Times article on trans reforms slammed: ‘This is not political correctness, this is children dying’
A Times article which says the government’s plans to improve the process for legally changing gender will harm children has been slammed.
On Sunday, the government announced a move to streamline and de-medicalise the Gender Recognition Act, to allow transgender people to more easily change their legal gender.
The progressive move was welcomed by a huge number of LGBT activists.
However, it prompted a backlash from some who desperately yelped that political correctness had gone too far. Too many rights for too many people, it seems.
Today in The Times, Clare Foges, a former speechwriter for Prime Minister David Cameron, wrote that the new reforms – which have not been proposed in any concrete way – would “create a world of confusion and anxiety” for children.
She states that giving children the freedom to self-define – which seems to be outside of these potential reforms – would worsen mental health problems in young people.
“I am no expert on children,” she says.
But, she continues, seeming to express intimate knowledge on the subject, “children…are being led to believe, on social media and in schools, that gender is simply a lifestyle choice.”
Foges also says “all of the great legislative battles on equality have been won,” which will be news to many campaigners, before going on a tirade laced with hypotheticals.
“If they don’t enjoy ‘girly’ things like make-up are they perhaps a boy?”
She then confuses the concepts of gender and sexuality, saying: “If they have a crush on people of both sexes could they be agender?”
Foges adds: “If they simply feel different to everyone else and uncomfortable in their own skin, common enough in adolescence, might they be genderfluid?”
This viewpoint was dismantled by Susie Green, the chief executive of Mermaids, a charity which campaigns for the rights of gender nonconforming children.
“Once again, people who this will never affect, who have no issues around their gender and never will are attempting to dictate to a vulnerable population how they should be supported,” Green told PinkNews.
Pointing to the latest Stonewall statistics, she added: “Trans children have a 45 percent suicide attempt rate, and 1 in 10 young trans people receive death threats in school due to ignorance and prejudice.
“Surely,” she added, “any moves to both educate and support these young people should be embraced.
She said that “young trans people feel invalidated,” and that articles like this “question their identity and sense of self.
“This is not political correctness, this is children dying.”
On the point Foges makes about all of the great legislative battles on equality having been won, Green said: “I absolutely don’t think so.
“We’ve got a very long way to go in looking at the way trans people are treated in all walks of life.
“There still needs to be far greater protections, not to mention the way they’re depicted in the media.
“Essentially, we want children to grow up and be valued members of society, so we have to acknowledge and embrace the differences that are there.”
She said that “not doing so is not helpful, and can actually be very detrimental to those young people affected.”
Mermaids provided quotes from the father of a trans child, who said that “our kids and youth are scared – they are being bullied in our schools, they are being demonised in our press and they are self-harming”.
A Stonewall spokesperson said: “We’re disappointed to see another attack on trans identities this week, and these comments certainly underline the need for more education.
“It’s vital that all young people feel supported and know that all identities are valid and, no matter who they are, they will be loved and accepted.”
Foges is not the only person who has been given the chance to object to trans people gaining more rights in a major national publication.
Helen Lewis, the deputy editor of the New Statesman, wrote in The Times that coming out as trans should be treated like changing nationalities.
And a Sunday Times article also drew criticism for the way it reported the government’s proposals.
Tim Shipman and Jason Allardyce wrote: “Adults will be able to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis under government plans that will transform British society.
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“Men will be able to identify themselves as women – and women as men – and have their birth certificates altered to record their new gender.”
Women would identify as women – and men as men – under the new plans, which acknowledge trans rights.
Paul Embery, a Fire Brigades Union official, also came out against the government’s plan, comparing gender identity to weight, height and attractiveness.
He added that “forcing society to recognise someone as one gender when he/she maintains the anatomy of another is ludicrous.”
The FBU has refused to condemn Embery’s remarks, despite Stonewall saying that “comments like this underline how much work there is still to be done to make trans equality a reality.”