top of page

Find the latest gender education news and monthly newsletters, posted under The Latest.


2023 News

UK Guidance on trans pupils about to be published. Maya Forstater, from Sex Matters, commented, “We are relieved that the long-awaited guidance is coming out, and that it will rule out most aspects of social transition clearly.”

But she added: “The idea that there is a “presumption against” social transitioning passes the buck back to schools to negotiate and to face the risk of legal challenges. It is irresponsible and unworkable to suggest that there are some unspecified situations where a school may be obliged to pretend that a boy is a girl, or vice versa.” She called for the Government to issue ‘common sense guidance’ stating that children are either born male or female and cannot change sex.

Press release 25 November 2023 in response to Coalition commitment to remove and replace RSE Guide.

The Free Speech Union has written to Berhampore School and the Secretary for Education, Iona Holstead, following discriminatory treatment by the school of parents who questioned the school's PRIDE week activities. In the letters, the FSU advocated for the need to "foster intellectual diversity and consult in good faith on relationships and sexuality curriculum."

The UK Council for Psychotherapy has issued new "guidance regarding gender critical views" that "accepts that the treatment of gender dysphoria is a complex matter, that psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors may hold differing views on what approach is in the best interests of their clients, and that these views and practices, and their associated professional diversities, should also be respected."

"A Terrible Trap", an article by Charlotte Paul about the dangers of puberty blockers, was published in the December 2023 issue of "North and South". You can access it on the Libby app by using your library card. In the article Paul says, "We have taught these girls to think they are really boys and thus to be disturbed by the changes of puberty... The only solution looks to be the suppressing of puberty. We adults have encouraged children to think like this."

Genspect NZ was launched at a webinar on 10 November and its new Gender Care Framework was introduced. Genspect's vision is to move beyond a medical understanding of gender identity and gender distress that typically leads to invasive medical interventions and toward a deeper understanding of gender and identity.

In a major campaign called the Declaration of Biological Reality, more than 80 pressure groups and public figures have come together in the UK to call for an end to the spread of gender ideology across society.

A new Talbot-Mills poll confirms that the majority of NZers do not agree with gender identity ideology, with 60% opposed to males in women’s sports and 50% opposed to males who identify as women using women’s bathrooms. Yet, during the election campaign, most politicians denied that gender identity was an issue, with Christopher Luxon scoffing that people who thought so were “on a different planet”.

Following the ‘Voices for Children’ rally at Parliament on 31 October, Mana Wāhine Kōrero has launched a petition seeking an independent inquiry “into all gender identity services, including state, private and charitable services for children and adolescents, with a focus on public funding, children in care, mental health services, education, and outcomes for families.” So far, over 1200 people have signed.

Another petition from Trudy Taurua urges the Government to ensure that girls-only bathrooms are available in schools as safe spaces for girls.

In this Free Post article, Finnish specialist, Dr Riittakerttu Kaltiala  explains that “My country, and others, found there is no solid evidence supporting the medical transitioning of young people.”

In east Auckland, a group called Mama Bears Arising has produced this leaflet that will be dropped into letterboxes. Mama Bears Arising encourages other parents or concerned citizens to print and distribute the leaflet in their own communities. Email for a print quality PDF.

2022 News

Parents lose legal challenge against RSE curriculum. A group of parents in Wales launched a judicial review against the Welsh government’s new relationship and sexuality (RSE) curriculum which is mandatory for all pupils from the age of three. Although the challenge was rejected by the judge, the claimants plan to appeal.

In December 2022, the Swiss Government rejected introducing a third gender to official records. However, Switzerland has already allowed sex self-identification since January 2022. This article describes some of the consequences of such legislation.

Media Council rules that questioning gender theory is not akin to climate change denial. 

After a complaint about Stuff’s reportage of the Child and Adolescent Therapists’ Association Conference in August 2022, the Media Council stated: 

This is a sensitive, complicated and important topic, where there appears to be evolving scientific debate. The Council rejects Stuff’s argument that it is analogous to climate change. In the case of climate change there is an overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion, whereas on the issue of childhood gender dysphoria there seems to be a variety of genuinely held and differing opinions internationally… [the Council] hopes Stuff and other media outlets will consider whether they are taking a balanced approach overall. It is important that all reasonable views are allowed to be heard, given the seriousness of the matters under consideration.”

