic the ideology has more holes than a string vest.

He introduces videos throughout his presentation and one is a parent whose child came out to them at three years of age. I have not included the parent’s quote but suffice to say, like a lot of these tales, it is a boy who likes pink and sparkly things. We are told that her original therapist counselled a watch and wait approach and quoted an 80% figure for expectations of desistance. The same presentation proceeds to rubbish a study based in the Netherlands which supported this observation.

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What the audience are not told is that there was only one Gender Identity clinic in the Netherlands so the researchers made the, entirely reasonable, assumption that loss to follow up could reasonably be correlated with desistance. The alternative was that the child had been taken abroad, and paid for treatment, rather than access the free treatment within the Netherlands.

Wong also rubbishes another study which found that most of the boys grew up to be gay. The unfortunately named “Sissy boys” were identified for their Gender non-conforming presentation. Here Wong argues that the study was flawed because they did not use boys who said they were actually girls. It does not seem to have occured to Wong that it was the 1970’s. Identifying as the other sex was not a social norm at the time. It is the near ubiquity of teaching about Gender Identity in our schools (especially in Canada) that has left a generation thinking you can choose your sex.

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Wong then utters this statement which shows he is utterly disregarding any research that suggests he may be making an egregious error. To much laughter he dismisses any caution with this facile statement. Apparently, if the 80% is correct he is lucky enough to be seeing the 20% who would persist. Crassly he also argues that some of those kids may not appear in the figures because they will have committed suicide. As I have said, many times, there is just no evidence for this epidemic of transgender suicides in adolescents. Wong may feel blessed and lucky but it was bad luck for any child who walked into his office.

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All of which takes me to the more egregious aspect of the advice Wong is dishing out. The question of how to overcome barriers to access to Gender Identity treatment was raised. Wong requests that this part of his presentation is not taped and then, after a side swipe at the gate-keeping goverment, he advises: “Pull a stunt. Suicide, every time, they will give you what you need

 This series is looking at the vulnerability of Children in Care; who have no parents to speak up for them.  Not all the parents in Vancover are absent.  It was also Vancouver who imprisoned a father who opposed the provision of testosterone for his  teenage daughter and refused to remain silent. It would be interesting to see who was the Gender Identity Specialist involved in that case.  Is there a connection? 

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I could not say but I certainly want to do a series on parents caught up in this nightmare.

If you can support my work it will be appreciated.  Below is one way to do so until we get more media outlets willing to cover the issues I cover on my blog.  Only if it is affordable and regardless my content will remain free. 

My next piece will be on the percentage of kids in care referred to GIDs, in the U.K. Are the researchers concerned that these, vulnerable, kids have no parents to question the medical interventions proposed? Or. Are they worried children in care are not being treated fast enough? Watch this space. 

Researching Gender Identity Ideology and its impact on Women and our Gay Youth. Support is always appreciated (I have no income) but I would be equally happy if you contributed to a relevant legal case, a crowdfunder for Lesbian and Gay News or Safe Schools Alliance

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Irreversible Damage: Abigail Shrier

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The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters  

Shrier’s book is a timely contribution documenting increasing levels of  concern over the rising rate of Trans-identifying Females. Young girls are having drastic surgeries/medical intervention, at ever younger ages, in a quest to become their “authentic selves”. Sadly, some of those young women are emerging, in their earlier twenties, to the realisation they were simply Lesbian or in flight from their sex for other reasons.  This self-knowledge sometimes comes after years on testosterone, double mastectomies  and even hysterectomies /ovary removal. 

Facts and figures on the rising numbers of these girls are included in Shrier’s book. Many of the statistics are from the UK because the NHS makes it easier to keep track of the figures.  In the US there are now tens of “Gender Identity” clinics to service the rising rates of “transgender” children /teens. This is a phenomenon across North America, Europe and Australasia. Shrier’s book documents this  with extensive references, an excellent bibliography and conversations with many people at the cutting edge. This includes practitioners working in the field or reporting on this area.  She also shares personal testimony from the young women and their parents.

I have kept quotations to a minimum because you really should buy this book! I have, however,  interspersed some links/blogs to expand, or  reference the UK context.  

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Censorship. 

