Gender ideology: What’s happening in the rest of the UK?

Education or Grooming? A look at gender ideology in Scotland and Wales

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By Dr Damian Wilde, HART Member and Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Gender ideology has been topical in England in recent years, with significant happenings, such as The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock Clinic closing, the banning of puberty blockers being prescribed to children, and the release of the recent CASS report, which highlighted the lack of a clear evidence base for allowing children to change sex. In a further shift of policy, NHS England has rightly stated that biological sex is fact and should be respected in hospital settings.

In my clinical experience, children and adults want to change sex due to the impact of traumatic life experiences, such as childhood sexual abuse. Wanting to change sex is a psychological defence; it takes a person unable to cope with trauma reactions away from their old self they cannot sit with, to a new, reinvented self. This, of course, should be explored slowly and gently before a decision is made; psychotherapy can be a useful and safe space to be able to explore such delicate but important issues.

My own clinical experience around this sensitive area is mirrored by what staff from GIDS reported, with one member of staff communicating the service was, “failing to examine fully the psychological and social reasons behind young people’s desire to change gender”. It is therefore vital that we explore the wider systemic reasons for why children feel the need to want to change sex.

I also see people struggling with their self-worth and self-identity and unsure who they are. People become influenced by gender ideology, which is exacerbated by social media platforms and the drive by some groups to push such ideas in school environments. This is psychologically damaging for children and young adults, and awareness needs to be raised, as has been occurring recently in England.

But what about the rest of the UK? What is happening in Scotland and Wales? It would appear, from recent publications, that there are dangerous practices happening across the home nations. However, post-CASS review, there have been some initial positive noises heard, with Dr David Bell (Psychiatrist) calling for Scotland’s sole gender identity service to be closed down.

A concerning article in The Telegraph reported that Scottish primary schools are appointing children ‘LGBT’ champions to try to foster curiosity in children as young as four years of age to find out if they feel they may be trans. This is being coordinated by LGBT Youth Scotland, a registered charity, which received a staggering one million pounds of taxpayers money last year.

The charity is also trying to exert their ideological influence inside schools in other ways, such as encouraging head teachers to install gender neutral toilets and give prominence to events, such as transgender day of remembrance, which apparently look to influence others in trans beliefs.

Children should be able to develop in their own natural way, at their own pace. It appears that adults with their own troubled issues are projecting onto impressionable young people. Such social modelling and biased education is potentially a dangerous pathway for Scotland to push and one that needs to be challenged so as to stop the spread of this disturbed ideology.

Unfortunately, it seems that in the green valleys of Wales matters are just as concerning, with a further Telegraph publication reporting that Wales is becoming a “focal point for trans extremists”. The article highlights the problematic diagnosis ‘gender dysphoria’ being used to push dangerous treatments for children. Psychiatric diagnoses have no scientific basis and are merely descriptive labels, which in my experience, ironically, impact upon self-identity and halt recovery for people experiencing psychological health problems. An understanding of a person and their story, experiences, and feelings is a much more nuanced, compassionate, and ethical way to move forward if a person is struggling with who they are. We must move away from labels and foster an understanding of people at an individual and personalised level.

The concerns amongst Welsh citizens was that the Cass review has been ignored and governmental policies and school curriculums are awash with trans ideology and they are justifiably worried about the psychological impact upon the young people of Wales.

Rather than focus on academia, sports, music, and balanced health education, Wales have now incorporated into their Relationships and Sexuality Education Code & Guidance, questionable materials about ‘gender dysphoria’, which MP, Robin Millar, and MS, Laura Jones have stated should be withdrawn from schools due to children being socially transitioned, even without their parents’ knowledge.

Worryingly, the Telegraph also reported that schools in Wales are allowing children to change gender, with guidance around this coming from the Welsh government. A group of concerned parents, calling themselves, ‘Merched Cymru’ submitted freedom of information requests to 68 Welsh schools. All stated they would enable a pupil to transition their gender, with alarmingly only 28% of these schools communicating that they would inform parents.  This calls into question the use of informed consent, which is the cornerstone of safe and ethical healthcare.

Why do some governments and organisations pander to ideological groups? In my experience, health and educational settings are obsessed with corporate image. Trans activist groups tend to be aggressive in their push to achieve their objectives and organisations are fearful of being accused of being ‘transphobic’ and not respecting equality; such slurs could see a perceived damage to their reputation; ideological groups play on this and use it to their advantage.

So while England is fighting back, will the rest of the UK do likewise? I hope so because we must do everything we can to protect children.

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