Whistleblowers of the Tavistock clinic have told Rishi Sunak that children must not be allowed to change their gender at school.
Leading clinicians who first went public with failings at the UK’s only child gender clinic have written to the Prime Minister to warn that he risks being “complicit” in a further explosion of teenagers demanding puberty blockers and sex-change hormones if he does not stamp out gender-identity ideology in the classroom.
The group, led by David Bell, a retired consultant psychiatrist and the former governor at the Tavistock, have now called on the Department for Education (DfE) to “issue strong, unequivocal guidance to schools making clear that they cannot lawfully accommodate ‘social transition’ by children”.
Their letter explains: “That is, they cannot treat any child as if they are, as a matter of fact, a member of the opposite sex. Nor can they insist that the entire school community refers to any child as a member of the opposite sex.”
The DfE’s first ever trans guidance for schools has been beset by delays since last autumn, with the latest deadline of the summer term being missed because of legal concerns. Teachers now face another term of confusion over how to approach trans-identifying pupils as schools return next week.
Social transitioning refers to someone changing their pronouns, name or appearance. Conservative MPs have already called for the guidance to ban it without parental permission, with campaigners arguing it can lead to more invasive medical transitioning that pupils may later regret.
But trans groups argue that it improves the mental health of pupils who question their gender, by affirming their identity.
‘Clear guidance on the law’
The letter to Mr Sunak was also signed by Marcus and Susan Evans, formerly psychoanalytic psychotherapists at the Tavistock, Az Hakeem, the former head of the adult gender dysphoria psychotherapy service at the clinic, Stephanie Davies-Arai BEM, founder of Transgender Trend, and Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and co-founder of the parents’ group Genspect.
It warned: “The government has been complicit in creating this distress by allowing gender-identity ideology into schools and failing to provide schools with clear guidance on the law concerning sex and transgender identity.
“… And in failing to stop this promotion of an unscientific and harmful ideology in schools, the government bears some responsibility for the skyrocketing numbers of children arriving at gender clinics demanding puberty blockers and hormones.”
The letter calls for gender-distressed children to be referred to the local child mental health service where appropriate, adding: “If the government delays, practice in schools and gender clinics will further diverge.
“We can expect to see more and more children developing gender distress at school, and it will fall to gender clinics to try to help them.”
A Government spokesman said: “The Education Secretary is working closely with the Minister for Women and Equalities to provide guidance to schools and colleges.
“Given the complexity and sensitivity of the issue, we’re taking the time to make sure any guidance we provide is as clear as possible.
“We’ve been repeatedly clear about the importance of biological sex and we advise that schools and colleges proceed with caution – prioritising the safeguarding and wellbeing of all children and involving parents in decisions relating to their child.”