The Relationship and Sexuality Education Guide (RSE Guide) for teachers, school leaders, and boards of trustees, produced by the New Zealand Ministry of Education and published in September 2020, not only accepts but actively promotes the ideas of gender identity and gender diversity and encourages schools to focus on being a safe place for lgbtqi+ students.
The authors of the guide reveal themselves to be totally captured by gender ideology, and the guide promulgates this ideology at every point. In this regard, it is a highly politicised document that is pushing an agenda with which the majority of the population is unfamiliar and for which there is no evidential basis.
There is no recognition in the guide that there is a strongly critical international movement which completely rejects gender ideology. This movement includes academics, psychotherapists, social workers, scientists, doctors, teachers, parents, people who identify as transgender, and detransitioners.
They all reject
the notion that it is possible to change sex
the idea that gender identity is real
the language that says biological sex is “assigned” at birth
the idea that there is a male brain and a female brain
state schools promoting a belief system as if it is fact
state schools forcing staff and students to acknowledge and affirm people’s self-identification of gender
the deception involved in assisting school age children to socially transition and to keep this secret from their families
the “affirm only” approach which leaves no room to encourage a child to explore their gender expression and any confusion they may feel when their feelings and preferred behaviour do not fit with sex role stereotypes
outdated sex role stereotypes being used to encourage children to believe that they may have been born into the wrong body
giving primacy to a concept (gender) over a reality (biological sex)
children being set on a path of surgical intervention and lifelong dependence on pharmaceuticals before they are legally old enough to understand the consequences
the proposition that ‘social transition’ is harmless and in a child’s best interests
that there is ever a case for suggesting that permanently changing and damaging a healthy body is an acceptable response to any form of mental and emotional distress
that it is ever acceptable to lie to a child and pretend that they are something they are not.
Teaching gender identity across the curriculum
The RSE guide encourages the teaching of gender ideology as fact from Year 1. Five year olds are to be taught to “Understand the relationship between gender, identity and wellbeing” and the concept of ‘gender identity’ and that people can change their sex is reinforced every single year thereafter. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 30)
Level 2: Akonga can show that they: Are able to identify gender stereotypes, understand the difference between sex and gender, and know that there are diverse gender and sexual identities in society. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 31)
Level 3: Akonga can show that they: Understand how communities develop and use inclusive practices to support gender and sexual diversity. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 32)
Level 4: Akonga can show that they: Know about pubertal change (including hormonal changes, menstruation, body development, and the development of gender identities), and about how pubertal change relates to social norms around gender and sexuality; and can make plans to support their own wellbeing and that of others. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 33)
Level 5: Akonga can show that they: Know about a range of cultural approaches to issues of gender and sexuality and how these relate to holistic understandings of wellbeing, eg, in terms of: varying perspectives on contraception and reproduction for different people, such as teens, heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, and single parents or cultural, generational, and personal values related to gender and sexual identities. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 9-13 Pg 36)
Level 6: Akonga can show that they: Are able to examine how gender and sexual identities can shift in different contexts and over time, and understand how these identities can be affected by relationships, family, media, popular culture, religion, spirituality, and youth cultures. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 9-13 Pg 37)
Level 7: Akonga can show that they: Understand how sex, gender, and sexuality might change across the lifespan (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 9-13 Pg 38)
Schools are prompted to adhere to gender beliefs in everyday practices:
Programmes should acknowledge gender and sexual diversity and make sure that a range of identities is visible in resources.
Ākonga should be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns.
Teachers can reflect on and change exclusionary practices such as lining up in girls’ and boys’ lines, requiring students to place bags in girls’ or boys’ categories, or organising class groups according to gender binaries. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 36)
Further, the RSE Guide recommends embedding the concept of gender into all areas of the curriculum:
While RSE concepts and content will be specifically taught in health education and supported in physical education, there are many opportunities for RSE across the New Zealand Curriculum. (Examples are given of how to do this in physical education, English, science, technology, social sciences, the arts, languages, and mathematics and statistics.) (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 28-29)
The Guide does not draw attention to how the right of parents to withdraw their children from sexuality and relationship education classes will be impacted by this ‘embedding’ recommendation, and thus does not suggest how parents’ rights in this regard might be respected. Although the Guide correctly states that schools must consult parents about the content of relationship and sexuality lessons, there is no question that the practice of embedding the topics throughout the curriculum thwarts the ability of parents to opt their children out of specific lessons. 
The Guide asserts that
Many ākonga at primary and intermediate schools are thinking about their gender identities, and some are aware of their sexual orientation. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 35)
We would suggest that while awareness of sexual orientation is often (but not always) innate, children are only thinking about their gender identities because that is a concept that school introduces them to in their first year at school and continues to reinforce in all subsequent years.
