A Kent school has been forced to change its toilet and changing-room policies after an 18 year-old transgender student, previously known as Liam and now called Lily, hired a solicitor who threatened the school with legal action if they did not comply with the Equality Act 2010 by allowing Lily to “be treated as a female student.”
This case raises important issues for all children and adolescents at school, as well as the teaching staff; issues that are not addressed in the Huffington Post report of the case (and in fact are never reported in any similar cases throughout the news media). The problems in this case are so obvious that it must take an effort of willful blindness to ignore them.
In an institution of education, we are expecting adolescents to suddenly forget their knowledge of male and female biological sex and believe that a male is female (and a female can be male) and therefore these categories are meaningless. This is a massive ask which puts all students in a position of having to ignore that sex exists and pretend that it doesn’t, in order not to hurt the feelings of one student. In the protection of trans rights, we haven’t stopped to consider the effects of cognitive dissonance when children in schools are expected to do this, or the practical day-to-day impact of these policies on other children.
Of course transgender students should not be discriminated against and of course schools should be quick to stop any bullying. It goes without saying that efforts should be made to accommodate the needs of every student. But there is a problem when one student’s needs supersede all others and especially when those needs involve everyone else redefining themselves in order to accommodate one student’s self-identity as truth. If Lily is a girl, then girls can no longer define themselves as the female sex but must accept that it is not their female bodies which make them girls, but their “identity.” Girls cannot be both a biological sex and an identity, it has to be one or the other because “identity” by definition erases biology.
The “transgender girl” becomes the only correctly-defined girl, the real girl, the one defined by identity and not sex. In order not to be transphobic we have to say that Lily’s male body is a female body.
So when we talk about transgender rights being about “equality for all” that’s not really true; this is an unprecedented situation for schools which demands a change in established meanings of words and everyone else’s complicity in using the new definitions, whether they agree with them or not. Issues around honesty, integrity, deception and manipulation are raised but can’t be explored or discussed: anything other than “Lily is a girl” is transphobic.
There are themes in this story which are common to many of these school stories and there are issues touched on which merit far more thought and investigation if a school is to fulfill its duty of care to all pupils, including those who identify as transgender.
First is the role of the transgender child as campaigner, mouthpiece and poster child for trans activism; it is very common for these young people to see themselves as pioneers in furthering a political cause:
“Coming out as transgender is very scary, but looking back it shouldn’t have been and that’s why I’m doing all this. I want people to know that it’s okay and we have the rights we have for a reason”
“To other transgender students I would say: keep fighting your corner, you deserve equality. Don’t let it get you down.”
We are told that Lily has now started a student group at school “to give younger people someone to look up to.” The role of campaigner is becoming an integral part of the transgender identity: these kids know their rights (in this case, finding a sympathetic solicitor despite lack of support from both school and family) but at what personal cost? To serve a cause orchestrated by adults is a seductive role which takes a young person’s locus of awareness and responsibility outside the self and provides the rewards of attention and status so craved by adolescents.
How healthy for a young person is the resultant inflation of entitlement when you are given the power to change the whole school to fit your sense of identity and you are feted by the media for doing so? Young people are not yet equipped with the tools to separate out these issues and see clearly what is happening, which is why young people are so vulnerable to exploitation by adults. Those suffering the real distress of “gender dysphoria” are being swept up in a movement rather than being given the space to work out their issues in private with appropriate support from adults with no agenda.
“Outraged fellow students” are inevitably also susceptible to a social justice cause, taking action on Lily’s behalf by starting a petition. One wonders where these students sourced their information for this sensationalist and wholly untrue claim to support their case:
“There have been zero reported crimes by a trans person in any bathroom ever. In comparison hundreds of thousands of trans people have had a crime committed against them in bathrooms (assault, murder) including in schools and especially when trans people are made to use their biological sexes bathroom.”
The Huffington Post reports: “The petition received more than 200 signatures, with many students expressing their anger towards St Simon’s” but on closer inspection the signatories come from all over the world, including many ex-pupils of the school – adults, in other words. So we don’t know the actual number of pupils who supported Lily, although there will obviously be some, especially if they have been sold false information such as that above, and also because of the peer pressure which characterises the adolescent years. Who would want to be “the transphobic one” who doesn’t sign the petition?