When research papers, articles or books, are published on the phenomenon of Trans-identifying children/ teens, they are inevitably followed by calls to ban them, accompanied by attacks on the author, sackings, loss of office or sponsorship. This book is no different.

Here is Chase Strangio, from the ACLU (Americal Civil Liberties Union), calling Shrier’s book “dangerous polemic” and calling for it to be taken out of circulation.

863E533B-F491-42CC-8275-6EC01217F731The ACLU have a proud history defending Civil Liberties and Free Speech.  A legacy which has been utterly squandered by its advocacy of Gender Identity Ideology. As an organisation they appear  unwilling to accept that Women, LGB people and even Transsexuals,  have legitimate concerns about the extremist positions of Gender Identity Ideologues.  

Chase Strangio is a Transman and ACLU Lawyer.  Anyone questioning the transitioning of children seems to be perceived as an attack on Chase’s identity, as a man.  Choosing to critique a book without reading it seems to be common in this “debate” but  Chase claims to have actually read it.  This doesn’t  prevent Chase from seeking to deny other people the opportunity. This smacks of authoritarianism and is  shocking from an organisation which,  not too long ago, defended the right to free speech  for members of the Ku-Klux Clan.  

What is happening to Abigail’s book follows a familiar pattern of silencing. This happened to the work of Michael Bailey, Lisa Littman, Ken Zucker and many researchers whose work I have covered on this blog.

Lisa Littman

Lisa Littman coined the term “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria”. Lisa Littman spoke to parents with children claiming to be transgender. These children/teens had not shown any signs of discomfort, with their sex, during childhood, and their stories were also at odds with the experience / recollections of their parents. Diane Ehrensaft, a proponent of Gender Identity Ideology, made this statement about talking to parents (p.28). claiming it was akin to “recruiting from Klan or alt-right sites to demonstrate that blacks really are an inferior race”. I would contend that parents are demonised because we know when our children fabricate a fantasy trans-narrative. This knowledge is perceived as dangerous, as is (legal) parental responsibility, to safeguard our children from youthful mistakes. Parents who affirm biological sex are a direct challenge to ideologues, like Ehrensaft, who contend three year olds are competent to know their “gender identity”.

You can read more about what happened to Dr Littman here https://quillette.com/2019/03/19/an-interview-with-lisa-littman-who-coined-the-term-rapid-onset-gender-dysphoria/

You can meet Diane Ehrensaft here: https://youtu.be/DnILbwUL19Y

A tale of two sexes

Ms Shrier’s book centres teenage girls. This makes sense because young girls are emerging as the main demographic being harmed. The causes are also different for females. As a parent of one of the boys, caught up in this, I contend that, whilst there is some overlap in the causality, this is primarily a tale of two sexes. It therefore makes sense to cover boys separately. Let us hope someone takes up the challenge to look at the Transgender Craze in Our Boys. Maybe I will.

Autogynephilia

Shrier does not shy away from covering the more controversial issues accompanying Gender Identity Ideology in our society. This includes a reference to Autogynephilia (AGP) which is a male paraphilia. The love of oneself, as a woman, is the new love that cannot bear to be named. Acknowledging AGP tends to provoke narcissistic rage and backlash and explains a lot of the testeria in this “debate“.

Shrier also talks about the erosion of female only spaces (see anecdote about the bra-fiting for a teenage girl. p.143). She also covers the potential /actual destruction of female sports due to male inclusionary policies. Shrier quotes young women who told her the social cache attached to a transgender identity is in direct contrast to the disregard for Lesbians. (p.151). Why would you want to be Lesbian when it is mainly known as a category of porn? Indeed the depiction of young women, in porn generally, seems suffiicient explanation for a flight from the female sex. Looked at one way adopting a male identity is a perfectly rational response to a hostile environment.

School Policy

Shrier is also excellent on the way Transgender ideology is disseminated, particularly in schools. The same phenonemon is at play in the UK. Sometimes this is done overtly via a Transgender Policy but other times it is slipped in, covertly, under the guise of anti-bullying. To truly root it out you have to check school transgender policy but also anything referencing bullying or equality or inclusion. I am doing a series on all the policies I have found and downloaded. This is one.

School Transgender Policy 1. Brighton: Allsorts

Shrier’s also documents how parents are treated by these policies and by schools, generally.  Parents are  painted as a safeguarding risk to our children, if we don’t  immediately “affirm” a trans identity. I blogged about this here 👇 covering school policies advocating lying to parents about our children and “socially transitioning” them behind our backs. 