Teaching belief as fact
The RSE Guide promotes as fact the idea that a person’s feeling of being masculine, feminine, or neither, is more important than their physical sexed body. The phrase “assigned sex at birth” is referred to multiple times and, along with the use of words such as “cisgender” and “gender fluid”, demonstrates how the Guide has completely adopted the language of gender Ideology, and uses words which are offensive to many people world-wide who do not share this ideological belief.
The scientific evidence is very clear that there are two, and only two, distinct biological sexes. Sex is not an assumption and is not “assigned at birth” – it is observed and recorded. Teaching these falsehoods means children are learning to genuinely believe that it is possible to be born in the wrong body and that a person can actually – literally – change their sex.
Schools should be promoting body positive messages, not the idea that non-conformity to gender stereotypes means that a child’s personality or body is wrong. Children should not be led to believe that they need to change their body, bind their breasts, or wear different clothes to match a regressive sex stereotype.
Confusing and contradictory definitions
The glossary for the RSE Guide for both Years 1-8 and Years 9-13 is confusing to say the least: (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 48-50)
Sexual orientation: A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are attracted. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two different things. Sexual orientation can be fluid for some people.
Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women. This is used as both a personal identity and a community identity.
Gay: A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to the same gender. This is more widely used by men than women and can be both a personal and community identity.
Bisexual: A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to more than one gender.
According to this guide, sexual orientation is about which gender a person is sexually attracted to. Any adult and many children can see the contradiction in sexual orientation being described as attraction to a gender. We all know that sexual orientation refers to the sex one is attracted to. Gender is an irrelevant concept when talking about sexual orientation.
There is no acknowledgement at all given to the clear and consistent opposition by lesbian and gay organisations to the idea of lesbians and gays being same gender attracted. Nor is there any recognition that for young lesbians and gays the idea that they ought to be attracted to the males and females who identify as the opposite sex is distressing and confusing.
Of course, in the gender identity world, gender is fluid and can change over one’s life as defined below:
Gender: Gender is an individual identity related to a continuum of masculinities and femininities. A person’s gender is not fixed or immutable.
Gender binary (male/female binary): The (incorrect) assumption that there are only two genders (girl/boy or man/woman)
Gender fluid: Describes a person whose gender changes over time and can go back and forth. The frequency of these changes depends on the individual.
Sex assigned at birth: All babies are assigned a sex at birth, usually determined by a visual observation of external genitalia. A person’s gender may or may not align with their sex assigned at birth.
Transgender (trans): This term describes a wide variety of people whose gender is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people may be binary or non-binary, and some opt for some form of medical intervention (such as hormone therapy or surgery).
The writers of the glossary seem oblivious to the incoherence of saying that gender is not binary while at the same time believing trans people can change from one side of the binary to the other (multiple times) or can be non-binary. If there is no such thing as the gender binary, doesn’t that make everyone non-binary?
Missing from the glossary are the definitions of words which reflect biology such as male and female. It is challenging to imagine how biology and reproduction will be taught in this brave new world!
(Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 48-49) & (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 9-13 Pg 53-54)
Eroding parents’ rights
The RSE guide encourages schools to socially transition children without necessarily seeking parental consent. Socially transitioning a child is not an isolated act without consequence – it is the first step in a very serious, complex and life-changing process about which parents ought to be fully informed.
Gender ideology supporters also specifically encourage gender-questioning children to speak to Rainbow organisations, peers, or an ‘online family’ rather than their parents. In some schools, advice about using binders or starting on hormones is being provided to students by teachers who are not medically qualified.
The RSE guide appears to endorse this approach, not once stating that schools should inform or seek parental permission before using a student’s preferred name or pronouns. Where students need access to ‘support services’ and these cannot be accessed onsite, the guide specifies that students should be supported in seeking access to professionals outside of the school with no mention made of seeking parental consent. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 19; Pg 22)
The question of pronouns
A child changing pronouns is the beginning of social transition. Asking students and teachers to use ‘preferred pronouns’ may appear to be kind and inclusive, but in reality is forcing other people to adhere to a belief system they may not agree with.
Preferred pronouns can cause tension and conflict through the fear, or in the event, of someone making a mistake. They cement the social transition of a child, making it harder for them to later change their mind. Some gender non-conforming children may feel forced to choose different pronouns to avoid scrutiny from bullies.
Preferred pronouns reinforce the incorrect idea that people can change their sex. When the school encourages their use, they are promoting gender ideology as fact rather than belief. It is difficult to see this as anything other than ideological indoctrination.
