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Education

Disturbing DVD that claims being trans is a ‘mental disorder’ sent to schools by Christian creationist group

Josh Milton November 16, 2020
Lobbyists at a religious group have mailed a DVD documentary packed with anti-trans dogwhistles and claims not grounded in science, activists warn. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Lobbyists at a religious group have mailed a DVD documentary packed with anti-trans dogwhistles and claims not grounded in science, activists warn. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Educators across hundreds of primary and second schools in the UK have been sent an anti-trans documentary by a creationist group branded as “harmful” by activists and local officials.

Since late October, school leaders and staffers have reported being sent DVDs by Truth in Science, a religious lobbying group which peddles pseudoscience and apparently favours tech as outdated as its views.

The organisation has allegedly posted a 28-minute documentary titled The Transgender Agenda to UK schools stretching from Kinross, Scotland to Warwickshire, England. It is billed as a “scientific and compassionate response to an ideology that cannot be supported by science, namely transgenderism.”

Indeed, academics involved in the documentary really flex their compassion muscle by comparing being trans to a “mental disorder” – a claim discredited by the World Health Organisation – and dubbing transness as a “troubling ideology […] targeting children”.

Many of the professors listed on the documentary have been regularly cited by some of the country’s most high-decibel anti-trans groups, activists say.

According to a trailer, the documentary is packed with freewheeling claims and mistruths about neuroscience and endocrinology, chiefly around the role of hormones.

In an accompanying letter posted with the documentary, Truth in Science director Andy McIntosh made a volley of unsubstantiated claims, such as that “most children grow out of” being trans, and comparing the healthcare options for trans people to an “unregulated live experiment”.

McIntosh, a former professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds, has written for various publications that seek to debunk evolution while promoting creationism and intelligent design.

“We have no agenda other than the well-being of children,” he adds in the letter.

Scientific research and medical experts have confirmed that trans people have higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicide attempts and other mental-health issues – unless they are affirmed in their gender and given access to healthcare, in which case their mental health is comparable to that of their cisgender peers.

It’s the latest odyssey in the “debate” over trans rights in the UK, where the anti-trans playbook has long involved pressure groups seeking to undermine teachers’ support for trans youth.

Local council urges teachers to disregard ‘unsolicited’ anti-trans DVD sent to UK schools. 

LGBT+ rights groups have jostled to sound the alarm over the campaign, with local Pride networks in Perth condemning the DVD while council officials urge teachers to disregard it.

“If you’re not super clued up on the transgender debate, something like this could be quite convincing,” Perthshire Pride co-chairperson Claire Mackenzie told The Courier.

“But it is full of misleading information and it is a real shame it is being sent out to schools.

“They are potentially very harmful, particularly when masquerading as something else.”

A local council representative stressed that the Perth and Kinross Education and Children’s Services, an agency tasked with working with vulnerable pupils, is aware of the “unsolicited” DVD.

“The Truth in Science The Transgender Agenda DVD has not been approved by Perth and Kinross Education and Children’s Services as a curricular resource for use within our schools and therefore staff have been advised not to share it with children and young people,” they said.

More: anti-trans, creationism, Education, Religion, school, Trans, Truth in Science

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