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Teachers should be forced to misgender trans kids unless they have ‘permission’ from parents, right-wing think tank suggests

Nick Duffy July 1, 2020
The report calls for trans kids to be misgendered unless they have 'permission'

The report calls for trans kids to be misgendered unless they have 'permission' (Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash)

A Civitas think tank report has demanded that transgender young people who do not have “permission” from their parents to transition should be deliberately misgendered at school.

The influential right-wing UK think tank has published a report on the so-called “corrosive impact of transgender ideology”. It draws on the repeatedly-debunked conspiracy theory of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” as it calls for trans rights to be curtailed.

The report, penned by Spiked columnist Joanna Williams, repeatedly cites activists from anti-trans lobbying groups to justify spurious assertions about the impact of trans rights.

Drawing on age-old tropes frequently used to target minority groups, Williams questions why “transgender adults are disproportionately represented in certain professions” such as the media, and suggests that “the transgender rights movement has been able to wield influence far in excess of the number of transgender-identifying people” by intimidating public figures into compliance.

Civitas think tank report spreads false claims about young trans people

Trans children are one of the biggest targets of the report, with Williams suggesting a growth in the number of young people identifying as transgender is down to schools “gaslighting young children” and “encouraging young children to question their gender identity”.

The report goes on to falsely claim there is “little evidence” to show that positive affirmation of the gender identity of young trans people is of benefit, despite the plethora of evidence that denying a person’s gender identity can cause serious harm to their mental health.

Among the changes recommended by the report is a total ban on the “the prescribing of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to anyone under the age of 18”.

Of course, placing a minimum age limit of 18 on drugs intended to delay the onset of puberty would in practice outlaw their usage almost entirely, as teens typically go through puberty well before their 18th birthday.

The Civitas think tank report takes aim at LGBT+ people
The Civitas think tank report takes aim at LGBT+ people

The report itself sets out no apparent basis for the recommendation on puberty blockers beyond questioning the legally-established competence of children to consent to medical treatment, as well as a suggestion that the drugs — which have been used safely by cisgender people for decades — might have potential side-effects.

The Civitas report conspicuously fails to note a US study published in January on the “life-saving” impact of puberty blockers, which found their use was strongly linked to a decrease in mental health problems and suicidality.

Teachers should deliberately misgender transgender children if they have unaccepting parents, report suggests.

Another recommendation of the report is the imposition of an anti-transgender policy in schools across the UK.

It asserts: “No child should be permitted to ‘socially transition’ at school (ie, change name, pronouns, uniform or use the changing rooms and toilets intended for members of the opposite sex) without the permission of their parents.”

Once again, the basis for the specific recommendation is not actually set out in detail.

Studies have demonstrated time and again that affirming the gender of transgender people is linked to positive outcomes — while failing to affirm trans people’s identity has been linked to depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behaviour.

Requiring ‘permission’ from parents to exist would also create clear safeguarding to concerns for trans people from unaccepting families.

Other recommendations set out by Williams includes more familiar but no less horrifying calls for “a moratorium on all reform of the Gender Recognition Act” and for the government to “reiterate permission for sex-based discrimination to preserve female-only services”.

Williams also calls for schools to be “encouraged” to “separate out the teaching of lesbian, gay and bi-sexual [sic] relationships from teaching about transgender” — and we can’t think of a single time that a Tory government’s “encouragements” of what not to teach has ever backfired before.

Given the report happily quotes groups like Transgender Trend, Fair Cop and Fair Play for Women while completely ignoring the weight of scientific and medical consensus, you may not be too surprised to hear that Williams herself harbours some controversial views. Previously she faced calls to be deplatformed in 2018 ahead of an appearance at King’s College London over her views about feminism and trans issues.

In her columns for Spiked and The Spectator, Williams has lavished scorn upon the MeToo movement, modern feminism, inclusive sex education, drag queen story time events, and — we promise we’re not just spinning a Daily Mail roulette wheel here, it really is just that tediously predictable — Meghan Markle.

More: civitas, think tank, Trans

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