The RSE guide recommends, “Ideally, schools will have at least one gender-neutral toilet available for akonga, but trans, non-binary, and intersex akonga should not be required to use this rather than male or female toilets.”
This is an extraordinary double standard and creates a significant safe-guarding issue. Trans, non-binary, and intersex children can choose which toilets and changing rooms they use but girls are forced to accept males (who say they are really girls) in their toilets and changing rooms. Teaching girls that a boy really can become a girl trains them to suppress their instinctual caution and override their embarrassment and natural discomfort with having boys in their single sex spaces. It says that what girls want or feel doesn’t matter, and that they have no right to set their own boundaries.
Absolutely no consideration is given to the comfort or dignity of girls who do not want to share intimate spaces with male-bodied people and who have the right to set such boundaries. This statement clearly prioritises the needs of children who believe they are trans over those who don’t.
Gender questioning children need privacy and dignity just the same as other students. To that end, the school should ensure there are some unisex facilities for these students to utilise, but they should continue to offer single sex facilities as well. Boys and girls alike deserve a single-sex shared space where they can get changed and be comfortable together. Students are entitled to sex-segregated changing rooms, especially when some children, in particular those who are beginning puberty, are experiencing significant bodily changes.
(Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 20- 22)
The Guide is clear that it is not considered best practice to hand over the responsibility for RSE programmes to outside providers and there are a number of questions they suggest should be asked such as “How is this provider funded and what is its purpose for existing? What is its agenda?” And “Schools should evaluate the programmes and services provided by outside agencies alongside their in-school learning programmes”. (Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 1-8 Pg 34 & Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide: Years 9-12 Pg 40)
Despite these previous cautions, In April 2022 the Ministry of Education issued new resources designed to provide further support for teaching relationships and sexuality education in schools. As part of this update schools are urged to “use resources from trusted organisations like InsideOUT or RainbowYOUTH”.
Many of the third party activist groups that are endorsed by the Ministry have links on their pages that lead children to ever more extreme versions of gender ideology. These rainbow lobby groups universally glamourise the concept of being trans and convince children it is possible and even easy and desirable to change sex.
(Refer Relationships and Sexuality Education Guidelines: Years 7-10 Pg 21)
The RSE guide sets out many values with which most New Zealanders will agree, in terms of inclusiveness, safety and respect, and it deals with issues such as pornography and online abuse that are unfortunately highly relevant in today’s world. However, its heavy focus on gender theory is hazardous for children.
Many schools are now constantly promoting, in every facet of school life, the disorder of body dissociation as an ideal, chosen identity. Gender ideology communicates to children that some identities are more or less fashionable or desirable. Children who adopt a gender identity are constantly praised, put on a pedestal and celebrated; whilst lesbian, gay or heterosexual children are painted as privileged, boring, or undesirable. Placing so much significance on gender identity creates a breeding ground for social contagion and a consequent sharp increase in students developing gender dysphoria.
Affirmation of a trans identity is not kind. On the contrary it confirms to a child that they are the wrong sex and encourages their belief that their body needs to be changed. Medical intervention can only ever effect cosmetic change; the child’s sex remains the same. Other children should not be coerced into expressing a belief in ‘gender identity’ through the threat that not to do so is ‘unkind’ or ‘transphobic’.
Schools should be teaching that no child is born in the wrong body and that children can reject gender stereotypes and be their authentic selves without discrimination, labelling, or medical intervention to ‘fix’ them.
What do gender identity supporters believe?Gender identity activism is based on a belief that everyone has an innate sense of being masculine, feminine, or neither, and that this feeling does not always correlate with their sexed bodies. They believe that a person’s gender identity should take precedence over their observable sex and that everyone else must accept their self-identification. There is a range of views within gender identity activism, with some acknowledging that sex is an objective classification and others contending that sex is on a spectrum and that binary classifications are scientifically false. The more extreme activists say that there are hundreds or thousands of distinct and legitimate gender identities, all of which should be recognised by others. Extreme trans activists demand that the subjective concept of gender identity should replace the objective reality of sex in all government policy and law. For example, NZ law now allows anyone (including children) to have their birth certificate changed (multiple times) to the sex they self-declare. The fact that the birth certificate has been changed is permanently hidden from public view. Arty Morty's December 2023 substack, The War to Annihilate Sex clearly explains both sides of the debate and what is at stake.