Putting the Loco in Loco Parentis

Another issue subject to scrutiny is the threat of suicide and the topic of transgender kids. Not just in the US but globally. This is despite the fact suicide attempts are actually no higher in trans-identifying children than other kids with mental health issues. Completed suicides are actually very rare in transgender youth but they are higher in the adult group post transition. One Swedish study, with the longest follow up time of any other study, found the suicide rate to be significantly higher than their comparator sex. You can read about this here:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885&type=printable

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This is one of the longest follow up studies and points to a need for more after care and a review of the outcomes for post-operative transsexuals. This area is replete with references to suicide as evidenced by the repetition of “Better a live daughter than a dead son” . Yet discussion on post-operative mental health issues is verboten.

I wrote about suicide, in transgender youth, below.

Suicide in the Trans Community

Ray Blanchard

Shrier seems to have spoken to most of the prominent voices in this debate. Ray Blanchard is the man who coined the term Autogynephilia. He is very good on the psychological toll it takes to present as the opposite sex. I have written about this, which I call “imposter syndrome on steroids” , after observing and listening to adult transsexuals. Blanchard goes a bit “bad on both sides” re Trans Activists and Gender Critical Feminists (p. 132) but then we do appear to be, or are, critiquing his life’s work.

Medical Treatment

The book is bold and unflinching on the paucity of medical research and provides case studies on the deleterious impact of experimental, medical, solutions to a trans-identity. She points out that there is no reliable test for an innate “Gender Identity”. There is no biological marker. Detransitioners met the diagnostic criteria in the same way as did those who persist, for now, with a medicalised solution to their distress. She explodes the myth that puberty blockers are a pause and emphasises the public data which shows that 100%, put on puberty blockers, will continue to Cross Sex hormones. This is not a pause, it is the introduction to, an almost inevitable, pathway to medical transition. Shrier deals with the risks of puberty blockers (p.165); the shocking statistic of a 5 times higher rate of heart attack in females on testosterone (p. 169) and the medical complications leading to the high rate of hysterectomies after 5 years on testosterone. (p.171). She is also not afraid to name leading proponents of Gender Identity /Medical transition such as Jo Elsson-Kennedy who dismisses post mastectomy regret with this flip response “if you want breasts later on you can go and get them”. (p. 172)

Personal Testimony 

The book is packed with personal stories from parents, adult transsexuals, desisters/de-transitioners. The bulk of these are females, as you would expect, but she does also reference young males. This approach allows us to meet some of the young girls/women caught up in the Transgender phenomenon, putting flesh on the bones of the statistics, just as surely as flesh is being put on the line. We hear the voices of parents endeavouring to navigate a path to protect their children, without alienating them. This is difficult and not always successful. Young women share their stories, one on being a Butch Lesbian, who identified as trans. The anorexic who swapped pro-ana sites for transgender ones. Crucially she ends the book with stories of those who made their way back, to reconcile with their sex and, very often to their formerly estranged families. Because: There is a way back!

Cultural differences

This is clearly a global phenomenon as I have tried to demonstrate. There are also some cultural differences.  I don’t think therapy and medicalised responses to children/teenagers distress are quite as embedded in the UK.  Though I am from the North of England and we can be a bit “haven’t you got any mates?” (Crocodile Dundee Style😉)   about North American reliance on therapy. Shrier has lots to say about parenting styles and our growing impulse to step in when our children encounter difficulties. The phenomenon of Helicopter parents is less embedded in working class culture but is definitely rampant in middle class parenting.  Overall this book translates very well, to the U.K. context,  and it is eerie how much commonalty there is in the experiences of parents on both sides of the atlantic. 

In Conclusion. This is a very important book.

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Purchasing Abigail’s book via the link, below, will provide funds to a UK Parent’s group (Bayswater Support Group) who support families, with children who identify as transgender, to navigate a path to wholeness.

My copy of this book will be going to a generous donor who has purchased it to help fund my work. If you wish to support me you can do so here.

If you are able to support my work please do so. I am unwaged and all my content is open.

Investigating the march of Gender Identity Ideology. The impact on Women’s rights and the cost paid by our Gay offspring & children on the Autistic spectrum.

