This review of the programme ‘When Mum Becomes Dad’, part of a series called ‘My Life’ on CBBC and now available on the BBC iPlayer, has been written by one of our supporters

The BBC is at it again. Not to be outdone by ABC and its Orwell-esque style of propaganda delivery, it has decided to ramp up its attention by using other devices to inculcate trans ideology: pre-teens. However, this time these children (who I won’t name here) are not speaking up for themselves. No; they are advocating for their trans ‘fathers’. In this episode ‘double think’ has been so effectively achieved that these nominated gender prophets are given the job of spreading the word of their parents’ faith, evidently in the hope that they will be more efficient proselytisers.

The opening sketch from this Ministry of Truth missile seduces children with funky, upbeat music paired with a gender performance. Clearly meant to induce feelings of inclusivity and fun, any objections can therefore be brushed aside as cynicism and unkindliness. Shortly, we see an open wardrobe door and ‘man clothes’ spilling out, the clear signal of a new identity.

The performance continues when the owner of the clothes states that they are “living as a man”. Given that their daughter says that both parents “do the same things”, one wonders exactly what it means to ‘live as a man’ in her family, aside from binning dresses and sporting a beard. However, the fact that she refers to her birth mother as “Dad Jack” makes it apparent that Jack is not merely a non-conformist woman, a gender rebel, if you like. Nope; Jack has ‘always’ been a man inside. There has never been any ‘transition’. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

Concerning for safeguarding and confusing for young people with no biological knowledge, Jack refers to pictures in which they were pregnant with a younger brother. Children who have potentially had no sex education may well be left believing in the magic of sex change – genuinely believing that men can become mothers. In doing this, the BBC seems to be grooming a whole generation of children to challenge legislation such as the ruling in the Freddy McConnell case (heard just two weeks before the release of this show), where the judge said that biological mothers are always female and may not be recorded on birth certificates as ‘fathers’.

We find out later what wearing the apparel normally associated with the opposite sex can do when it is coupled with gender performance and physical transformation: we meet another girl, who is mourning the loss of her mother, her female role model, due to her ‘replacement’ by a ‘father’. No wonder children are confused when more gender boxes are constructed rather than broken down, as they had been from the 1970s until a few years ago. Rather than simply having a ‘masculine looking’ mother, children now have Mums who call themselves ‘Dads’ simply based on their looks. This is the same old misogyny, newly trussed up.

The most disturbing aspect of this episode is the extent to which the emotional roles are reversed. The children featured shoulder a significant emotional burden as a result of their mother’s decisions to transition, and children are seen taking on what they perceive to be their parents’ feelings. This is grossly inappropriate; a child’s mental health should never be compromised because of their parents’ decisions.

Why should other parents be concerned about this show?

First, for the same reason that the Department of Education (at least now that ‘Stonewall Champion’ Jonathan Slater is out of the picture) is worried about similar approaches used by those providing RSE ‘teaching’ resources to schools: children’s tv has the ability to shape children’s opinions and has long been used to mould perspectives. The BBC knows how hard it is for children to dissent from orthodoxy and, as such, this is no covert operation: the BBC is using children’s minds as a ‘battleground’ for the ‘progressive’ agenda of the 21st century.

Second, schools should be places where children are able to discuss ideas and dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy. The scene where the elder children visit the 9-year-old’s school to instruct his classmates in the ‘correct’ way to behave towards trans people, for example to “be kind by just accepting who they tell you that they are”, leaves no room for disagreement. But schools should be places where children should be taught that disagreement is not discrimination – and disagreement is not the same as ‘hate’. This sort of binary thinking leads to dangerous guidance, such as the CPS’s Schools’ Hate Crime Guidance (removed after a successful challenge by SSA UK) and the recently released guidance published by The College of Policing.

According to the Crowdfunder for Miss B, a 14-year-old girl challenging The College of Policing’s new guidance, a non-crime hate incident is:

“any non-crime incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on” a person’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or a person who is or is perceived as transgender. “Hostility” is said by the College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice Guidance on Hate Crime to include “ill-will, ill-feeling, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment, and dislike”.

And disturbingly:

“the victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief [that the incident is motivated by hostility or prejudice] for the purposes of reporting, and police officers or staff should not directly challenge this perception.”

Leading to the inescapable conclusion that the “power given to the police to punish a pupil with a police record is alarmingly broad”.