How do gender identity beliefs affect NZ schools?The Ministry of Education published the updated Relationship and Sexuality Education Guidelines (RSE) in September 2020 which is heavily supportive of gender identity thinking. Our critique of the Guidelines is here. The Guidelines are based on Gender Identity Theory that argues that everyone has an inner feeling of masculinity, femininity, or neither that is known only to themselves and should be automatically affirmed by others, including at school. The alternative explanation for gender distress, the Developmental Model Theory, is not mentioned at all. This theory recognises that there is a very long history of people developing behaviours to manage distress and becoming fixated on them - such as obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, cutting and now gender dysphoria. Given the right support, there is also a very long history of people recovering from these conditions, however the MOE Guidelines do not suggest this alternative approach to schools. Schools are required to consult their community on the contents of sexuality education and parents retain the right to withdraw their children from these lessons. However, parents are often unaware of the incidental discussion of trans beliefs in everyday classroom conversations. Advice on how to communicate with your school on this issue is here. In the name of being inclusive and kind, schools and other students feel they must use new names and pronouns (see below) for transgender children and must provide special facilities for them. The RSE guidelines direct schools to allow students to use the facilities “of the gender identity they are most comfortable with” and students are often not consulted or are pressured into agreeing with that policy. The RSE guide encourages schools to support a child’s social transition (see below) without mentioning the need to consult parents. Under the Education Act, principals are expected to inform parents of any matters that in the principal’s opinion “are preventing or slowing the student’s progress... (or) harming the student’s relationships with teachers or other students.” This expectation is entirely dependent on the principal’s opinion and there is no case law to clarify the extent or limits of the principal’s decision. If the principal is fully supportive of organisations like InsideOUT and follows its advice, parents will not be informed. Some parents of trans children are not informing the school of their child’s transition and the Human Rights Commission recommends that, if known, schools keep the transition a secret from other parents. This removes the right of other parents to know who their child shares space with in school changing rooms and on school camps. Rainbow organisations with good funding have been able to influence LGBTQ education in schools in many Western countries, including NZ. Under the guise of anti-bullying programmes, many schools contract out to activist groups to provide sex education that confuses children about biological reality and can persuade them to claim a gender identity. Support groups for lesbians and gays in schools are disappearing in favour of transgender support. It has become ‘uncool’ to be lesbian and the attention and compassion for the rainbow community is now mostly reserved for those with a trans identity. In the past, children who were gay or lesbian were often bullied. Now it is becoming common for children to be bullied for not being ‘queer’. Some children have discovered that adopting a non-binary persona is a necessary safeguard.
What is the problem with preferred pronouns and inclusive language?Contrary to trans activists’ claims, requiring people to use ‘preferred pronouns’ is not inclusive, nor is it kind. It forces everyone to take sides in an ideological belief and can lead to bullying of those who choose the ‘wrong’ pronouns for themselves, or accidentally use the ‘wrong’ pronoun for others. Using preferred pronouns has become a linguistic game that “cultivates fragility, entitlement ... and brainwashes children into hating their bodies.” Pronouns have become weaponised, leading to accusations of ‘misgendering’ that are used to excessively punish small perceived errors in speech with charges of bigotry and violence. ‘Preferred pronouns’ are touted as a mark of respect but they are more often a mark of submission. Many people object to being compelled to use chosen pronouns, for example in cases where female victims of violence have been required to address their male abusers as ‘she’. Trans activists, representing about 1% of the population, are demanding radical changes to the language for the other 99%. ‘Women’ has been given a circular and nonsensical new meaning: a woman is now any person who feels like a woman. Medical terms for women’s anatomy and bodily functions are being discarded in favour of words that are disconnected from women altogether: vagina becomes ‘front hole’; breast-feeding becomes ‘chest feeding’; mother becomes ‘birthing parent’. Pride in being a girl, woman or a mother is taken away. These new terms, designed for the comfort of a very few, will result in disadvantaged women and girls being even further distanced from the health care they need.
Is social transition harmless?Social transition can mean anything from choosing a gender-neutral nickname and wearing androgynous clothing, right through to adopting an opposite sex name, pronouns, and clothes and wanting to be recognised as the opposite sex by everyone else in all facets of life. Far from being “kind and affirming” as claimed, it fixes the new identity and makes it harder for children to later change their minds. When everyone else is expected to go along with the fiction, children are learning that affirming another’s belief is what matters and questioning is wrong.