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Putting the Loco in Loco Parentis

The Law: In Loco Parentis

Parents  entrust our kids to the School/Teachers to look after their safety and well-being, in our stead. Forcing our girls to share mixed sex spaces, and hiding information from parents is a grave dereliction of that duty.

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Transgender Guidance in Schools.

More and more parents have begun to raise concerns about School guidance, supposedly, developed to accommodate Transgender pupils. Grass roots organisations, such as Safe Schools Alliance, have emerged to challenge these  policies. In 2020, transgender guidance has been withdrawn in Kent, Cornwall, Shropshire, Barnsley, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.  There are challenges underway in three further schools, of which I am aware. Thus far all the guidance has been withdrawn rather than face a legal challenge.

The Oxfordshire case is illustrative of a problematic attitude to the protected characteristic of sex.  A 13 year old girl challenged Oxfordshire County Council  via a Judicial Review. Her case aimed to gain recognition of the conflict between the protected characteristics of Sex & Gender Reassignment.  The guidance from the Department of Education argues that the protected characteristic of Gender Reassignment   covers pupils who identify as Transgender. Link to government guidance is here

Here is the relevant excerpt and look who is advising them! GIRES!

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This is despite the fact under 18’s cannot apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate or, legally, obtain Sexual Reassignment Surgery, in the UK.  The Transgender pupils are therefore anatomically indistinguishable from the rest of their natal sex.

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Rather than face a judicial review the council withdrew the policy. They  are clearly hoping to hide behind the skirts/trousers of the EHRC. Oxfordshire issued a statement which contained no apology, to the female pupil. Instead the Council ends with a statement about the safeguarding of its trans-identifying pupils. Nothing about a duty to safeguard, potentially vulnerable,  natal girls.

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In this post I want to specifically focus on the way parents are regarded in these transgender toolkits.  Both the parents of children who manifest as Gender Dysphoric and the parents of other pupils.  I estimate I have looked at about twenty of these guidance packs. Below are examples of what they have to say about parents.

Most of the guidance refers to the high rate of  suicidal ideation, in our trans-identifying children. Yet the policies repeatedly state  there is no, inherent, safeguarding risk.  If our children reveal a state of gender confusion , to a member of staff, they are reminded that this is confidential  information, not to be shared, even with the child’s parents.  How can schools claim our children are at a high risk of suicide attempts and, simultaneously, state  there are no safeguarding issues. How is it  Ok to conceal this information from parents?   D7CA96FE-7B71-4AD7-B15E-78711FB533DC39310240-746C-45A5-A26D-17C3ED3F78DA

Suffolk council divides parents into the good and the bad ones.  The good ones “work alongside their child”.  Are the bad ones those who think the best outcome is a reconciliation to biological sex and not a  lifelong dependence on BigPharma?

Barnsley expresses the hope that parents will be concerned for their child’s welfare but is clearly sceptical.  At no point, in any of the policies, is there an understanding that  parents, who express caution, are the ones  acting in the best interests of our children.  Every pack I have examined is suspiciously  keen to emphasise actions the child can take independently of their parents.

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More sinister is an open statement that a school, in this case a Catholic school, can put in place a transition plan that does not involve the parents!  This is my old school and I have young relatives who attend there.

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Here is another Catholic school which labels parent’s as prejudiced. It then goes on  to make the claim that Parents/Guardians may not be the most appropriate people to guide their child through transitioning!  Why is transitioning our children seen as an unmitigated good? A direct attack on parental duty of care and parental rights from the Catholic Church!.  I am an atheist but it is quite astonishing to see the undermining of Parental responsibility emanating out of Catholic schools.

8C2137E2-0B16-4F7A-8F8C-F136CADA15CFLeicestershire Council appear to see themselves as a Tavistock (Gender Identity Services) referral agent:  Actually stating here that Teachers & School Nurses, even Youth Workers are able to make referrals! 66BC6D03-BD45-465F-BEC5-54B8FE753E88

233B594E-424C-410A-8EA7-310279D9D029Where are the parents in the Leicester guidance? Once again the confidentiality of the child is placed in the foreground.  What this actually means is that the school has the right to keep secrets from the parents. Even whilst so many of these packs claim our children are at a significant risk of suicide attempts. Still it is not a safeguarding issue?

