Dr Carys Moseley looks at the suggestions that children have been taken into care because their parents objected to their wishes to change gender. Are taxpayer-funded authorities ignoring both parents’ wishes and the law when it comes to advocating for transgenderism?
Last weekend the Mail reported that three children had been taken into care by their local authorities because their parents objected to their wishes to change gender. Freedom of Information requests made by journalists at the Sun revealed that social workers in two councils, Hillingdon Council and Ealing Council, both in west London, had taken children into care after disputes with their parents or carers about their desire to undergo gender transition. Tellingly both councils were quick to state that this was not the sole reason why they were taken into care.
Even more worrying was the fact that some councils did not respond at all to the Freedom of Information Requests. This means that nobody knows how many children are being taken into care after or due to these kinds of disputes. Although the story has not been followed up since last Sunday in the news, its significance should not be lost on us. The truth of the matter is that this outcome was entirely predictable given how things have been developing over the last three years or more.
High Court judge allowed trans teen to cut parental contact in 2016
In March 2016 the High Court permitted a 16-year old female-to-male transgender to cut off parental contact altogether, due to their refusal to use the preferred male name and pronouns. Already in 2015 the High Court had caved into this teenager’s demand that information about gender reassignment should be withheld from the parents. The teenager had been a patient at the Tavistock Clinic for gender identity problems for children and adolescents.
That particular case was about gender recognition involving the use of language. However it is reasonable to suppose that parents who continue referring to their child according to their biological sex would also refuse to allow gender reassignment treatment. At the same time the fact that the courts allowed the teen to cut off contact with the parents on the basis of gender recognition suggests the courts could also allow this on the basis of gender reassignment treatment.
Christian family feared daughter would be taken away
Later in October 2016 the Christian Legal Centre supported a Christian family where the daughter had started identifying a boy after being placed in a local school. Social workers and mental health workers got involved and tended to treat their daughter as a boy. Staff at the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) even said she would commit suicide unless her parents used her preferred male name and pronouns.
Tellingly this girl’s problems tended to recede when social workers became less involved in her life. This, along with the fact that problems only started after being placed in a local school (she had previously been homeschooled), illustrates all too clearly the social genesis of gender problems. Worse, it shows how adult professionals who themselves have been indoctrinated into transgender ideology can exacerbate them.
The Department of Health set a bad example in 2018
To make matters worse the Department of Health made a very chilling pre-emptive response in February 2018 to a CitizenGo petition by Voice 4 Justice, which called for gender reassignment for under-18s to be banned. The obvious purpose of this was to respond to this petition before it had been closed and handed in in person to Department of Health officials. In other words, the Department of Health – led at the time by Jeremy Hunt, who as a Christian should have known better – was effectively saying it would refuse to listen to concerns raised.
I covered that story extensively at the time, but revisiting it now in light of the Mail’s report on local authorities, several things require further consideration. First of all, the Department of Health announcement prioritised patients’ rights to treatment and completely ignored the medical judgment of doctors. Transgenderism would be a matter of personal identity not mental health.
Second, the Department of Health said this:
“If a child is not competent to give consent [to treatment] for themselves, consent should be sought from one person with parental responsibility.”
The state is helping irresponsible parents craft ‘trans kids’
This Department of Health guidance on consent undermines shared decision-making between both parents, a key ingredient in keeping families together. This guidance pits one parent against the other, making marital and relational disputes and breakup more likely. This kind of situation has already led to cases in the family courts where one parent is being challenged by the other because they have been bringing up a child as a member of the opposite sex, i.e. as transgendered. In other words one parent has been trying to craft the child to be a ‘trans kid’.
The problem one now suspects with regard to local authorities and some of the social workers employed by them is that it isn’t just parents who are guilty of crafting ‘trans kids’ in this manner. There are social workers, mental health workers and civil servants who are all too ready to help. In its announcement rebuffing Voice 4 Justice, the Department of Health had this to say regarding parents who wouldn’t permit their own children to go through with gender reassignment:
“Where necessary, the courts can overrule a refusal by a person with parental responsibility.”
