Please read the original article here.

There are several troubling points within this article which Safe Schools Alliance would like to address.

Firstly, Leo, the child in the article states, ‘I thought, well I have to be a lesbian then, because I fancy girls…but when I spoke to the counsellor, the best way I could put it was I fancied girls, but as a boy’. This statement suggests deep-rooted internalised homophobia and demonstrates that the societal expectation to be heterosexual is so powerful that some children identify as trans in an attempt to reject their homosexuality. Safe Schools Alliance believe that it is incumbent upon responsible adults — particularly those working within education, healthcare and psychological therapy — to recognise internalised homophobia amongst trans-identified children and make efforts to challenge this, instead of perpetuating it by affirming the child’s trans identity.

Secondly, Leo’s mother says that ‘when he got his period, he went from being sad and depressed to awful’ and explains that she took this as confirmation that her child was legitimately transgender and that ‘it wasn’t a phase’. Safe Schools Alliance would like to point out that many, many young girls find getting their first period to be very traumatic. Older girls and women still find their monthly experience of menstruation to be negative, routinely describing it as inconvenient, restrictive, painful and even debilitating. Safe Schools Alliance would like to clarify that a girl or woman having negative experiences of menstruation is entirely normal and is not indicative of a transgender identity, as is suggested in comments in this article.

Although the article explains that patients at the GIDS must wait for a period of time to be sure of their decision, Leo was still a child when deciding to undergo ‘irreversible changes to his gender identity’. Safe Schools Alliance feel that it is gravely irresponsible to allow children, regardless of their perceived level of maturity and cognition, to make such significant and permanent decisions regarding their health.

Worryingly, a Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist at the Gender Identity Development Service quoted in the article admits that ‘we don’t know the full psychological effects of the blocker or whether it alters the course of adolescent brain development’. Again, Safe Schools Alliance ask: why are children being treated with medication when the long-term effects are unknown or otherwise demonstrably detrimental?

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