This next clip is even more disturbing.  The Leicester policy sets out a scenario where one of the parents will be actively deceived about what is going on.

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Of course we can all think of scenarios where parents are a risk to the safety and well-being of their child.  Why are parents, who question the uptick of girls (and boys) with Gender Dysphoria, labelled as problematic. Having navigated this territory, for my male child, I was keen that he was afforded protection but not at the expense of the female pupils.  Puberty can be a difficult time for teenage girls and they too deserve dignity, privacy and protection. Like the parent below I was able to navigate a careful path between the two protected groups.  Unlike this parent, from the Cornwall guidance, I was not faced with a Social Justice Warrior undermining these careful arrangements.

9F8A8897-F48F-4E43-B6ED-259E65F964D2The Cornwall policy was jointly drafted with a female police officer. I was surprised the statement on the left made it into the document.  Apart from a disturbing focus on links to reporting #HateCrime it was not the worst Transgender policy I read. It is, however, a, regrettably, low bar. The document also brands parents as potentially prejudiced and again argues that the child may have a perfect legal right to exclude parents from any role in preserving their healthy bodies. 1EF8DEAB-396C-4E6F-AC3F-75269D776959

You can read about the Fraser Guidelines, and Gillick Competence, mentioned above  here.   Activists  argue that transitioning children /teens against their parent’s wishes is in line with the rights of young people.  You will start to see more references to these guidelines and Gillick competence. This is intentional and designed to draw a false equivalence to access to contraception.  References will also be clothed in Human Rights speak and references to bodily autonomy. 

7BB1BE2E-9B6D-47BD-8698-646083CAB591 A lot of these guidance packs go to some lengths to make sure schools know they can honour a pupil’s preferred name and pronoun. School systems can be amended to reflect this. There is no need for a legal name change.  They also point out that, once a pupil reaches 16 they no longer need parental permission.

Shropshire also favours hiding this information from parents who are not “supportive”. I know, first hand, of parents who only discovered what was going on, with their own child, when a letter was  sent home with a new name & pronouns.  Do not tell parents can be a very dangerous message.  Some parents have children with eating disorders, psychiatric co-morbidities, and other conditions which the school may be unaware about.

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The pack which seems to be the template for most of the packs I have seen remains in operation. This is the All Sorts pack, from Brighton and Hove.  A pupil’s right to confidentiality is elevated above parental obligations, or the rights of other pupils.  Again,  because they claim it is not a safeguarding issue it can be kept from their own parents and the parents of other children.05FCA681-B055-4296-A81F-A80DB1E8C7F3

Where a parent raises a concern, about a male-bodied person in girls changing rooms, the pupil/parent’s are admonished for denying the “girlhood” of the other pupil.  In this scenario, I as a parent of a trans-identifying male, agree with the female pupil and her parent’s concerns.  I would not want my son to be exposed to the hostility, that would likely ensue, from such a stance. At the same time, if the guidance is followed, I would be totally unaware my child had formally claimed trans-status at the school. Who does this protect?  Not my son. Not the girls in his school.

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Another common feature of the Transgender Guidance is the near ubiquity of signposting to  Mermaids Charity.  This charity is a keen advocate for keeping secrets from parents.  Here is an article on their website. It  was  modified so  children could quickly exit the site and avoid their parents discovering they are seeking counsel on  Gender Identity Issues.

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The BBC has now amended their guidance to remove signposting to Mermaids and other trans lobby groups.  I wonder how long it will take for all School guidance packs to do the same?

My Next blog will explore  this document?  Based on a project funded by the Government Equalities Office,

Here is what they have to say about parents.  This is a lie.  The Equality Act does not mandate pronouns.

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Tavistock. Part Two: Clinical Dilemmas

Talk by Polly Carmichael.

Part Two on the tension between different approaches for dealing with “Gender Dysphoria”.   Hopefully part one provided some background for any neophytes. Tavistock Clinic: Part One.

Dr Carmichaels speech is : here  The summary is taken from a transcription provided by Mumsnet volunteers; for which I am very grateful.

The  talk took place in the following context:

  • 4500% rise in the number of referrals, to the Tavistock, over a decade.
  • Rise in females (reversing sex ratio in less than a decade)
  • Tavistock pilot to place younger children on puberty blockers.