Flaws in Dutch Puberty Blocker Study

A new peer-reviewed open-access publication exposes deep flaws in the Dutch studies that formed the foundation for youth gender transition. The authors conclude that these studies should have never been used to launch the practice of youth gender transition into mainstream medicine.

The study itself is available open-access below:

Dr Sarah Donovan on how the media in New Zealand are letting down the parents of gender questioning children.

An update on how Catholic schools in Australia are approaching the ‘gender question’ and discouraging students from seeking ‘gender affirming’ surgery. You can read about it here

The video link from the CATA Conference held in Nelson last month is now available. You can listen to all the speakers here

Teacher gets $95,000 settlement after being suspended for not using student’s preferred name, pronouns

Click to read more.

Parents of gender-questioning children being let down 

In this piercing article, Dr Sarah Donovan asks why New Zealand families are  being left in an information vacuum by the lack of reporting by local media of “some pretty extraordinary developments in recent weeks”.

Disturbing sex-ed handout 

Despite being withdrawn from a sexuality class at a Northland school, a 12-year-old girl was given a handout with explicit answers to sexuality questions after the teacher had attended a Family Planning course.

Notes from the CATA conference 

Writing in the Standard, Harriet summarises the presentation made by Irish psychotherapist, Stella O’Malley, to the Child and Adolescent Therapists Association conference in Nelson on 5 August.

Tavistock gender clinic to be sued

Lawyers expect about 1,000 families to join a medical negligence lawsuit alleging vulnerable children have been misdiagnosed and placed on a damaging medical pathway.

More puberty blocker side effects identified

The US Federal Drug Agency (FDA) has reported that some children who received GnRH agonists (puberty blockers) have experienced a serious side effect which results in elevated spinal fluid pressure in the brain. It is updating the safety labels for the drug.

Gender Identity Service at Tavistock, London, to close

On 29 August the UK National Health Service announced that its Gender and Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock Hospital in London is to be closed because the current model of care is leaving young people “at considerable risk” of poor mental health and distress. This closure is a result of the independent review of the service currently being carried out by Dr Hilary Cass.

This is of significance to New Zealand because our Ministry of Health still incorrectly advises that puberty blockers are safe and reversible and endorses the same “affirmation only” approach adopted by the GIDs service. The interim Cass report has already criticised the service for not keeping adequate records and for adopting an unquestioning affirmative approach that meant other healthcare issues were sometimes overlooked.

Civil Service Groupthink leads to scandal

In this article, Kemi Badenoch (until recently, a British cabinet minister) describes how civil service groupthink has led to the medical scandal at the Tavistock Gender Identity Service. “A small minority of activist officials are the tail wagging the dog,” she reports. Much of what she says is applicable to our own government mechanisms.

Trans hype is gripping schools

This report in the Telegraph exposes schools in the UK that “secretly facilitate their pupils to make major, life-altering decisions while keeping parents in the dark.”

Kids bullied for transgender confusion

The worrying trend of bullying in schools being carried out by transgender students or their allies is described in this Times article. Safeguarding our Schools Scotland said “the cases it was aware of did not include malicious behaviour towards trans children but involved young people who struggled to understand and accept the decision of their peers to switch gender.”

Stuff uses photo maliciously

When the upcoming Child and Adolescent Therapists Association (CATA) conference was announced, Stuff published an extremely biased article criticising it. CATA supplied a statement defending its point of view but it wasn’t until nearly three weeks later that Stuff printed parts of the statement, maliciously accompanied by a photo of a burned rainbow flag.

What went wrong at the Tavistock clinic for trans teenagers?

In this report in the Times, journalist Janice Turner describes how the Tavistock Gender Identity Services (GIDS) clinic in London has become “the most controversial clinic in Britain”, funnelling “distressed, same-sex attracted girls with complex problems” towards a “universal panacea: medical transition”.

NZ Poll shows opposition to the teaching of gender ideology

A new nationwide poll has found significant opposition to gender ideology being taught to primary school students, and majority support for parents being informed of their own children exhibiting gender dysphoria at school.

