Headline: When a quarter of the class identifies as trans
A quarter of the girls in my daughter’s class identify as transgender. Seven out of 28.
When I said that on Twitter recently, I was roundly attacked for being a TERF who makes up ridiculous stories to harm trans people.
While I may be a TERF, I did not make this up. A quarter of the girls in my kid’s class identify as boys. One of them has had four names this year, all from anime series.
I keep seeing people say, both on the hell-site Twitter and in the popular media, that the trans population is a tiny minority, less than 0.1% of the population. If that is true, what is going on at my child’s school? What has made the number of trans-identified girls in one year group grow from a constant zero pre-pandemic, to 25% now?
Here’s my theory, and I know that this will be a familiar story for many parents.
The first issue is with what the school is teaching children. My daughter’s trans identity started when the school taught a module on ‘identity’ during which they told a group of 11-year-olds that, if you feel uncomfortable in your body, it means you are transgender. My daughter had just had her first period two months prior to this class. Of course she was feeling uncomfortable in her body. She went home, looked up ‘transgender’ on Tiktok, and that was it. She was now trans.
The second issue is a related one, and that is to do with the school’s non-stop celebration of LGBTQI+ identities. I used to be proud that my children attended a progressive school that is anti-racist, inclusive, and believes in social justice. We chose the school for these qualities. But in the last two to three years, this has meant a relentless stream of identity flags and rainbows. Transgender ‘heroes’ like Jazz Jennings are worked into any part of the curriculum that they even vaguely fit. This is a school for kids aged 9 to 13. I’m no prude, but I also don’t think a constant parade of sexual politics is appropriate for such young children.
The third issue is with how the school is approaching the children ‘coming out’. Their official policy seems to be to just go with whatever the kids say without informing the parents. If a child says they have a new name and pronouns, the school just rolls with it—and they create the scenario where an already distressed child ends up cycling through four names in six months.
(I say it ‘seems to be’ the policy, because this policy is nowhere written down or official. My child’s name and pronouns were changed by the school without my knowledge. We didn’t get so much as a phone call, when we have been at the school for years, we know the teachers well, and we have been active members of the school community.)
None of this would matter if it was just about flags and fun identities. But it is not. For my daughter, the name and pronoun change (which we foolishly went along with, on the advice of a therapist) was a tipping point into depression and self-harm. It has made her miserable.
When I spoke to the school about the harm they are doing, they would not hear it. They told me that they celebrate all identities, that they pride themselves on being inclusive. They cannot see the transgender issue as anything other than fun flags and inclusivity and respect. They do not see the dark side that we parents do: we are trying to protect our kids from bone-crushing puberty blockers; from taking cross-sex hormones when they’re too young to have had sex; from having radical surgery on their developing bodies. Some days it feels like we are holding back a tsunami.
I regularly speak to the parents of the other girls. Everyone has had a different response: some have started to medicalise, others are against it; some have bought binders, others not; some have gone with the name changes, others are resisting. The one thing that all the parents share is a sense of bafflement. What the hell is going on here? Why is a quarter of the girls in the class identifying as trans?
“I guess in the 90s, a lot of us were in anorexic friend groups,” said one mother. I think the similarities are striking, but there is one major difference: in the 90s, no medical professionals were encouraging these groups of girls in their skewed perceptions of their bodies, and their self-harm. No school celebrated anorexia. But this time, the doctors and schools are helping the anorexics to diet.