The idea that children have an innate “gender identity” that may differ from their sex has been promoted globally by influential child abusers who worked with children. In this article Carys Moseley traces the influence of Peter Newell, the prominent British children’s rights campaigner jailed last month for raping a boy.
Last month Peter Newell, the most prominent campaigner in the UK for a ban on parental smacking, was jailed for six years for historic rape of a 13-year old boy. Newell was a major international ‘children’s rights campaigner’ with one goal – to make smacking illegal worldwide, and thus to create a situation where parents could be criminalised and even in the last resort lose custody of their children. This turns out to be highly relevant to the normalisation of transgender identity in children.
UNICEF children’s rights handbook includes ‘gender identity’
Peter Newell wrote all three editions of the UNICEF Implementation Handbook for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC is a UN treaty published in 1989 and mentions a child’s sex as a basic characteristic that needs to be respected. However the third edition of the Handbook published in 2007 barely refers to a child’s sex. Instead it reinterprets Article 8 of the UNCRC to say that gender identity is a part of a child’s identity like national or ethnic identity, that needs to be preserved as a matter of human rights. This is a way of saying that children are born transgendered, something that has no objective evidence behind it and which most members of the public do not believe.
The list of reviewers of the drafts of the Handbook shows that one of them was Vitit Muntarbhorn, who was appointed in November 2016 to be the the first UN czar on LGBT rights. Muntarbhorn is the only reviewer listed who has a professional interest in LGBT issues. Vitit Muntarbhorn was Co-Chairperson of the meeting of international human rights experts (lawyers and academics who are LGBT activists) who drafted and signed the Yogyakarta Principles on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in November 2006.
The Yogyakarta Principles pushed the ‘gender identity’ of children
The purpose of the Yogyakarta Principles is to spread LGBT privileges worldwide by working through the United Nations human rights treaty bodies and other international organisations. The signatories demand that member states pass laws and policies enshrining sexual orientation and gender identity as immutable characteristics of people’s identity, and thus worthy of protection. As the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child deals with the UNCRC it was inevitable that signatories would ask it to use the concept of ‘gender identity’. However as the Yogyakarta Principles are merely a set of ideas propounded by activists, they have no legal standing and as such could have been rejected by the Committee as well as by Peter Newell in his capacity as author of the Handbook.
The Yogyakarta Principles define ‘gender identity’ as follows:
‘Gender identity is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.’
No lower age limit is given for people choosing to identify as members of the opposite gender.
‘Gender identity’ undermines ratification of the UN Children’s Rights Convention
All this matters because the UK is a signatory of the UNCRC as it is a UN treaty. Although not legally binding, the Handbook was written to influence how states interpret and implement the UNCRC. However the claim that ‘gender identity’ is an inherent characteristic of children undermines the plain meaning of the Convention in two ways.
First a child deemed to have a ‘gender identity’ different than that of his or her sex will not be treated in a law as a member of his or her sex, because ‘gender identity’ contradicts sex. Second, the Handbook pretends that ‘gender identity’ is like those aspects of identity listed in Article 8 of the Convention such as national identity and ethnic identity. The real purpose of this is obvious – to claim that gender identity is like ethnicity or race, and therefore that to oppose non-discrimination on grounds of gender identity is as bad as racism.
How the UN pushed for transgender identity in UK schools
On 20 October 2008 (CRC/C/GBR/CO/4) the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed the UK’s Equality Bill as legislation protecting children from LGBT discrimination. It is not an accident that one of the Committe members was Nevena Vuckovic-Sahovic, also another signatory of the Yogyakarta Principles.
The timing of this declaration is crucial. Back in July 2008 the UK government had responded to the public responses to its own consultation on the Equality Bill (which later became the Equality Act 2010) saying that it would not bring in legislation against discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in schools. Yet by the time the first draft of the Bill was tabled in Parliament in 2009, this matter was included (Section 284). The only possible reason is that the government had decided to comply with the UN Committee’s demands for protection of ‘transgender children’.
