BEL MOONEY: Our whole society’s been dozing while a disturbing trans-rights dogma has infiltrated our schools – and now we ALL need to fight back
Back in 1990, just three months after the tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed and killed in Romania, I was on assignment in that poor country, meeting people and finding out what it had been like to live under the iron heel of communism.
Yesterday, reading the shocking new report about schools excluding parents from information about their own children who want to change gender, I was reminded of what I learnt about chilling, authoritarian control over children’s minds.
An unlikely comparison? Not so.
Because when ideologues want to retain control, they know one way to achieve that aim is by brainwashing the young. In Romanian classes, children had to sing: ‘Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu is the father of all children, and the children love him because he is their parent.’
The chant was repeated day after day. Across the communist bloc, children were encouraged to snitch on family members for having the wrong books at home or making the wrong sort of joke.
The ideology holds that even very young children can ‘identify’ as the opposite sex and must be ‘affirmed’ by their teachers, with no question
It was drummed into them that the State was more important than the family. And their parents could do nothing about it.
Today, in the UK, hundreds of schools are actively colluding in an ideology which insists that a young child should be ‘supported’ in the unscientific idea that he or she was ‘born in the wrong body’ and can choose a new name — without the parents being told.
That one aspect, appalling as it is, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The incisive report by the think tank Policy Exchange, splashed on the front page of yesterday’s Mail, is called ‘Asleep At The Wheel’. With good reason.
It is indeed as if our whole society has been dozing while a bizarre dogma has been allowed to infiltrate our major institutions, charities and the educational sector.
The ideology holds that even very young children can ‘identify’ as the opposite sex and must be ‘affirmed’ by their teachers, with no question.
The detailed report is enough to make any concerned parent (or grandparent, in my case) contact local schools and demand to know exactly what is being taught under the banner of Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE). But good luck with that — because the prevalent culture of secrecy essentially tells parents to mind their own business.
You could turn up at a parents’ evening to find your son Peter is called Petra by his teacher. Or discover, through your daughter’s tears, how mortified and afraid she is because her school has (with no consultation) done away with single-sex changing rooms.
Today, in the UK, hundreds of schools are actively colluding in an ideology which insists that a young child should be ‘supported’ in the unscientific idea that he or she was ‘born in the wrong body’
Only 39 out of 154 schools that replied to the researchers said they would inform parents as soon as a pupil expressed a wish to change gender. Some 87 said they would not. A further 150 schools did not even deign to reply.
I asked the mother of an 11-year-old girl how her daughter would feel about dressing for gym next to boys. The response was clear: ‘She’d be totally horrified and so would I.’
Yet, bowing to transgender ideology, one school in five has instituted shared changing rooms for boys and girls — and 60 per cent have stopped single-sex sports. One school in Liverpool allows girls who ‘identify’ as boys to bind their breasts for games, all without a word of warning to the mothers of those children.
The disturbing reality is that schools which have accepted guidance from militant trans rights groups are placing their radical — and vociferously contested — beliefs above children’s welfare.
Policy Exchange’s impressive investigation runs to 80 pages (download it free at policy exchange.org.uk). Written by research fellow Lottie Moore, it is endorsed by five senior political figures and introduced by Labour’s admirable Rosie Duffield — yes, she who in January this year was rudely heckled and sneered at by her own colleagues on the Opposition benches for speaking up for women’s rights in a debate on Scotland’s Gender Reform Act.
Ms Duffield warns that there has been ‘a systemic failure in the school system, caused by an ill-considered embrace of gender ideology . . . We must end this reckless experiment now’.
But why was the ‘reckless experiment’ allowed in the first place?
One explanation lies within the title of commentator Douglas Murray’s excellent book The Madness Of Crowds. Published four years ago, this brilliant polemic sets out chapter and verse on how the so-called ‘culture wars’ have become a contagion spreading throughout society. As a feminist, I would even call it a pandemic. How else can we account for the fact that (according to a YouGov poll) 85 per cent of secondary teachers have noticed an astonishing rise in the number of pupils (most of them girls) claiming to be ‘trans’?
Bowing to transgender ideology, one school in five has instituted shared changing rooms for boys and girls
A study commissioned by NHS England found that ten years ago there were just under 250 referrals, mostly boys, to the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids), run by the now discredited Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London.
But last year there were more than 5,000 — twice the number in the previous year. Overall, the UK has witnessed a 700 per cent rise in just five years.
Madness indeed. And the largest group, about two-thirds, consisted of ‘birth-registered females first presenting in adolescence with gender-related distress’.
Perhaps some of them really will turn out to have chronic gender dysphoria and live the rest of their lives as the opposite sex.
But in many cases, surely, these young people — anxious, bullied, with problems in their private lives, worried about their bodies and fascinated by trends on social media — have latched on to the buzzword ‘trans’ as a way of giving themselves status.
There is no doubt whatsoever that many children claiming to be ‘trans’ have mental health issues. Just consider the fact that during the extended isolation of Covid, when social media became children’s main company, Google searches for ‘top surgery’ — double mastectomies — soared.
Such young people need to be helped and protected by their schools, not ‘affirmed’ unquestioningly as they embark on life-changing decisions.
Soaring rates of transgenderism in schoolchildren surely hinge on the fact that a phenomenon that was once ‘niche’ and rare has become fashionable.
But in many cases, surely, these young people — anxious, bullied, with problems in their private lives— have latched on to the buzzword ‘trans’
Boys and girls who are growing and changing can now focus on a condition that brings them the attention they crave from friends and teachers alike.
‘Clusters’ of pupils egg each other on — while too many teachers are afraid to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. Instead, they see their job as to ‘validate’ what the kids say — and keep it from parents.
Much has been made of the need for guidance on this issue for schools, since parents have been complaining since 2019. At the moment, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan exhibits the urgency of a sloth. Head teachers deserve proper guidance.
The terror of ‘transphobia’ is just as deeply embedded in our schools and institutions as the fear of being labelled racist which kept the authorities silent while working-class girls were abused by gangs of Pakistani-heritage men in Rochdale and elsewhere.
Make no mistake, these two aspects of the ‘culture wars’ are inflicting great damage on us all. The zealots are taking over hearts and minds.
What is happening in our schools should outrage every parent — and I hope thousands will make it their business to protest. Meanwhile, those who are not parents have a moral duty to ask how long we should stand by and allow the brainwashing of a generation.
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