What is ROGD?Dr Lisa Littman, Public Health Assistant Professor at Brown University, coined the term Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) after studying the phenomenon of the sudden onset of gender dysphoria amongst girls belonging to a peer group where multiple friends have become transgender-identified during the same timeframe, often accompanied by lengthy periods spent on social media and the internet. Some of the results from Littman’s study are: 41% of the participants had expressed a non-heterosexual sexual orientation before identifying as transgender; 62.5% had been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder or neurodevelopmental disability prior to the onset of gender dysphoria; in 36.8% of the friendship groups, the majority of the friends became trans-identified; and 49.4% tried to isolate from their families. Boys and young men also experience ROGD. Some of their stories have been collected in a four part Quillette series. There has been a twenty fold rise in the number of people seeking transition, with teenagers hugely-overrepresented. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of transgender youth clinics in the US went from 1 to 41 and the number continues to increase. A survey in the UK has found a 15 fold increase in children being referred for gender treatment since 2010, and also a marked regional difference with referrals in Blackpool three times the national rate. In this 5 minute video, Abigail Shrier explains the phenomenon of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) and its tragic effects on a generation of (mostly) girls. Shrier is the author of Irreversible Damage: the transgender craze seducing our daughters.
What is the problem with puberty blockers?Puberty blockers are an experimental treatment that is too readily prescribed to young people who cannot fully understand the consequences. Puberty blockers are drugs that were developed for the treatment of prostate cancer and they have never been certified as safe and effective for treating gender dysphoria. Multiple reviews of the use of puberty blockers have all found a lack of evidence for their safety or efficacy. These reviews include: Finland 2020 revised its treatment guidelines, prioritising psychological interventions and support over medical interventions. Sweden 2021 The Karolinska Hospital ceased the use of puberty blockers for those aged under 18. Sweden 2022 Following a comprehensive review, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare concluded that the evidence base for hormonal interventions for gender dysphoric youth is of low quality and that hormonal treatments may carry risks. As a result of this determination, the eligibility for pediatric gender transition with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in Sweden will be sharply curtailed. France 2022 The French National Academie of Medicine recommended caution in the use of puberty blockers: “...the greatest reserve is required in their use, given the side effects such as impact on growth, bone fragility, risk of sterility, emotional and intellectual consequences and, for girls, symptoms reminiscent of menopause”. Florida 2022 The Florida Department of Health issued new guidelines on treating gender dysphoria for children and adolescents which recommends that minors should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy. United Kingdom 2022 An independent review, led by Dr Hilary Cass, highlighted a profound lack of evidence and medical consensus about the best approach to treating gender dysphoria in children. Norway 2023 After a review, the Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board stated it has serious concerns about the treatment of gender dysphoria in children and that the current ‘gender affirming’ guidelines are not evidence-based and must be revised. Denmark 2023 In a marked shift in the country's approach to caring for youth with gender dysphoria, most youth who are referred to the centralised gender clinic now receive therapeutic counselling and support, rather than a prescription for puberty blockers. New Zealand 2022 In September 2022, the NZ Ministry of Health website quietly removed its description of puberty blockers as being “safe and fully reversible” and replaced it with “Blockers are sometimes used from early puberty through to later adolescence to allow time to fully explore gender health options.” Unlawful. In this article, Bernard Lane describes how the NZ Ministry of Health was warned by Medsafe in September 2022 it could be breaking the law by publicising the off-label use of puberty blockers for children. Questions mount around the use of puberty blockers in children. by Jan Rivers. "New Zealand rates of puberty blocker use are much higher than the UK, where the Tavistock Clinic’s Gender Service (GIDS) was closed due to unsafe practices. In New Zealand, Dr Sue Bagshaw reports that 65 per cent of her clinic’s 100 patients receive them. The Tavistock GIDS clinic prescribed blockers to about 6 per cent." Flaws in Dutch Puberty Blocker Study 2023 A peer-reviewed open access publication has exposed deep flaws in the Dutch studies that formed the foundation for youth gender transition and concluded that these studies should never have been used to launch the practice of youth gender transition into mainstream medicine. Puberty blockers are wrongly claimed to be fully reversible. Short term studies have shown changes to height, lower bone density, and potential interference with brain function, while long term effects are unknown. Treating gender dysphoria with puberty blockers is a medical experiment which may leave young people in a state of ‘developmental limbo’ without the beneficial effects of puberty on maturation and the development of secondary sex characteristics. A 2021 Swedish documentary described finding “case after case of irreversible treatment of young people gone wrong", including a 15 year old who has constant pain from severely reduced bone density after being on puberty blockers for four years. Nearly all young people who start puberty blockers go on to life-long use of cross sex hormones and their irreversible effects. In a study carried out by the Gender Identity Development Service in the UK, of 44 children who were referred for puberty blockers between the ages of 12 and 15, all except one – 98% of the cohort – progressed to cross-sex hormones. Studies have shown that a large majority (around 80%) of trans identified youth grow up to change their minds and accept their biological sex. The current rush to affirm a trans identity by some counsellors, clinicians and parents means large numbers of children are being medicalised when a ‘watchful waiting’ approach would have been most appropriate.