Transgender rights activists always wanted ‘gender identity’ for children
Another prominent signatory of the Yogyakarta Principles was Stephen Whittle, a female-to-male transgender who is Professor of Equalities Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. Whittle is the brains behind transsexual rights legislation in the UK, having previously founded numerous transgender rights groups between the 1970s and 1990s including Press For Change, the Gender Trust and FTM Network.
Whittle has ceaselessly pushed for UK law to introduce ‘gender identity’ as a category for non-discrimination, and asked for a different term to ‘gender reassignment’ to cover under-18s when speaking to the Equality Bill Committee in Parliament in 2009. Also transgender campaign group GIRES (which was formed by ten activists from Press For Change) asked for ‘gender variance’ to replace ‘gender reassignment’ for children and schools. This is virtually the same as calling for ‘gender identity’ and is similarly predicated on the assumption that people are ‘born that way’.
So it was subsequently that the Explanatory Notes to the Equality Act 2010 made it clear that the Act prohibits discrimination (but not harassment) on grounds of gender reassignment in schools in the UK. The problem here is evident. Section 1(1) the Gender Recognition Act 2004 stipulates that people have to be aged 18 or over to receive gender recognition, which in turn requires serious intention to undergo gender reassignment.
The concept of ‘gender identity’ is rooted in child sexual abuse
The ‘success’ of a paedophile such as Peter Newell in inserting ‘gender identity’ into children’s rights discourse at the level of the UN should not be surprising. This is because the term ‘gender identity’ along with ‘gender role’ was coined in the 1950s by John Money, an American paediatrician who used it to justify gender reassignment for children and who conducted sexual experiments on children. The most infamous of these was to persuade the parents of David Reimer, a baby boy whos circumcision had gone wrong, to bring him up as a girl instead. Money insisted that this early switch would mean that the child would develop a ‘female’ gender identity, and that ‘gender identity’ was wholly the result of socialisation.
However John Money was also a sexual libertarian who hated the traditional Christian sexual morality under which he grew up. For example he forced David and his brother to play sex games together as children. American journalist John Colapinto has documentedhow Money told Time magazine in April 1980 how ‘a childhood sexual experience such as being the partner of a relative or of an older person, need not necessarily affect the child adversely’.
Like others in the world of transsexualism Money was well-connected with male academics who advocated paedophilia and who had their own journals to make this respectable, and willingly wrote a foreword to a book in 1987 by Dutch paedophile advocate Theo Sandford entitled ‘Boys and Their Contacts with Men’.
The sad thing is that transgender rights activists, who promote themselves as experts on gender dysphoria, are absolutely convinced that they are doing the right thing for children by trying to make ‘gender identity’ a category in law that covers children. In so doing they unwittingly play along with such wickedness.
The effect of ‘gender identity’ of children on government policy
The Scottish Government refers in its consultation on reviewing the Gender Recognition Act to the fact that the Handbook reinterprets Article 8 of the UNCRC to include ‘gender identity’, using this to justify calling for gender recognition for under-16s in Scotland. (See the Partial Child Rights and Wellbeing Assessment in Annex M.) In our response to the consultation we strongly object to this, calling on the Scottish Government to disregard the Handbook as it undermines the plain wording of the Convention itself.
The question now is whether the UK government intends to use the Handbook to the same ends aross the rest of the UK. Last November it postponed its consultation on reviewing the Gender Recognition Act because of protests from civil society organisations like ourselves.
Time to get rid of ‘gender identity’ of children from law and public policy
That the two men behind the concept of ‘gender identity’ of children and of this as an inherent aspect of a child’s identity that should be protected as a matter of human rights were child abusers should be sufficient grounds for concern. This concept of ‘gender identity’ is fundamentally corrupt at its very root and utterly irredeemable. It is time to get rid of it from all public policy making and all ‘soft law’ in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The UK government could make a good start on this by scrapping any plans it could possibly harbour to lower the age of gender recognition below 18 and to fix the age of gender reassignment at 18.