We have sent the following letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak:
Dear Prime Minister
Following the independent Cass review, NHS England is radically revising its approach to gender-distressed children and young people, having recognised that “gender affirmation” lacked a solid evidence base and in fact could cause grave harms. But this does not address the problem that is leading to soaring numbers of children developing gender distress and demanding to “socially transition” while at school.
The government has been complicit in creating this distress by allowing gender-identity ideology into schools and failing to provide schools with clear guidance on the law concerning sex and transgender identity. As a result, many schools are encouraging children to feel disconnected from their bodies and to imagine that they can be the opposite sex. This is eroding girls’ rights and protections, as well as undermining safeguarding for all children. And in failing to stop this promotion of an unscientific and harmful ideology in schools, the government bears some responsibility for the skyrocketing numbers of children arriving at gender clinics demanding puberty blockers and hormones.
The Department for Education must now issue strong, unequivocal guidance to schools making clear that they cannot lawfully accommodate “social transition” by children. That is, they cannot treat any child as if they are, as a matter of fact, a member of the opposite sex. Nor can they insist that the entire school community refers to any child as a member of the opposite sex.
Gender-distressed children need compassion and support, and where appropriate, should be referred to the local CAMHS service. But the only way that a school can treat both them and their classmates fairly and safely is by recognising everyone’s sex as an immutable and material fact. Schools must act in the best interests of all pupils, and they cannot do this while promising to uphold a lie.
If the government delays, practice in schools and gender clinics will further diverge. We can expect to see more and more children developing gender distress at school, and it will fall to gender clinics to try to help them. But that is too late to solve the problem. The government must act immediately to protect children.
We include two testimonials from parents that illustrate the harm done to children by social transition in school.
David Bell, retired consultant psychiatrist and former Governor, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Stephanie Davies-Arai BEM, founder of Transgender Trend
Marcus Evans, psychoanalyst and former psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Susan Evans, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and former clinical nurse at the Gender Identity Development Service, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Az Hakeem, consultant psychiatrist, psychotherapist and former head of the adult gender dysphoria psychotherapy service at the Portman Clinic
Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist and co-founder of Genspect
A parent whose daughter began questioning her gender identity at a state secondary in England five years ago asked us to send you this message:
“There is a lot of naivety in school leadership when it comes to gender-questioning children. Schools think they are being progressive, but they have no idea how much damage they are doing to children and their families. When the social transition of a child at school is kept from parents, it reinforces the idea in the child’s mind that telling their parents about what’s going on will lead to them being rejected. My daughter was terrified that this would happen (I can assure you, it never would).
“Another child at my daughter’s school announced a change in their gender identity, and was given a special assembly to celebrate. The government must put an end to this naivety in its schools guidance. Social transition in schools is not harmless. It has put many children, including my own, on a fast track to irreversible medical treatment.”
Another parent, whose son began questioning his gender at a private school in England two years ago, and who she now fears will soon undergo irreversible surgery after extended use of cross-sex hormones, asked us to include this message:
“Social transitioning needs to be ruled out in the government’s new schools guidance. It was in school that my son was fêted and treated as special when he said he was trans, and thus ‘really a girl’, all because the school had no idea what it was doing and took its cue from transactivist groups. I beg the Prime Minister to listen to the devastation of parents who have seen their children funnelled from social transition to medical transition by their school.”