There are currently multiple attempts to influence the government in the transgender debate, and the conversation can feel confusing and toxic. Here are 10 things we think you need to know...
1. In this debate, ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not the same.
The transgender debate is based around two key concepts: sex and gender. Transgender activists claim that the two are different, and that sex (which refers to your biological make-up, as denoted in chromosomes) is less important than gender (your internal sense of self), which defines who you really are. In short, they would claim that if you feel like you are a woman, regardless of your biology, then you really are a woman.
2. The number of minors identifying as transgender has risen dramatically.
Between 2009 and 2018, the number of boys referred to the Gender Identity Development Service rose by 1460%, and the number of girls by 5337%. Whereas previously boys made up around ⅔ of those referred, the ratios have now completely flipped.
3. There are close links between identifying as transgender and other things.
Almost ⅔ of girls identifying as transgender have a mental health condition. Around ⅓ have autism or another neurodiversity. 41% of young people who identify as transgender do not identify as heterosexual, and links have also been established with eating disorders.
4. Gender theory is being taught as fact within schools
This is probably in contravention of the 1996 Education Act, which says political matters must be taught in a balanced way. School resources around gender are normally taken or advised by RSE providers; of the 47 main RSE providers in the UK, 27 are openly gender-affirming, and the other 20 are beyond a paywall. Not a single one is openly gender-critical. 67% of 16 to 18 year olds have been taught that sex is merely ‘assigned’ at birth, as opposed to being rooted in biological reality. 32% have been taught that a woman can have a penis.
5. Schools are advised to ‘socially transition’ children questioning their gender
The advice given to schools if a child questions their gender is not just to believe them, but to ‘socially transition’ them, including making decisions around their uniforms, bathrooms and pronouns. Some providers suggest there should be no age limit on such decisions, and that parents need not be involved.
6. Single-sex spaces are already under threat.
Despite the safeguarding implications, schools are already prioritising gender over sex. 28% of schools no longer maintain single-sex spaces, and 60% do not uphold single-sex sports.
7. Parental consent is frequently being eroded.
A recent report found that 72% of schools do not inform parents if their child wishes to explore their gender, after guidance from RSE providers. Guidance from one such provider suggests that schools should use a child’s desired name in internal documents, but use their legal name in communications with parents so as to not arouse suspicion. There have even been cases of schools reporting parents to social services for not supporting their child’s gender exploration.
8. Leading transgender organisations are being questioned around safety
Serious safeguarding concerns have been raised around the most prominent transgender children’s charity, Mermaids, after they offered breast binders to children as young as 13 against parent’s wishes. Breast binders can lead to breathing difficulties, chronic back pain and broken ribs. England’s one transgender clinic for young people, the Tavistock Centre, was even shut down by NHS England after it was deemed “not safe” for children.
9. Suicide stats are highly misleading
Transgender activists are quick to cite frightening statistics that 48% of young people experiencing gender dysphoria attempt to commit suicide. Although there is no doubt that many young people experience real mental distress, this statistic is a highly misleading one based on a self-selecting study of just 27 participants. In fact, on average, 80% of children desist in gender dysphoria as they progress into adolesence and adulthood.
10. Trans ‘affirming’ treatments are highly questionable
Although puberty blockers are frequently referred to as ‘lifesaving’ by transgender activists, recent studies actually suggest that they do not have a positive effect in the majority of cases. Only 29% of teenagers actually saw their mental health improve, fewer than the 34% of teenagers who saw it actively deteriorate. Other treatments, such as the injection of cross-sex hormones, can lead to permanent infertility and loss of sexual function.
Further Reading and resources