A recently released guide, targeted at schools about transgender children, has been slammed by LGBT groups, who say it perpetuates myths and could potentially harm young trans people.
Transgender Trend, a group which describes itself as parents “concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender”, released the resource pack yesterday.
The report, which says it aims to “protect vulnerable teenagers from political ideology”, tells parents that gender non-conforming children are likely to accept the sex they were assigned at birth, or that they will become gay or lesbians in adulthood.
It accuses transgender activists of teaching children an “ideology as fact promoting language and concepts which are anti-science”, arguing that transitioning is glamourized on social media.
Included in the report – called ‘Supporting Gender Non-Conforming and Trans-Identified Students in Schools’ – are four testimonies, allegedly from gender non-conforming individuals who no longer identify as transgender.
One says that the belief they were trans “was largely due to internalised homophobia and misogyny”, while another says that the transgender movement is “regressive, homophobic and reinforce[s] sex stereotypes”.
Another testimony, from a pastoral leader in a comprehensive school, says children are now coming out as trans because it is “fashionable”.
The teacher adds: “Children which I suspect might be LGB are most likely to come out as trans … [it] means they are far less likely to be victimised, as being trans carries so much power”.
The report continues to say that “the majority of trans girls are lesbians” and that children ought to be encouraged to feel “comfortable in their own (sexed) bodies”.
The publication has been fiercely condemned by the trans youth work organisation, Gendered Intelligence, which accused it of limiting “young people’s access to information and potentially life-saving support.”
Gendered Intelligence told PinkNews: “[The report] encourages schools to humour young trans and gender questioning students, rather than affirming and celebrating them.
Its censorious approach to young people’s futures is intentionally provocative in how it erases the real, lived experiences of trans youth.”
The group also accused Transgender Trends of paranoia and inaccuracy, saying: “Talking about gender diversity and trans lives does not make someone trans, but can only aid an understanding of the broad range of gender expressions and identities that already exist in society.”
“Transgender Trend has reduced gender diversity in schools to a zero-sum game, where LGB youth are played off against their trans peers.”
“True trans inclusion looks at the way gender affects every child and seeks to liberate all of us from harmful gender stereotypes.”
LGBT campaigning body, Stonewall, also blasted the report, labelling it a “deeply misleading piece of work”.
Hannah Kibirige, the organisation’s Director of Education and Youth, said: “The advice it contains is inaccurate and extremely damaging, and to follow it would risk schools failing in their duty of care to vulnerable young people.
“The pack not only perpetuates the myth that listening to a young person will somehow make them trans, but also fails to reflect the actual lived experiences of trans young people.
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More than half of trans pupils (64 percent) experience bullying, with nearly one in 10 (nine percent) being subjected to death threats at school”.
Kibirige called for schools to listen to trans pupils and applauded the “many schools” who are taking steps to include transgender students.
Transgender Trend has denied that it or its report is anti-trans, saying it has the welfare of transgender children in mind.
“The Transgender Trend schools resource pack provides evidence backed information to support the welfare of all gender nonconforming children, including LGBT children,” said the group’s spokesperson and founder, Stephanie Davies-Arai.
She added: “Although there have been some negative reactions from transgender activists, the fact that it has been warmly received by teachers, parents and educational professionals shows the demand for this resource, and we will be constantly updating it to maintain best practice.”
The group describes itself as “left leaning and liberal” with varying religious views.
However, under the ‘Detransition’ section of its site, the organisation links to multiple blogposts by Walt Heyer, a right-wing activist who campaigns against sex change surgeries.
Heyer runs a self-named Ministry, in which he offers advice to pastors on how to provide “redemption and restoration” to trans people.
Heyer, who describes himself as a ‘recovering transgender’, says he “has been through the church, I have been redeemed and restored through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The document has been downloaded more than once every minute, according to Davies-Arai.