As with the College of Policing, there is a serious question mark over whether the BBC, long-time producer of quality programmes, understands the nature of its interventions. If the BBC’s objective is to contribute to the elimination of the bullying of children with trans parents, then this episode is a miscalculation. Instead, its aim could be achieved by ensuring that schools have effective anti-bullying policies that reach everyone. However, rather than this approach, which would not involve coercion, harmful gender stereotypes have instead been deployed: words are weaponised against the whetstone of emotion.

One of the two children featured in this document tells younger pupils it does not feel nice when people “aren’t accepting and aren’t loving” about their trans Dad. This stricture goes beyond what is actually required and even possible in a civilised society, spilling into the realms of authoritarianism. Standing over younger children, instructing them how they how they must feel and think has all the hallmarks of preaching from a pulpit.

Whilst no one should bully others because of real or perceived differences of them or their loved ones, the idea that no one else is entitled to their personal beliefs – which may include religious beliefs in the immutability of sex, or radical feminist gender abolitionist beliefs – should be as vigorously defended.

It is time to subject CBBC to the same restrictions outlined in the Government’s RSE guidance for schools. Issued in September, it directs that:

You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear.”


“teachers should not suggest to a child that their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat individual students with sympathy and support.”

If the BBC were a school, scenes from ‘My Trans Father’ would warrant a report to Ofsted.

Furthermore, in light of the recent decision in Bell and A v the Tavistock NHS Foundation Trust the BBC needs to reflect further on its ‘be kind’ message. The terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are conflated with such regularity that the BBC cannot know the effect of this on children. They cannot follow up on their understanding as parents and teachers can. Leading children to believe that it is possible for someone to change themselves medically so that they actually become a member of the opposite sex betrays a reckless cavalier attitude towards the consequences that may arise from this charade.

It is unacceptable that the BBC can and do circumvent basic safeguarding rules. The BBC knows full well that children have unsupervised access to CBBC’s app, that parents have busy lives and that they place (a now unwarranted) trust in it. Sadly, some content is downright dangerous. The BBC is cynically manipulating – one might even say ‘exploiting’ – children in order to further agendas unsupported by science. Just where are all the adults?

A supporter

4 thoughts on “‘When Mum becomes Dad’ review: where are all the adults?

  1. Thank you so much for reminding me of the legal grounds which I will use to make a complaint to BBC.

    As a transwidow raising (then) 12 and 10 year-olds I have strong views on why “grooming” (or “manipulation”) is destructive of emotional truth and thus of the internal emotional development of the child. I can contrast the development of my two children by my trans ex-husband with the development of my stepson (13 years older) whose life was blighted by uncertainty and a mental breakdown at University. Mental illness is well known to run in families unless it is identified and tackled – RD Laing: “The Voice of Experience” 1982. Old but still wise.
    I have much, much more to say on this matter.

  2. I have now submitted my complaint to the BBC as follows:
    (1) CBBC should not promote the idea of “gender stereotypes” in adults any more than in children. The channel should obey the same restrictions outlined in the Government’s RSE guidance for schools in respect of adults as well as children. Issued in September 2020, the guidance directs that: “You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear.” And “teachers should not suggest to a child that their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat individual students with sympathy and support.” Exactly the same guidelines apply to the mental breakdown of a mother, aka “transition”, to become another “dad” to her biological children. The programme showed clearly that the biological mother continued to provide the motherly role of day-to-day care of the children, ferrying them to and from school, liaising with teachers, organising after school and birthday activities. Why is this some “special” state? The CBBC is promoting a “stereotype” of what it is to be a mother. Actually “Dad Jack” was, is and will always be the child’s mother. (2) It is child abuse to pretend to a child that their mother can change their biological sex. The BBC should not promote the scientifically wrong idea that human beings can change their biological sex. (3) The children are far too young to understand the subtle distinction between sex – a biological reality – and “gender” which is a social construct. (4) The BBC should not be promoting “Gender identity” ideology which is a disturbing and deeply destructive belief which promotes “gender” stereotypes, which impact much more adversely on women and girls. If the BBC were a school, scenes from ‘When my Mum becomes Dad’ would warrant a report to Ofsted for destroying mental health.
    Select the best category to describe your complaint Factual error or inaccuracy

  3. Very eloquently put, thank you. It was the most upsetting thing I’ve watched in a long time. I saw it on a youtube podcast. We actually cancelled our BBC licence at the beginning of 2020. I wish more people would do the same if they feel strongly about what the BBC broadcasts and the way in which they do it.

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