This change in protocol followed work done by Dutch Gender Identity Services.  As you will see, from my earlier blog, the Tavistock were under some pressure to revise their treatment protocols to allow earlier medical interventions.

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The evidence from introducing puberty blockers, at an earlier age, has resulted in children invariably progressing to cross sex hormones and entrenched on a medical pathway.  The pro-medicalisation Lobby argue this is because they are 100% accurate in identifying those children who would persist.  The alternative perspective is that the act of blocking puberty somehow locks in the Gender Incongruence. If this is correct we are medicalising those who would have desisted and, historically, many of those would simply be gay. I cover this here The Woke Gay Conversion Therapy?

There are many people working in this field who have raised this as a concern: 9AAEBE78-2449-4E00-B2BE-9351E9599D90

We don’t know whether these children would have desisted and reconciled to biological sex.  The pro-interventionists have another  perspective. They argue this is evidence the screening is working and it may be unfair to the children not put on this clinical pathway! This is also the argument used against setting up a control group. From the perspective of the Tavistock it would be unethical to leave a cohort untreated if they meet the diagnostic criteria for intractable Gender Dysphoria.  I do wonder if anyone has thought to include parents, who oppose medical intervention, to see what the long term outcome is for our children?

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Another startling admission is that we simply don’t know what the long term implications are on developing brains. 👇This is a clear admission this is an experimental treatment.  Have politicians,and parents,  been persuaded to take this risk because activists claim our children are at a high risk of suicide?  Have activists managed this by leveraging questionable data on likely suicide? (I blogged about this here Suicide in the Trans Community)

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This paragraph is important because there are still documents out there calling this intervention a “pause”.  Indeed here is Polly herself from the CBBC children’s programme “Becoming Leo”. 36D86977-4F65-4CD8-AF4C-2A7E48DF5E3F

Many people working in this field have postulated that going through a natural puberty  resolves gender incongruence in the majority of cases. Dr Carmichael is clearly aware of this research and emphasises that the treatment, at Tanner Stage 2, means that these children will at least have had a partial puberty.

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She concedes the paucity of long term data on outcomes. She also anticipates concerns  about competing mental health diagnoses.  In this way the “Gender Dysphoria”, it is implied, has to be treated to resolve these other difficulties. This neatly avoids any suggestion mental health issues underpin the “Gender Dysphoria”, or desire to find a label/treatment.

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The framing of this discussion is entirely reliant on whether you believe in an “innate gender”.  If you do believe a child can be born in the wrong body it  necessitates treatment.  If you believe gender is a social construct then societal sex stereotypes are the problem.  These seem to be irreconcilable belief systems.  Worth having a look at how Mermaid’s diagnostic criteria works.  Would anyone not meet the diagnosis threshold given this criteria?

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Dr Carmichael , below, frankly admits that the evidence has yet to catch up with practice. She further acknowledges there is no consensus and there is concern about the long term health impact. The only way this treatment can even approach an ethical justification is if you are confident that:

a) Gender Identity is innate

b) The Tavistock have a reliable system for targeting irreversible treatments only on children who would, in any case, have persisted. 

c) You believe data that suggests there is a suicide epidemic in trans-identified youth. {This makes intervention a life saver & justifies pharmaceutical interventions}.

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So what has effected this change?  Political Interest and Lobbying.  Let us not forget the role of the Women & Equalities Committee. Since it morphed, from a  Women’s committee, it has been successfully colonised. In its original incarnation it focussed on women’s issues.  As predicted, women’s concerns have been pushed to one side with a wider focus on “Equalities”.

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The quote below👇 touches on the real change in the landscape surrounding “Transgender” children. Dr Carmichael acknowledges that some children are being socially transitioned at pre-school age. This is also a reference to the growing condemnation of “watchful waiting” , now badged as a practice akin to #GayConversionTherapy.  The memorandum of understanding (MOU) she references commits to a ban on therapeutic work to resolve Gender Incongruence.  BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) & the BPS (British Psychological Society) have signed up to a ban on Gender Identity “conversion”.  The Royal College of GPs has also signed this MOU.