What is the Swedish transgender experience?As with other Western nations, in the mid 2000s, Sweden enthusiastically started treating children who had gender dysphoria with hormones, followed by genital surgery. However, in late 2019, there was a sharp 65% decline in the number of referrals to gender clinics in Sweden, as shown in the graph below. This sharp decline corresponds with experts calling on the government to review treatment protocols and with the airing of a television documentary – Trans Train – that revealed to the population that medical transition of minors is not based on scientific evidence. In April 2021, Sweden announced a new policy for the treatment of gender dysphoric minors. Those under 18 will no longer be prescribed puberty blockers or cross sex hormones and doctors are required to give better explanations of the risks and uncertainties of transition. Following a comprehensive review, in February 2022 the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare concluded that the evidence base for hormonal interventions for gender dysphoric youth is of low quality and that hormonal treatments may carry risks. As a result of this determination, the eligibility for pediatric gender transition with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in Sweden will be sharply curtailed. For most youth, psychiatric care and gender-exploratory psychotherapy will be offered instead. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis, and the number of clinics providing paediatric gender transition will be reduced to a few highly specialised centralised care centres.
What is the United Kingdom transgender experience?The exponential rise in teenage girls seeking medical gender transition began to raise alarm bells and the Keira Bell case confirmed that there are serious questions about the efficacy and long term impact of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. In April 2021 a report by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) found the evidence for using puberty blocking drugs to treat young people struggling with their gender identity is “very low”. A further independent review, led by Dr Hilary Cass, released an interim report in March 2022 that highlights a profound lack of evidence and medical consensus about the best approach to treating gender dysphoria in children. This is Dr Cass's latest update (Dec 2022) about the proposed changes to the UK's transgender medicine services. Following the interim Cass Report, in April 2022, the UK Health Secretary,Sajid Javid, announced an urgent review into gender treatment services for children in England, saying that services in this area were too affirmative and narrow, and “bordering on the ideological”. In December 2022 the Scottish parliament passed a bill allowing sex-self-ID. In January 2023, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak announced his government would block the legislation. Days later, Nicola Sturgeon, the then Scottish First Minister was embroiled in a controversy about a rapist who had self-identified into a women's prison. Time to Think by Hannah Barnes was published in January 2023. This Guardian review of the Gender Identity development service describes, "As referrals to Gids grew rapidly – in 2009, it had 97; by 2020, this figure was 2,500 – so did pressure on the service. Barnes found that the clinic – which employed an unusually high number of junior staff, to whom it offered no real training – no longer had much time for the psychological work (the talking therapies) of old. But something else was happening, too. Trans charities such as Mermaids were closely – too closely – involved with Gids. Such organisations vociferously encouraged the swift prescription of drugs. This now began to happen, on occasion, after only two consultations. Once a child was on blockers, they were rarely offered follow-up appointments. Gids did not keep in touch with its patients in the long term, or keep reliable data on outcomes."
What are the effects of cross sex hormones?For females, taking testosterone irreversibly deepens the voice, promotes the growth of facial and body hair, and enlarges the clitoris. It also can thicken the blood, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack. Body fat is redistributed and sweat and body odour are affected. Vaginal atrophy (the thinning and drying of the vaginal wall) is usual and menstruation is reduced or ceases. Initially there is often a ‘high’ produced by the increased testosterone, with anxiety and emotional responses markedly reduced, but this may not last long term. For males, taking oestrogen causes the development of breasts, a reduction in muscle mass and body hair, reduced testicular size and sperm count, the redistribution of fat, a change in sweat and body odour and changes in emotions. For both sexes there is a loss of sexual function – vaginal atrophy in females (drier vaginal walls can cause pain during sex), and reduced erectile function in males. Both sexes can experience a change in sexual interest, arousal, and orgasm. There is also possible infertility in both sexes caused by the reduced ovulation and sperm production. Children who move directly from puberty blockers to artificial sex hormones will never go through the puberty for their sex and boys’ penises will remain permanently immature, at the size of a child’s. Gender-affirming surgery that includes hysterectomy and oophorectomy in transmen (females) or orchiectomy in transwomen (males) results in permanent sterility.
What is the reality of a sex change operation?A lot of the hype around gender identity ideology says that sex re-assignment surgery is simple and that it will make the patient indistinguishable from someone born as the desired sex. The euphemisms used of ‘top surgery’ or ‘bottom surgery’ blatantly hide the truth. All sex-reassignment surgery is potentially dangerous, often disfiguring, and it never provides the full appearance and function of natural genitalia. Young people are being misled. Sex re-assignment surgery also permanently sterilises the patient through castration of males and the removal of the ovaries and uterus of females. Here are two accounts from people who have undergone the surgery, one from Scott Newgent and one from Melissa Vulgaris, describing what it was like for them. In this interview, detransitioner Ritchie Herron describes the catastrophic effects of his gender surgery which he says was "the biggest mistake of my life." On GB News, detransitioners Keira Bell and Ritchie Herron describe the lack of information they were given about the side effects of surgery and the pressure they felt under to agree to the recommendations of their doctors and therapists.
