This is a guest post from a supply teacher who describes the transgender lesson she was a sked to teach to children as a “well-funded, dangerous social and medical experiment” and asks whether people are aware that this has become standard teaching throughout secondary schools in the UK. This teacher’s testimony was originally published as part of a longer post back in 2016 but we thought it was worth revisiting as a stand-alone piece.
A well-funded, dangerous social and medical experiment
As a supply teacher, I get to teach in many different secondary schools when a teacher is off sick or on maternity leave. The main subjects I teach are Religious Education, now often called PHSE, Citizenship or ethics. As a qualified RE teacher I am usually left to prepare my own lessons for students.
This year I taught in several schools that asked me to include lessons on Transgender as part of the syllabus. I am used to schools asking me to include special lessons on, for example, smoking, drugs, financial management, career options etc. Sometimes material is provided but usually I am asked to make my own lesson resources. The last school I taught in I was given 3 lessons on Transgender issues to include as part of the syllabus. The content of these lessons made me feel very uneasy.
The three lessons I was asked to deliver were like something from the 50’s in terms of gender stereotypes. Slick animations showed diagrams of boys with mainly blue brains and girls with mainly pink brains. Amongst these pink and blue-brained figures were a minority of boys with pink brains and girls with blue brains. A video interview with a doctor explained that sometimes biology gets it wrong and a boy or a girl will be born with the “wrong” brain in the “wrong” body. But, now it is all ok because medical science can “fix” this and put the right brain in the right body. Interviews with happy trans kids who had taken drugs to stop puberty and were awaiting “gender reassignment” surgery made the whole thing look perfectly ordinary.
The lesson continued with explanatory diagrams and explanations about how easy it is to change sex now. Any child who thinks their problems are a result of their being in the “wrong” body is encouraged to explore gender reassignment as a possible solution. There was no mention of any side effects or of the long-term consequences of taking such an important step.
Normally at the end of a controversial lesson, students are keen to debate the issues. RE lessons are often lively as the syllabus includes lessons on capital punishment, alcohol, war, abortion, drugs, racism etc. Both sides are always presented. What was different about this lesson was that no opposing views were included in the material provided. There was no chance to debate the issues in any meaningful way. Unproven theories such as males having blue brains and females having pink brains were presented as scientific fact. Consequently, there were no questions at the end of the lesson, just a stunned silence. I wanted to encourage the students to think critically about the issues but the time and material given made no allowance for that. I was also very aware that any attempt to challenge the carefully prepared message could lead to my dismissal.
I spoke to several other teachers who explained that they had had a training day earlier in the year when a transgender person had come into the school and told them how they should behave with young people questioning their gender and what the main issues were. There was no debate about whether this should or should not be included in the syllabus, it was simply “this is what will be taught from now on”. Several teachers told me they did not feel comfortable about teaching these lessons to year 7 pupils (aged about 11) but they did not feel they could speak out for fear of being labelled transphobic or worse, losing their jobs.
These lessons are now part of the syllabus in most secondary schools I have taught in. I wonder if parents are aware of this. I wonder if this is perhaps the reason there are now so many more young people presenting for gender reassignment. The year 7 pupils I taught these lessons to had probably never thought of it before, but they certainly will now. I wonder how many young people going through the normal angst and worry of adolescence have been encouraged by well meaning adults into believing the root of perfectly ordinary problems lie in their being born into the “wrong” body.
The whole thing felt like a well-funded dangerous social and medical experiment. We do not know the long-term consequences of such medical treatments yet young people are being encouraged to see it as perfectly normal to change sex. I wonder if this will be the next child abuse scandal in 20 years time as these children realise they are unable to reverse an ill-informed decision made before puberty. As a teacher of 10 years I know how squeezed in-school teacher CPD training is. The one or two days teachers get a year are usually about curriculum changes or important whole school initiatives. Yet schools are giving precious days of training to this bizarre educational experiment.