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The fact most desisters  are predicted to be gay  seems to have escaped their notice. Counselling, to reconcile to biological sex,  is now officially condemned by these, erstwhile, esteemed professional bodies.  As of May 2020 there are is a  further move to outlaw any therapy to address “Gender Dysphoria” by, once again, conflating it with Gay Conversion Therapy. See here Gender Identity Conversion Therapy

There’s a huge amount to unpack here. 👇

401C86F5-0FAD-422C-B5C1-170B87F2D93DDr Carmichael is not happy  the Tavistock  are being accused of not being sufficiently affirmative.  She does appear to be trying to raise awareness of the changing nature of the child referrals.  Her interpretation of the parents, mentioned above. does not accord with my own perspective.  Socially transitioning a three year old and then attempting to report a young child for the Hate Crime of misgendering another child!  Is  this the behaviour of parents who are simply being protective! If I was relaying this story, verbally, my incredulity would be at such a high pitch only dogs would be able to hear me!

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In the section below there are a lot of erms as Dr Carmichael hesitates over the admission the treatment compromises fertility . She is anxious about this, but not for the reasons you might expect. She is concerned about  young people who defer medicalisation to try to salvage their reproductive health. The reason for this is they may not “pass” ,if they delay long enough to have a chance at parenthood.  This is not an uncommon viewpoint. One practitioner in this field praises the children who are kind enough to see themselves as future child adopters.

Sacrificing fertility is quite a significant thing to ask children to consent to and yet her concern is one of “presentation”.  Polly is aware this is indicative of that great sin of “binary thinking”. {Its almost as if she knows, on some level, there are only two sexes!}  No doubt Polly would consider me a “biological essentialist” but, like many women (and men),  I was in my thirties before I desired children. I would not have made a mature  decision, to place my fertility at risk, at age 12.

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And that last sentence! Actually wondering how the Tavistock can support children to feel comfortable enough to live with their bodies!   Klaxon Klaxon Klaxon!! This is what parents would like to know!  Shouldn’t the first line of treatment be body-positive?  In less than a decade we seem to have normalised  a bodily dis-associative disorder and completely over-turned decades of work, especially for the female body.

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Another thing that is hard to keep up with is the removal of any reference to mental health issues. The diagnostic criteria for Gender Dysphoria has now officially been re-classified to remove suggestions it is a Mental Health issue.  I sense Dr Carmichael really wants  to find a way to talk about co-morbidities here. However  activists have successfully  rebadged Gender Dysphoria as a naturally occurring variation and references to mental health are removed from the official diagnostic manual.

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How many of these children/teens placed on an irreversible pathway may have benefited from some good therapeutic exploration of their motivations?  Therapeutic Interventions to resolve Gender Dysphoria

This is a good summary of what the impact of this Conversion versus Affirmation model does to practitioners in this field.  I diverge on many points with Dr Carmichael but she is right that we are favouring medical solutions to resolve psychological issues. The lack of psychological support has also been raised by Tavistock staff who have now left and are whistleblowing.

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To balance the pressure for medical intervention we need a diversity of voices. These should include detransitioners,  It should include parents of children struggling with this “condition”.  It should include people who understand the concept of an iatrogenic “illness”.  It should include people who have expressed concern about what we are doing to young people. We need a countervailing voice to Lobby groups like Mermaids, Stonewall and Gendered Intelligence.

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The above is not a bad summary.

  • We need more empirical data, less opinion.
  • We need to look at contextual factors. (School teaching on Gender Identity, for one)
  • I disagree about taking a lead from young people.  Detransitioners have taught us that.

We need to urgently take measures to make certain we are not  medicalising children who could have lived a life without hormone dependency and surgical interventions.

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The problem with this service is that it seems to be driven by people who see this as a social justice cause, They are excited at disruptive thinking, eroding or destroying social norms.  I will leave you with this quote from Bernadette Wren, who also works at the Tavistock. This is from the Transgender Equality Inquiry in 2015.  I sense that Dr Wren should have been more careful. Sometimes a social revolution doesn’t take the form you, naively, imagine it will:

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Suicide in the Trans Community

Better a live daughter than a dead son! 

This blog is in response to the consistent use of versions of the above phrase.   Parents are being told a failure to comply with medicalisation, for their “gender confused” offspring, will result in a significant risk of  suicide. Lobbying organisations are using suicide rates of “trans” kids to influence public policy, advocate for legislative change and dictate clinical guidelines for kids/teens with Gender Dysphoria. Despite the headline grabbing claims the data does not stand up to scrutiny.