What is a detransitioner?A detransitioner is a person who has undergone medical and/or surgical transition to the opposite gender but has later come to regret this choice and has reverted to their biological sex. Here is a personal account of detransitioning from Ellie and Nele and another from Sinead Watson. After ceasing the taking of cross sex hormones some of the changes wrought may be diminished but many of them, especially of course any surgeries, are irreversible. Reports that the percentage of people with regret is very low usually do not take into account the enormous and rapid increase in those identifying as transgender in the past ten years and websites to support detransitioners have attracted followers in the tens of thousands. A recent study by Dr Lisa Littman suggests that detransition is under-reported and needs to be comprehensively studied to develop alternative, non-invasive approaches to treating gender dysphoria for young people. In this interview, detransitoner Ritchie Herron describes the catastrophic effects of his gender surgery which he says was "the biggest mistake of my life." On GB News, detransitioners Keira Bell and Ritchie Herron describe the lack of information they were given about the side effects of surgery and the pressure they felt under to agree to the recommendations of their doctors and therapists.
Are trans rights an extension of gay rights? Are trans rights human rights?Everyone, including transgender people, has human rights as stated by the United Nations Declaration. Trans rights activists seek to claim extra rights that others don’t have, for example, to be able to keep secret a previous identity, or to be able to prescribe how language is used. Gay rights concern the right for consenting adults to have same-sex relationships and to have the same rights as heterosexual people. Trans rights, on the other hand, seek the extra right to self-identify into a protected group and be eligible for that group’s special discretions. Gay rights accept that there are two sexes, the distinct reproductive capacity of each, and do not denmand medical or surgical treatments. Trans rights reject the science of sex and claim that what a person thinks and feels is of most importance and that those thoughts and feelings can literally transform a body into the opposite sex. Trans rights dictate that everyone adheres to the trans way of interpreting and describing gender and sex. Trans rights demand medical and surgical treatment as a right and put transgender people, often young people influenced by social media, onto a conveyor belt of lifelong medicalisation. Gay rights do not require others to forfeit anything or demand fundamental changes to everyday language. Trans rights insist on the forfeiture of single sex spaces, sports, scholarships, representation, and even language. Trans rights push to censor the words used to describe women and women’s bodies – foundational words like ‘mother’ or ‘woman’ – and replace them with dehumanising words like ‘birthing parent’, ‘bodies with vaginas’ and ‘people who menstruate’. Transgender activists are undermining gay rights by claiming same-sex attraction is really same-gender attraction and by denying biological reality. Without biological sex, there is no homosexuality. Arty Morty's December 2023 substack "The War to Annihilate Sex" looks at the gender debate from his perspective as a gay man.
What is the definition of a woman?Until very recently, everyone would have answered this question with the perfectly clear dictionary definition: “adult human female.” However, in the past few years many people have become so caught up in gender ideology, or so afraid of being labelled transphobic, that they find the question impossible to answer. Despite a large number of politicians, journalists, a US Supreme Court Judge nominee, and various celebrities being unable to define the term and tying themselves in knots in the effort, every woman remains, and always will be, an “adult human female”. A female is born with the reproductive anatomy to produce eggs and bear young. Even if a female’s reproductive anatomy is incomplete or inactive, or she has had a hysterectomy, every adult human female is still a woman.
