Questioning transgender ideology – Briefing for Children’s Sector in Scotland.

by | 29 Jul 2019


Why the Children’s Sector should be brave and start asking serious questions about trans-ideology.  

The immediate and unquestioning “transitioning” of children with gender dysphoria to try to live as the opposite sex has been accepted across health and education services in Scotland without any open discussion.  It has been presented as an issue of children’s right to self-expression and to protection against discrimination. The right to protection from harm seems to have been forgotten. Anyone who questions the wisdom of these policies, or of the evidence that supports them, faces being criticised as “transphobic” and “bigoted” and lacking in basic understanding of the need for “trans inclusion”. For academics and professionals, this is often accompanied by calls for them to be disciplined and even sacked from their positions.

The Scottish Government and all of its funded organisations have adopted transgender ideology uncritically, even to the extent of endorsing (until recently) the Guidance for Supporting Transgender Young People in Schools, which was written by TransAlliance Scotland and LGBTY Scotland. This Guidance calls for girls to be evicted from their own changing rooms and toilets if they did not accept the inclusion of males who “identify” as girls. Girls were to be told to use the facilities reserved for disabled children, affecting the rights of girls and disabled children.

Despite the withdrawal of the Guidance at the end of the last session of Parliament, teachers are still being instructed not to report to parents about their children “transitioning” in school if a child of any age says they don’t want their parents to know. Parents who object or question it are told that they are not acting in their children’s best interests and told that they may be referred for child protection investigation and the possible removal of their children.

The children’s sector, including the Children’s Commissioner and Children in Scotland, has failed to stand up for children and families subject to these minority and unproven beliefs. They have instead endorsed these and other policies. They have not asked for research or any contrary evidence. They have not consulted or discussed with parents, the public, or with professionals with knowledge and understanding of children’s physical and psychological development.

This briefing challenges the widespread acceptance of these policies and points to the questions that should be asked by the Children’s Sector. 

Here are some relevant links : First

“Transgender Trend is an organisation which aims to provide an alternative source of evidence-based information which questions the theory, diagnosis and treatment of ‘trans kids.’ The mainstream media has been uniformly and uncritically accepting of the transgender diagnosis of children and in the absence of any public scrutiny the number of children referred to gender clinics has risen exponentially over the last few years.”

“We question who gains from this lifelong medicalisation of children, and whose vested interests are fuelling the promotion of transgender ideology. We ask why it has become impossible to debate the subject without being labelled ‘transphobic.’”

Transgender Trend has produced free alternative guidance for schools about how to help children with gender dysphoria.  This guidance is available on their website.

Now – watch this: Professor Michelle Moore expert on children and disability speaking at a Woman’s Place meeting in Sheffield

Professor Michele Moore has spoken and published against the adoption of trans-ideology. This is her speaking at a Woman’s Place meeting last year. Watch it! Her concerns are legitimate, evidenced, and supported by her considerable academic and practice experience and knowledge. She has inevitable been a target for criticism, and for calls for her dismissal as editor of the journal Children and Disability.

“It takes great courage to challenge the prevailing gender identity orthodoxy and its proponents, who have become totalitarian in their suppression of dissent. As a society, we depend on the courageous professionals who do not go along like sheep with the current crowd, but continue to centre the welfare, safeguarding and health of children above populist or political movements.

Breaches of Children’s Rights

An assessment by Women and Girls in Scotland of the now withdrawn and discredited Guidance on supporting transgender young people identified the ways that that the guidance breached children’s rights.

This is a film of Maggie Mellon speaking at a For Women Scotland meeting earlier this year in Edinburgh,  specifically on the harms done to children by the adoption of trans-ideology.

The full meeting can be found on the For Women Scotland website, along with other important information and news about critical and feminist work in Scotland.

The text can be found here:

And from the Guardian 27 July 2019, a piece on the dangers to children of the trans lobby pressures:

“I believe the trans political agenda has encroached on the clinical environment surrounding and within the Gender Identity Development Service,” Evans , former head of the Tavistock GIDS service, told the Observer. “Young people need an independent clinical service that has the long-term interests of the patient at heart. To some extent, this requires a capacity to stand up to pressure coming from various sources: from the young person, their family, peer groups, online and social networking pressures and from highly politicised pro-trans groups.

The number of children referred annually to GIDS has risen from 468 in 2013 to 2,519 in 2018. Some claim social media is a factor in the increase.In a hard-hitting paper, presented at a conference earlier this year and shared with the Observer, Evans quoted the experience of “Dagny”, a woman who identified as a trans man in her teens, has now detransitioned and says she was influenced by views expressed on the social network, Tumblr.

“One of these unhealthy beliefs I held was the belief that if you have gender dysphoria, you must transition,” Dagny has said. “And anyone that appeared to stand in my way was a transphobe – an alt-right bigot.”

Sudden Onset of Gender Dysphoria in Girls – Social Contagion?

 Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Times reports:

“The number of 13-year-olds seeking treatment rose by 30% in a year to 331. Referrals of 14-year-olds went up by a quarter, to 511. The number of 11-year-olds is up by 28%. The youngest patients were three.”

12 -17 year-olds make up 80% of referrals

This fits with the observed phenomenon of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria after puberty, among adolescents with no previous signs of dysphoria in childhood. In the first exploratory study of parental reports (Parent reports of adolescents and young adults perceived to show signs of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria : August 16, 2018 by Dr Lisa Littman several factors were identified by a significant number of parents, suggesting a social contagion among teenagers, predominantly girls, with pre-existing mental health or neurobiological conditions.

Dangers of Unresearched Treatments –

The Tavistock Clinic has so far failed to publish research on the impact and outcomes of administering “puberty blockers” (drugs that delay the onset of puberty) to children over a period of years. This article discusses what has emerged so far about the effect on children and why the Tavistock abruptly ended the research

Gender questioning children deserve better science”

Byng, Bewley,Clifford, McCartney   December 2018 Lancet

Margaret McCartney is a Scottish GP who is a well respected commentator on health and who with colleagues wrote in the Lancet about their concerns about transgender ideology. Here is what they wrote in the introduction:

“… Sex has a biological basis, whereas gender is fundamentally a social expression. Thus, sex is not assigned—chromosomal sex is determined at conception and immutable. A newborn’s phenotypic sex, established in utero, merely becomes apparent after birth, with intersex being a rare exception.”

“Distress about gender identity must be taken seriously and support should be put in place for these children and young people, but the impacts of powerful, innovative interventions should be rigorously assessed. The evidence of medium-term benefit from hormonal treatment and puberty blockers is based on weak follow-up studies. The guideline does not consider longer-term effects, including the difficult issue of detransition. Patients need high-quality research into the benefits and harms of all psychological, medical, and surgical treatments, as well as so-called wait-and-see strategies. This approach will provide reliable information for children, parents, and clinicians, and inform societal debate. We need to understand the rapid increase in referrals of girls and any relationship with gender identity legislation, the interplay between gender dysphoria, sexual orientation, and unpalatable roles in our highly-gendered society, and the twin potentials for underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis and treatment.”

Mermaids Charity promotes sexist stereotyping

Mermaids Training – how to help children know what their “gender” is

Despite the enormous advances of feminism in the 20th Century in challenging sexist stereotypes and expectations of children, the charity Mermaids is successfully promoting the stereotypical gendered behaviour as an indication of the actual true sex of children. If a girl is active, sporty, assertive, adventurous, then she is probably a boy. If a boy is quiet, sensitive, does not like football and likes to read or play with dolls, then he is probably a girl. No wonder that the number of girls identifying themselves as transgender is soaring. Mermaids and other transactivists have succeeded in getting this nonsense taught in schools across Scotland. 

Questions that need to be asked

  • What is the definition of   “ girl”  “ boy”  “woman” and “man”?    
  • If being transgender is a normal state for children, and not a disorder, why is treatment required?    
  • What is the evidence for believing that children may be “transgender” rather than unhappy about being expected to conform to sexist stereotyping?
  • What is the evidence that children who are unhappy about  their sex are “transgender” rather than possibly just more likely  to be lesbian or gay when they grow up?
  • What is the explanation for the greater numbers of girls than boys identifying  as transgender?
  • What is the evidence that teaching children to “explore” whether they are boys or girls based on “feelings” is not harmful indoctrination of impressionable young minds?
  • What is the evidence that children with autism or other disabilities or special needs are particularly vulnerable to embracing transgender identities?
  • What is the evidence that transitioning has good outcomes?
  • What is the evidence for the use of life altering puberty blockers for children?
  • What is the evidence for  advocating chest binders for adolescent girls?
  • Where are the child’s rights impact assessments to support the policies that have been adopted?

Maggie Mellon

M.Sc., CQSW, Dip Child Protection

27 July 2019


  1. maggiemellon

    thanks, please do send it around privately if not publicly

  2. Ruth Campbell

    A further question to ask would be when will we feel confident enough in our commitment to children’s rights and equality that we can ask critical questions and debate issues safely?
    It seems bizarre that in a society where we still make so little room for listening to children and giving them time and attention that such a massive response to children with gender dysphoria is made but children expressing many other forms of anxiety and unease through challenging behaviour are excluded and criminalized, shut out of the mental health system rather than treated as children in need.
    What is really needed is a strong and sustained commitment to well-being from birth through adolescence in which all children are cared for in schools and communities by adults who have their emotional development as an equal priority to their cognitive and academic development. We might then feel more able to accommodate children’s changing ideas about themselves as they grow up without panicking and being deterministic- such an adult mistake!
    But as much as more evidence we need more wisdom. Good policy and practice needs wisdom. That requires of adults something more grown up than making policy based on fear if being labelled discriminatory .
    Thanks for the article Maggie it’s good to have our complacency poked at.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search by category

Contact Maggie