A selection of headlines:

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A more recent one from September 2019 includes a direct demand that legal change is required to mitigate against these suicides:

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These are not isolated examples. This theme is used consistently by lobby groups, in particular, Mermaids. Below is a link to a taped Mermaids representative in a training session. When an audience member notes that some academics have criticised the data, on trans suicides, the trainer warns that academics can still be transphobic!    Mermaids Training.

Full statement from Mermaids on World Suicide Day here.  Note the statistic of 45% is still in use. They also then quote the general suicide rate, in under 19s, to support their case. This is not disaggregated to show any link to Trans identity.  World Suicide Day

Here is a slide presentation, used by Mermaids,  during a presentation at a conference in front of an audience of lawyers, press, NHS representatives and government officials. This was on 18th November 2016 at the Trans Equality Legal Initiative.

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Two key pieces of research are used to make claims of high suicide rates/attempts in the trans community. The first one is a study commissioned by PACE RaRe and the other was commissioned by Stonewall.  These studies may not have reached a wide audience but their message informed the ITV drama  “Butterfly” : which made liberal use of the suicide narrative.

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Here is a detailed debunking of the suicide stats,  authored by Associate Professor Michael Biggs, prompted by the ITV drama “Butterfly” : Suicide data. 

Here are some key excerpts:

That’s FOUR  cases over a decade. Each one a tragedy for the individual, and their parents,  but in no way supporting the ,manufactured, public perception, of a suicide epidemic in Trans youth.  These figures have been published by leading MPs who seem to be uninformed about their unreliability.

Here is Susie Green (CEO of Mermaids) claiming she is aware of 4 trans-suicides in just one year. There is no evidence to support this statement.

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The PACE RaRe study is available in full here: PACE/Rare LGBT suicide

Here is a full analysis of the data in the above study, in particular questioning the way these statistics have been used by Lobby groups. Suicide Myths

Below is a brief snapshot highlighting that the central figure is based on 13 trans young people who self-report attempted suicide.

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Included in the above report is correspondence with one of the authors of the study expressing concern about how the data has been used. Below is one example:

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The author of the study had this to say about the way organisations, with an agenda, are using their data:

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The second study under analysis is one commissioned by Stonewall, with an introduction by, former CEO, Ruth Hunt.  The full report is here

Attempts made to obtain the methodology were not forthcoming.  In Academia it is absolutely expected  that any published research is open about their methodology. This is so it can be critically evaluated and it’s robustness tested.  No peer-reviewed journal would accept research without knowing that the data set was available to scrutiny. The Stonewall research was not subject to peer review  and no dataset was forthcoming. 👇

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A detailed list of criticisms is here:

547201B2-C3BB-419F-814D-B7C63BBB055EIt is well demonstrated that Lesbian and Gay youth are more likely to be bullied and have suicidal tendencies.  Research needs to disaggregate the data to include sexual orientation however a research subject identifies. This is the only way to understand what is going on.  Hence point three, above, is important.

The report ends with a link to the Samaritans Guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide.  Samaritans: Media Guidelines

Remember that the Samaritans warn, repeatedly, that irresponsible reporting can foster suicide ideation in vulnerable groups. They warn it is dangerous to over-simplify narratives about suicide cases. In addition to focus on one of the deceased characteristics can harm those who share that trait.  (Please note that this in no way negates the real experience of individuals living through genuine distress either due to sexual orientation/ Gender Dysphoria or, as is often the case, both).

For parents with children/teens with Gender Dysphoria, the way the suicide narrative is presented can generate understandable anxiety. By way of reassurance I  repeat the guidance from the Gender Identity Services (GIDs) own FAQ page.

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Here are also Polly Carmichael (Director of The Tavistock, Gender Identity Clinic)  on the suicide statistics and how they are used: 5F578DED-E5FC-4BD8-A5B0-1FE4660E7A7E

The aim of this blog is to inform enough people to  rebut this narrative when we hear it. Whether that is in real life, diversity training, or on social media.  Please do also let Samaritans know when you see this irresponsible coverage. I live  in hope they are moved to make a public statement, or at least, a private overture to those peddling this dangerous narrative.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Professor Michael Biggs and Transgender Trend for all the work they do.