A policy vacuum filled with loonies

Sonia Sodha writes:

The argument about the relative importance of sex and gender identity – whether someone feeling they are male or female should replace the reality of sex in law and society – has become one of the most polarising identity issues of our time. But out of this toxic mess a sensible consensus has emerged: both parties have largely ditched commitments to enshrine in law the view that people should be able to self-declare their sex for legal purposes. It has at last been acknowledged that this would effectively dismantle women’s hard-won legal protections for single-sex spaces, services and sports, and these are not inconsistent with robust anti-discrimination protections for trans people.

Both parties have? I didn’t know that.

But profound disagreements within government and across the public sector continue to leave a policy vacuum that is being filled by activists with no understanding of existing law on sex and gender. Nowhere is that more true than in schools.

Schools. Where kids go to learn – often, these days, to learn that they can have a magic gender soul that’s the opposite of their body.

On what constitutes clinical best practice, the “affirmative approach” is an ideological position grounded in a belief everyone has a gendered soul separate from their sex. So when children experience gender distress, it is a sign their gender identity differs from their sex and they should be affirmed as the opposite sex (to explore other reasons for their distress is to deny their identity); appropriate ways of treating gender distress include puberty-blocking drugs, then cross-sex hormones.

I.e. ruining their bodies for life.

The evidence-based position is embodied by an independent review for the NHS by the distinguished paediatrician Hilary Cass. Its interim report underlined the lack of evidence for the affirmative approach that parts of the NHS have been pushing on children…

Critically for schools, the Cass review says that “social transition” – treating girls as though they were boys and vice versa – is not a neutral act, but an active intervention that can have long-term effects on psychological functioning.

That. Of course it’s not neutral; how could it be? Especially when accompanied by a nonstop firehose of trans dogma about how idenninies are REAL and trans women ARE WOMEN?

Before the Cass review, I had assumed social transition was pretty harmless. The reality is that it probably beds in, psychologically and socially, what might otherwise be temporary gender distress; and in young children who don’t have the capacity to understand they haven’t literally changed sex, it is effectively misleading them about reality.

Which is a bad thing to do to children, because they don’t yet have the tools to doubt, question, resist. They’re too busy questioning bedtime and resisting kale.

Moreover, the law means schools are tightly proscribed in terms of what aspects of social transition they cannot facilitate. Safeguarding law requires schools act to protect children from harm and promote their welfare. They must not discriminate against children experiencing gender distress, but this does not oblige schools to treat them as though they were of the opposite sex. In fact, there are specific areas where it is unlawful to do so, for example when it would undermine the safeguarding of that child or other children. Schools are obliged to provide single-sex toilets for over-eights and changing facilities for over-11s. To force other children to pretend another child is of the opposite sex, for example through mandated pronoun policies, is likely to constitute belief discrimination. They cannot do anything that would constitute sex discrimination against other children; for example, in relation to competitive sports or sleeping arrangements on residential trips. And schools must be politically impartial: they cannot teach partisan ideology such as the idea that everyone has a “gender identity” and sex is “assigned at birth” as fact, only as a contested set of beliefs.

Really? I didn’t know all that. Surely some schools are flouting the law then?

Campaigning groups with ideological positions so blunt they cannot possibly accommodate these complex medical and legal positions have stepped into the gap left by government. Trans inclusion toolkits have been produced for schools that are uninformed by evidence on child development and safeguarding and include legal misinformation such as telling schools they must treat gender-questioning children as the opposite sex for all purposes. Many schools rely on relationship and sex education materials produced by external groups that teach gender ideology as fact, in a way that reinforces rather than challenges damaging sex stereotypes and may well encourage gender distress in vulnerable children.

Why are many schools doing that? Where are the people who should be telling them to stop?

Sodha goes on to say some teachers do what they want, and there is no central body or mechanism to stop them.

One parent I spoke to discovered that, even where a head agreed with her and her child’s psychologist that watchful waiting was the right approach, other senior staff disregarded the head’s directions.

Because of the fad for this poisonous, destructive ideology.

H/t Acolyte of Sagan

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