The other striking theme common to these stories is that the power given to a transgender child to change policies, so that everyone is obliged to show care and sensitivity towards them, is matched only by the breathtaking lack of sensitivity towards anybody else who is caused suffering in the process.
No-one need care about the siblings and the distress they suffer when a brother turns into a “sister” and they are expected to not only believe and accept it, but celebrate their sibling’s bravery like everyone else. In this particular case, the school was also concerned with the mental health of Lily’s younger sister:
“The member of staff was counselling Lily with her mother and younger sister, who is in our year 10. The younger sister was very upset about Lily coming out and the member of staff was trying to help with our key stage five pastoral manager.”
Will Lily’s sister be given proper counselling or just re-education once the teaching staff have taken their transgender training?
All children are affected by these policies; all children have the right to bodily privacy, dignity and comfort in toilets and changing rooms and boys too will suffer embarrassment and humiliation if a female catches them at the urinals. Single-sex facilities are there for a reason. But this particular male-to-transgender case highlights both that it’s girls who are put into a particularly vulnerable situation by the school’s new policy, together with the fact that they are completely invisible to the media. Nobody it seems is even prepared to notice that girls are losing established sex-based protections.
A spokesman for the school said:
‘We value highly the views of all our students, and take all points of view into account as we develop. We are confident that the attention we have given to transgender, including carefully listening to students, has been invaluable in us going even further to make sure all students are happy and comfortable, so that they can be as successful as possible.’
The issue of single-sex facilities should not be influenced by the views of the students themselves, because those views have been shaped by the media and by activists and nobody would dare speak up against them. Girls have no idea of the impact of losing their right to single-sex facilities because nobody is talking about it. They have not been fully informed in order to make their judgments, they have already been relentlessly exposed to only one side of the argument.
Girls will feel uncomfortable or threatened by Lily sharing their toilet or changing room not because Lily is transgender but because Lily is male. But as they are not allowed to recognise Lily’s maleness, the only possible reason left for any discomfort is “transphobia.” Girls will therefore not admit to their feelings, perhaps even to themselves, they will just feel stressed about going to the toilet, and perhaps give up sport if it means getting changed in front of a male. This is not “prudery” but a basic need for privacy.
Schools are in a bind because of their legal obligations under the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty to protect transgender students, but they also have a legal duty to protect girls as a sex-based protected category. If girls lose the right to set their boundaries, to say “no” to males coming into their spaces, new legislation takes away protection of a legally protected category of people who are already the most discriminated against and abused in schools.
The idea that a transsexual person is actually “born in the wrong body” is very recent, as is the practice of diagnosing children and adolescents as transsexual. The idea has spread like wildfire throughout the media as “truth” so every school can expect to have to deal with this issue at some point, as more and more children self-diagnose as transgender.
Schools will play a big part in fostering this experiment on children and need to think carefully about policies. The role of schools is crucial if we are to open up a space where “gender non-conforming” children and adolescents can exist peacefully without having to go to the extreme of medically altering their bodies and taking synthetic hormones for life in order to be able to do so.
We are building a Schools Toolkit and will be continually adding resources to our new Schools page. An introductory document “Creating a Welcoming School for “Gender Non-Conforming” Pupils” is available there to download now.
This Post Has 12 Comments
“… hundreds of thousands of trans people have had a crime committed against them in bathrooms”… If this is what passes for facts these days, these kids are in a lot of trouble. This is Liams last year in school, isn’t it? What a legacy! I despair.
“…zero reported crimes by a trans person in any bathroom ever….”
“… In comparison hundreds of thousands of trans people have had a crime committed against them in bathrooms (assault, murder) including in schools and especially when trans people are made to use their biological sexes bathroom…”
in the uk, assault is a crime, no matter who you are or which toilet you use. furthermore, there is absolutely no record i can find of any transgender person being murdered in a public toilet or changing room of any kind in the UK.
Even if i missed one, the stats still wouldn’t be remotely comparable to the number of young men who are murdered every year, or the women who lose their lives to male abusers twice a week, year in, year out.
Whoever is teaching these students, they are responsible for arming them with facts, not fallacies, and you’d think theyd think twice about letting students advertise their ignorance all over the shop.
