Today the Sunday Times has reported that the government is to scrap plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act which would allow self-identification of sex. A formal announcement is expected by the end of next month. We welcome the contents of the leak which address the concerns that have been at the heart of our work for the last five years.
In schools a system of self-identification of sex has already been implemented through an experimental ‘affirmation’ approach towards children with gender dysphoria, together with new policies allowing children to use facilities based on their ‘gender identity’ rather than their sex. The welcome commitment by government to re-establish single-sex facilities such as toilets in public buildings must also extend to schools for the privacy of all children and the safeguarding of girls.
We welcome the introduction of safeguards for young people under the age of eighteen to make it more difficult to access medical interventions that will have irreversible effects on their fertility. Healthcare must be placed back in the hands of the professionals, not lobby groups, to ensure proper duty of care for young people with gender dysphoria. ‘Gender identity’ must be removed from the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy for the protection of gay and lesbian young people.
The government must now commit to removing political lobby groups such as Stonewall and Mermaids from the areas of health and education for children and young people. Urgent work needs to be done to address the misinformation already disseminated in schools over the past decade. This includes false information about Equality law and unevidenced theories of ‘gender identity’ taught to children as fact. The harmful effect of this teaching together with the ‘affirmation’ policy is reflected in the exponential rise in the number of children referred to the Tavistock clinic over the past few years.
Along with grass-roots feminist groups and individuals, we have been subject to a sustained and targeted campaign of harassment and defamation for our work to safeguard children. We welcome this government vindication of our concerns and we will continue to work towards education and healthcare policies that centre the safeguarding and welfare of all children and young people.
14th June 2020