The question here is, who persuades the courts to decide when it is ‘necessary’ to override parental responsibility such that children are allowed to undergo gender reassignment? It seems that social workers and thus local authorities are being allowed to step in here.
Telegraph finds NHS staff to ignore parents’ wishes in 2019
One year later, in January 2019, the Telegraph discovered via Freedom of Information that some NHS trusts in England are allowing children who want to change gender to have what they want regardless of whether their parents agree. Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said in its policy document that ‘the child’s preference should prevail’. This is even if they do not have so-called ‘Gillick competence’ to give consent. This is one step further than what the Department of Health advised back in 2018, which was to require the consent of only one parent.
Fast forward two months and some local authorities are taking children away from parents who object to them ‘changing gender’. This inevitably links up to the existing problem that so many children, especially in England, are being taken into care for all sorts of reasons.
Why are so many children being taken into care?
England has a very bad track record for children being likely to be taken into care. This issue is so serious that it has been discussed in a report published by the Council of Europe in June 2018. That report was sparked by concerns following a win by the Bodnariu family in Norway, whom the Christian Legal Centre has been supporting. The report informed a resolution that was passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
This resolution sought to strike a renewed balance between ‘the best interests of the child’ and ‘the need to keep families together’ in the work of social services. Whilst this was a welcome move, the truth is that it stops short of what is needed to confront the blatant disregard for the Gender Recognition Act by the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom. The reason is that the government via the Department of Health has already decided that ‘the best interests of the child’ include the de facto ‘right’ to gender recognition and gender reassignment. Parents who refuse are at heightened risk of losing their children to the care system. In whose interests is all of this happening?
LGBT rights extremists are running UK government policy
Effectively the government is undermining Parliamentary democracy and the rule of law here – actions that are actually deemed as extremist under the government’s own Counter-Extremism Strategy. For what is the point of passing an Act of Parliament which prohibits gender reassignment for those under 18 if all the relevant authorities deliberately flout that law? This fundamentally erodes public trust in government and in Parliament. It is infiltration at its most sinister.
At the same time, however, the Commission for Countering Extremism has as one of its board members Peter Tatchell, who as well as being a gay rights activist is a vociferous supporter of transgender rights. He gave a platform to Terry Reed from GIRES, a major ‘educational’ transgender rights charity, to argue for liberalising the Gender Recognition Act back in January 2018. This means that deeming transgender campaigning to remove children from parental care could well be deemed ‘extremist’ by the powers that be. There is no room for complacency here.
One very important fact about Peter Tatchell that needs to be known is that he spearheaded the campaign by the Gay Liberation Front, an extremist gay rights group with Marxist leanings, to attack treatment for homosexuality in the early 1970s. Decades later it is the philosophy of this group, exemplified by its Counter Psychiatry Group at the time, and fed by the anti-psychiatry movement, which has fed the belief that not only homosexuality but also transgenderism is not a mental illness.
It was a gay activist called Karl Ulrichs who invented the concept of ‘a female soul trapped in a man’s body’ in the 19th century. Following his lead gay activists harking back to Magnus Hirschfeld in Germany in the 1920s have always included transgender rights in their remit, this should be no surprise. Secular liberals and feminists who oppose gender reassignment for children and adolescents will never admit this, because it would challenge their quite deliberate propping up of the gay male subculture as something glamorous to be celebrated.
The result has been the complete and utterly cowardly capitulation of the mental health profession to the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK. This is highly relevant to the problem of children being taken into care over transgender disputes, because the Memorandum prohibits treatment for transgender identification for people of all ages. Effectively then it sides with transgender activists against those responsible parents who want professionals to treat their children according to their biological sex.
It’s time for an investigation into LGBT activism in government
We warned before Christmas that transgender activists were encouraging allies to write in en masse to the government consultation on the Gender Recognition Act, to demand gender recognition for children in the law. Clearly last weekend’s revelation that local authorities are taking children into care shows children with transgender problems are now potentially seen as possessions of the state. A whole train of assumptions and argument, none of them enshrined in actual law but all coming from the ‘soft law’ that LGBT rights activists have fed into the policy networks, is to blame. If we want to stop the rot there must be an investigation into the history of LGBT activism around children at every level of the UK government.