This isnt about equality, its about male privilege. The privilege to keep on displacing girls and women wherever they have found a space for themselves. The privilege to self-identify as something they know nothing about except in their imagination and fantasy. The privilege to demand medical validation for a subjective ‘feeling’ by pathologising a healthy, normal physiology and reliance on lifelong medical intervention, gallons of concentrated pregnant mares urine and expensive, major, irreversible surgeries on the NHS requiring many revisions and with demonstrably unpleasant complications. None of which can actually change ones natal sex. Neither can it make others see you any differently. no amount of surgery will convince people you arent whatever you appear to be, and even if you pass well, deep stealth has absolutely no place in intimate relationships. Therefore , at the most deepest, most profound levels, the person transitions to a transperson, not the opposite sex. They cannot sustain relationships with honesty and integrity without exposing and acknowledging their biological sex. They can never erase the truth without erasing everyone in the past, erasing themselves and their biological origins, erasing the truth and reality of their past, coercing loved-ones and people around them into living what they know to be a lie, altering their language, ignoring their own perceptions, and offering up girls rights to female-only spaces in an effort to accommodate a single needy male.
Very well written. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for the links. 😀
Hear, hear! Thank you for your excellent response!
I wish I could understand how anyone could say this was ok. My daughter came to me out of the blue one day and said she was transgender. I have never felt so broken, I was so confused about this. I can only imagine how a child’s mind is suppose to handle this change. My little grandson ask how can his aunt be a man. I have no answer for him. I’m not going to lie to him and tell him something I don’t believe myself. I feel the media as well as social media and Hollywood have made this some kind of, it’s ok do what feels right for you, know one thinks of the consequences of younger children, who only no boy or girl.
Your analysis in this post, as in others, is extremely perceptive, logical & well put. As you note, expecting everyone in a school setting to adopt or go along with the trans ideology/idiotoloy is essentially a form of gaslighting. Also, the notion that someone can change gender/sex because s/he “feels like” the opposite sex flies in the face of so much of what children are supposed to be learning in schools, such as a knowledge of fundamentals like maths & biology, critical thinking skills, & a sense of reality about the world, themselves, & how they fit into the world. Though they claim to be terribly oppressed & victimized, most of these trans teens & kids, like the men who say they’re women running the trans agenda, display a huge & worrying sense of entitlement, & appear overly selfish, self-involved, narcissistic, thin-skinned, & superficial – not traits most of us want out kids to have. And the attention & props these trans kids who turn crusaders get from trans activists & the media only feeds their grandiose self-importance, which doesn’t augur well for their futures. Thanks so much for your efforts.
i feel so sorry for the younger sibling who is herself trying to negotiate adolescence and puberty in the context of her big brothers needs being the centre of care and attention and his rights and needs over-riding all of hers.. just as she is trying to develop her own identity unhindered by female stereotyping, this young man comes along and centres everyones attention on how stereotypical ‘girlie’ behaviour = female (despite all material evidence to the contrary) his need to hang out in the girls locker room and to force young girls to validate him supersedes the wellbeing and safety of this young girl and her peers..? great harm is being done to this child. her brother is legally an adult. he shouldnt be in childrens female private spaces under any circumstances, let alone because of a mental illness or sexual fetish.. she is being seriously gaslighted – she KNOWS her brother is a boy. she knows exactly who and what he is. in all likelihood, she is acutely aware of his sexual propensities and its quite likely she has experience of him ‘borrowing’ and appropriating her clothes. Among all this she needs to be heard before her own identity is crushed.
Great article, brilliant thoughtful letters. When will this trans-trend implode?
It is child abuse.
Thank you so much, once again, for your excellent analysis.
The core issue is: “Girls cannot be both a biological sex and an identity, it has to be one or the other because “identity” by definition erases biology”.
We need legislators, schools and parents to read your article and understand that the two definitions cannot be reconciled: they are logically incompatible.
One day, hopefully soon, GD will be recognized as akin to anorexia nervosa, which is another disorder of the mind causing the sufferer to believe that their body is the wrong shape.
And then the law on sex and “gender” equality needs to be brought back into conformity with biological and scientific reality.
GD sufferers of course need protection as any person suffering from a continuing mental health disability needs protection. Mental illness is already a protected characteristic under employment law.
I agree, the definitions can’t be reconciled. So let’s abolish the concept of biological sex – it’s both fictitious and extremely harmful. In fact, since gender dysphoria is primarily caused by cissexism, eliminating the idea of biological sex would eventually dramatically reduce dysphoria.
Danielle. You are insane.
Nice ableism you’ve got there, Artemis. Definitely convinced me that I’m wrong. Well done.