Listen and believe

Debbie Hayton on Scotland’s “guidance” on how best to trans children:

Revelation, we are told, can come early in life:

Some young people are exploring their gender identity in primary school settings.

If a young person in the school says that they now want to live as a boy although their sex assigned at birth was female, or they now want to live as a girl, although their sex assigned at birth was male, it is important to provide support and listen to what they are saying.

Is it the same if they say they now want to live as a tiger? A dolphin? A tomato? Will it be important to take the children to the sea and throw them in, or plant them in the ground?

It’s really not teachers’ job to tell children their fantasies are true, or to encourage them to believe that they are what they are not.

Teachers are instructed to not only listen, but also believe:

If others deny this, it may have a detrimental impact on the young person’s wellbeing, relationships and behaviour.

On the other hand if others affirm this it may also have a detrimental impact on the young person’s wellbeing, relationships and behaviour. Quite a large one in fact, because the other children may well decide the deluded child is creepy and nuts and all wrong and thus in need of bullying. It’s not a simple and uncontroversial fact that if a very young boy says he’s a girl, the adults in the vicinity must rush to agree with him and say yes that’s exactly what he is. That’s not an established truth, it’s a new and stupid dogma.

Reports elsewhere suggested that children as young as four will be able to change their name and gender at school in Scotland without their parents’ consent. And teachers are told that, ‘if a young person comes out as transgender there is no immediate need to inform their parents’ meaning the child’s mother and father might not even know what is happening.

The authors appeal to emotion, and fear of the law.

A transgender young person may not have told their family about their gender identity. Inadvertent disclosure could cause needless stress for the young person or could put them at risk and breach legal requirements. Therefore, it is best to not share information with parents or carers without considering and respecting the young person’s views and rights.

Of course, among the young person’s rights are rights to the care and supervision of their parents, which they need because they are children. It’s not simply a slam-dunk that schools are inevitably and entirely correct about this while parents bumble around in the darkness of not being trans.

I fear that the Scottish government is suggesting that schools can say to children, ‘Don’t worry, this will be our secret. Your mum and dad need never know.’ That is not only chilling, it could potentially be a safeguarding catastrophe.

To put it mildly.

It’s also just offensively presumptuous. There are crap parents in the world, to be sure, and sometimes children do need outside help, but schools shouldn’t be just assuming that as the standard and making plans to hide children’s “trans status” from their parents.

Kindly Scotland even approves of girls wearing binders.

Binders can lead to shortness of breath, can be painful during physical exertion and there are health risks associated with wearing binders that are too tight.

Binders can, however, have a positive impact on a young person’s mental health so staff should allow a young person to decide for themselves about whether or not to wear a binder, to help them join in. Some transgender young people may be willing to wear a looser binder than usual during PE.

Soon they’ll be doing mastectomies in the cafeteria.

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