UK

Tory MP claims trans kids ‘going through a phase’ in letter to schools

Josh Milton June 17, 2022
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Tory MP Nick Fletcher speaks in Parliament

Tory MP Nick Fletcher. (Screen capture via Twitter)

Amid the cost of living crisis, war and climate catastrophe, a Conservative MP sent every school in his constituency a ranting letter about how trans kids are going through a “phase”.

Clearly with nothing better to do, Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher called on South Yorkshire head teachers to clarify their positions on trans pupils before sharing his unsolicited anti-trans thoughts.

“I believe that quite simply boys are boys and girls are girls,” the letter, obtained by the BBC, says. The 49-year-old recalled his childhood where some girls were “tomboys” and “usually prepubescent boys … liked the company more of girls”.

“This in itself is nothing new. What is new is the way it is now viewed. It appears from the media that it is now seen by our children and young people that they may be or actually are transgender when it comes to feelings of being a boy or a girl,” he said.

Fletcher claimed the media “glamourises” the “transgender lifestyle”, something he says is an “ideology”.

“I’m afraid [this is] affirming something that is nothing more than a phase,” he added.

Fletcher said schools are “afraid of being classed as transphobic” but called for teachers to “push back”.

“Children are precious and our job is to guide them through the difficult times in their life,” he said, before writing without a hint of irony, “not pigeonhole them or set them on a path of puberty blockers and irreversibly infertility and HRT.”

Yes, people help support children in all the ways they can – just not if they’re trans, apparently.

Trans youth have often found their lives reduced to a culture war by politicians. (Belinda Jlao/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Several schools confirmed to the BBC that they received the letter. One school said Fletcher’s letter was “neither helpful nor positively received”.

“I would have preferred to receive a letter supporting teachers after Michael Fabricant’s comments about teachers drinking during lockdown,” Joe Brian, head teacher at Conisbrough Ivanhoe Primary Academy, wrote in a reply to Fletcher.

“Or to discuss the fact that teachers have had a real-term pay cut. Or to talk about the stress that pupils are under doing SATS.

“I’d like to know what his thoughts are on teaching in the round.”

He added: “I don’t think we need advice from [him] on how to deal with this single issue.”

Speaking of single issues, Fletcher has in recent weeks sought to take any opportunity to tear into trans rights. During the highly-anticipated parliamentary debate over the government’s trans-exclusionary conversion therapy ban, Fletcher similarly suggested again that being trans is a phase.

“That is where I am coming from — from the point of view of parents, teachers, men of the cloth and others who want to be able to say, ‘just watch and wait,’ or to ask why,” he said on Monday (13 June).

And during the parliamentary over the legal recognition of non-binary people, Fletcher urged parents and guardians to “push back if their child says they are non-binary or trans.

Most kids who socially transition continue to say they are trans five years later, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Pediatrics.

For many LGB+ people, being told their identities are a “phase” is all too familiar.

When I was growing up I was always told being gay was a phase and you’d grow out of it,” Steve Slack, former chief executive of Sheffield LGBT+ youth charity SAYit, told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“Just let people be who they are and what they are.”

More: Nick Fletcher, UK

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