Does the existence of intersex people prove sex is on a spectrum? How common are intersex conditions?Intersex should more correctly be called DSD - differences in sex development. It is a medical condition not a gender identity and therefore has nothing in common with the trans rights socio-political campaign. Intersex conditions have been co-opted by trans activists in an attempt to try to prove that sex is on a spectrum. Whether a person is male or female is the result of a complex interaction of chromosomes, genes, and hormones, and this intricate process does not always go fully to plan. In other words, some humans are born with differences in sex development (DSD). This in no way counters the fact that in the vast majority of cases – 99% – the complex process does work and humans can be reliably classified as male or female in the first trimester of pregnancy. Sex is not on a spectrum. The only time sex is “assigned” at birth is in the very rare cases where the baby’s physical genitalia are not immediately classifiable as male or female. In all other births, sex is observed and recorded at birth. A small number of people are born with ambiguous genitalia or internal organs that don’t match their chromosomes. Claims that 1.7% of people are intersex (the same as the incidence of red hair) have been inflated by including in the count those with conditions such as Klinefelter or Turner syndromes. People with these syndromes are always male (Klinefelter) or female (Turner) who have chromosomal abnormalities; they are not intersex. To retain its proper meaning, the DSD label (intersex) should be restricted to those conditions where chromosomes and genitalia are inconsistent and not classifiable as male or female. Using that criteria, the prevalence of DSD is about 0.018%. Read more here: https://resistgendereducation.substack.com/p/the-intersex-red-herring
How many transgender people are there in New Zealand?A recent Statistics NZ Household Economic Survey of more than 31,000 people found that 4.2% identified as LGBT+ of which 0.8 % were transgender or non-binary. Rainbow community leaders expressed surprise that the number wasn’t higher and thought some people were unwilling to disclose their identities. The same questions will be asked in the 2023 census. Having the correct statistics for transgender people is important so we know how many people are affected by transgender issues and also how much resource should equitably be allocated to their specific needs.
Do all transgender people have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria?Not any more. Gender dysphoria is a well-documented psychological condition that used to mainly affect men. Hormone and surgical treatments were devised to assist adult men and a ‘watchful waiting’ approach was taken for young people with gender dysphoria because approximately 80% come to accept their biological sex as adults. In the past twelve years two major changes have happened: Firstly, there has been an exponential rise in the number of children and teenagers attending gender transition clinics around the Western world. In the UK, over the ten years from 2009 to 2019, the increase was more than 1,400% for boys and more than 5,000% for girls, meaning girls are now far more likely to identify as transgender than are boys. Very high rates of autism, psychiatric disorders and a history of trauma had often been diagnosed in these patients before they announced they wanted to change gender. Secondly, many transgender people are claiming a new gender identity without a diagnosis of dysphoria and sometimes even without intending to have any hormonal or surgical treatment. Because of these changes, “transgender” is now an umbrella term that does include some people with diagnosed gender dysphoria, but also many people who are simply non-conforming to gender stereotypes or who like cross-dressing.
Do transgender people have worse mental health problems and higher suicide rates than the general population?Counting Ourselves, a frequently quoted NZ survey of 1,100 trans and non-binary people, reported that 71% of the respondents disclosed psychological distress and 56% had thought about attempting suicide in the past 12 months, with 37% having attempted suicide at some time, but there are serious flaws in the report’s methodology and questions. These statistics are repeatedly given as irrefutable fact but Counting Ourselves, and other similar surveys, are not a random sample of a population and cannot be verified against a control group. Further, asking respondents to self-report attempted suicide is known to overestimate the rate. The report itself says “our use of nonprobability sampling means that the generalizability of our results to the wider transgender population in Aotearoa/New Zealand and beyond should be interpreted with caution”. Suicide rarely has one cause and it is difficult for studies to extricate gender dysphoria from other factors. Although trans-identified people do suffer worse mental health than the general population, they also have higher rates of anxiety, depression, trauma, and neurological conditions that usually predate the trans identity. Most surveys do not take into account pre-existing conditions or co-morbidities and simply attribute the poor mental health to being transgender. Exaggerated suicide statistics are being used as a form of emotional blackmail (“Better a live daughter than a dead son”) to push parents, clinicians, and others into acquiescing to irreversible treatments for minors. The UK Gender Identity Development Service states on its website: “The majority of the children and young people we see do not self harm, nor do they make attempts to end their own life. Although there is a higher rate of self-harm in the young people who are seen at GIDS compared to all teenagers, it is a similar rate to that seen in local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).” There is little evidence that medical transition decreases suicidality or that puberty blockers are necessary to prevent suicide. A long-term Swedish study found that post-operative transgender people have “considerably higher risks for suicidal behaviour”.
What is the problem with banning conversion therapy?The Conversion Therapy Practices Prohibition Act will come into force in 2023 and is intended to protect all LGBTQIA+ people from conversion therapy, which is defined as any practice that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. However, including gender identity in this Act may prevent young people from receiving the most appropriate care for their gender dysphoria. Although health practitioners are permitted to take an action if they consider “in their reasonable professional judgement it is appropriate” it is not clear whether parents and counsellors will have the same protection. Under threat of possible prosecution, some may feel forced to affirm a transgender identity instead of investigating other possible causes of gender dysphoria or delaying treatment while waiting for the patient to mature. The UK government has delayed a similar bill after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission urged careful and detailed consideration of its significant and wide-ranging implications. After announcing in January 2023 that a bill banning conversion therapy was imminent, by May 2023, the UK government has not yet introduced it.