Transgender Trend founder to receive British Empire Medal

Stephanie Davies-Arai, who founded Transgender Trend to campaign against the automatic medicalisation of youth with gender dysphoria, hopes her award will be “a recognition of my work, which has wrongly been called transphobic or bigoted.” 

The worrying truth of what children are REALLY learning in sex education

Milli Hill, a well-known childbirth expert, describes some of the extremist ideas now being taught in UK schools and possibly coming soon to a school near you.

Teachers should not pander to trans pupils says the UK Attorney General

Suella Braverman said that schools are under no legal obligation to address children by a new pronoun or allow them to wear the school uniform of a different gender.

Transition Regret

Increasing numbers of detransitioners call into question the ‘Affirmation only’ approach.

Transgender identity is rapidly rising and regional

A survey in the UK has found that on average 32 children per 100,000 are referred for gender treatment, a more than 15-fold rise since 2010, and that Blackpool has three times the national referral rate.

New study lends credibility to concerns about early social transition

“Some of the recent news coverage of this study incorrectly stated that the study confirmed that children who claim a transgender identity rarely change their minds… A more accurate statement is that the study suggests that children who claim a transgender identity and undergo early social transition rarely change their minds, at least into their early teen years.”

Early Social Gender Transition in Children is Associated with High Rates of Transgender Identity in Early Adolescence
Early Social Gender Transition in Children is Associated with High Rates of Transgender Identity in Early Adolescence
A recent study published in Pediatrics examined the 5-year gender identity development trajectory of transgender-identified children who underwent early social gender transition (SGT). The children were, on average, 6-7 years old at the time of SGT. Five years later, at the average age of 11-12, almost all—97.5%—continued to identify as transgender, including a small subset (3.5%) developing a non-binary identification. Only 2.5% of the children desisted from transgender identification by the end of the study period, and re-identified with their sex. The authors concluded that detransition among previously socially gender transitioned youth is rare. A significant proportion of the youth in the study had already initiated interventions with puberty blockers (29%) and cross-sex hormones (31%) by the end of the study, and the authors opined that the remainder would likely initiate medical interventions in the future.This finding is in sharp contrast to earlier research demonstrating that most cases of childhood-onset gender incongruence tend to resolve sometime during adolescence and before reaching mature adulthood. However, the children in the prior research were not socially transitioned, and early social transition had been discouraged by prior protocols. Some of the recent news coverage of this study incorrectly stated that the study confirmed that children who claim a transgender identity rarely change their minds. This statement is only partially accurate. A more accurate statement is that the study suggests that children who claim a transgender identity and undergo early social transition rarely change their minds, at least into their early teen years. This is because the Trans Youth Project, the source of the study's data, is specifically focused on evaluating the effects of early social gender transition in gender-diverse youth, and social gender transition was a prerequisite for participating in the study. Below is SEGM’s critical analysis of the study: its strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. What the Study Got Right 1. The authors are correct that little is known about the trajectories of children who undergo early social gender transition. There is virtually no prior research into the developmental trajectories of socially-transitioned children, because the practice of pre-pubertal social transition was discouraged by the authors of the Dutch protocol. The Dutch clinicians discouraged it because most gender dysphoric children reidentified with their sex during puberty, making “watchful waiting” – rather than early transitioning – common sense.  The following quotes from the Dutch clinicians encapsulated the Dutch concern with early SGT: “As mentioned earlier, symptoms of GID [Gender Identity Disorder] at prepubertal ages decrease or even disappear in a considerable percentage of children (estimates range from 80–95%) [11,13]. Therefore, any intervention in childhood would seem premature and inappropriate." (Cohen-Kettenis et al., 2008, p. 1895) "Because most gender dysphoric children will not remain gender dysphoric through adolescence (Wallien & Cohen-Kettenis, 2008), we recommend that young children not yet make a complete social transition (different clothing, a different given name, referring to a boy as “her” instead of “him”) before the very early stages of puberty." (de Vries and Cohen-Kettenis, 2012, p. 308) "In making this recommendation, we aim to prevent youths with nonpersisting gender dysphoria from having to make a complex change back to the role of their natal gender (Steensma & Cohen-Kettenis, 2011). In a qualitative follow-up study, several youths indicated how difficult it was for them to realize that they no longer wanted to live in the role of the other gender and to make this clear to the people around them (Steensma, Biemond, et al., 2011). These children never even officially transitioned but just were considered by everyone around them as belonging to the other (non-natal) gender. One may wonder how difficult it would be for children living already for years in an environment where no one (except for the family) is aware of the child’s natal sex to make a change back." (de Vries and Cohen-Kettenis, 2012, p. 308) 2. The authors are correct in their observation that the children in their study who underwent early social transition appear to be persisting in their transgender identity at very high rates. Historically, 61%-98% of gender incongruent children desisted from their trans identification before reaching adulthood (a finding confirmed by 11 of the 11 studies that studied this phenomenon). However, the current study suggests that 98% of early-socially-transitioned children persist in their wish to undergo gender transition. Of note, the 61%-98% (or the 85%) historic desistance statistic has been critiqued as inflated, by those who noted that some of the children diagnosed with a “gender identity disorder” were merely extremely gender-nonconforming.  A reanalysis of these data focused on the subset of the children who met the full diagnostic criteria, and found that 67% of them desisted, with the majority growing up to become gay adults. The high rate of desistance among gender variant children has been recognized multiple times by the pioneering researchers in the field of pediatric gender medicine, and also by the Endocrine Society’s treatment guidelines: "With current knowledge, we cannot predict the psychosexual outcome for any specific child. Prospective follow-up studies show that childhood GD/gender incongruence does not invariably persist into adolescence and adulthood (so-called “desisters”). Combining all outcome studies to date, the GD/gender incongruence of a minority of prepubertal children appears to persist in adolescence (20, 40). In adolescence, a significant number of these desisters identify as homosexual or bisexual.” (Hembree et al., 2017, p. 3876) 3. The authors are also correct that most of the early-socially transitioned children in the study proceeded to medical transition, and the rest will likely do so as well. According to the study, by the end of the 5-year period, at least 60% of the youth had already started to take puberty blockers and/or cross sex hormones (the rate may be even higher since 8% of the participants did not return the questionnaires in the final 2 years of the study—if some of those children started on hormonal interventions, the researchers would not know).  Given the focus that “gender-affirming” care places on the provision of medical interventions, it is probable that many of the remaining 40% of youth in the study will proceed to hormones and surgeries. The Study's Limitations 1. Lack of equipoise, as evidenced by no discussion of risks In medical research, “equipoise” requires researchers to approach their research question with genuine uncertainty about the effect of an intervention and is the ethical basis for medical research. The UK's independent review of gender dysphoria healthcare, the Cass Review, recently issued an interim report in which it said: “Social transition – this may not be thought of as an intervention or treatment, because it is not something that happens within health services. However, it is important to view it as an active intervention because it may have significant effects on the child or young person in terms of their psychological functioning.64,65 There are different views on the benefits versus the harms of early social transition. Whatever position one takes, it is important to acknowledge that it is not a neutral act, and better information is needed about outcomes.” (Cass, 2022, p. 62) Yet the investigators of this study presume that early social gender transition is largely beneficial, and that the only potential downside is the risk of detransition, which their findings suggest is low. They do not engage with evidence that social gender transition may not confer the claimed benefits (including research that disputes their own earlier findings of benefits). Nor do they consider that persistence increases the risk of undergoing invasive medical and surgical interventions with a lifelong burden of risk and aftercare. With over 60% of study participants having already commenced hormonal interventions, the researchers should have included a discussion of these risks, including the potential harm to bone health, brain development, impaired sexuality, cardiovascular health, as well as the risks of infertility and sterility, whenever puberty blockers are administered at Tanner stage 2 and are followed by cross-sex hormones. 2. Non-representative sample The data for this study came from the Trans Youth Project, a convenience sample of parents who opted into family meetings with the researchers face-to-face once every 1-3 years until the child turned 12 and, after that, periodic questionnaires. The research team did not provide diagnosis or treatment. The only benefit to the families was a small financial reward for participation, and the ability to contribute to the knowledge base. Although it is not certain how the study participants were recruited, the resultant sample had a highly unusual composition. A full 17% of the research participants reported a “multiracial” identity, compared to just 2.8% of the US population. The study participants were also significantly more affluent than the average US family: 35% reported incomes over $125,000, compared to 24% in the US population. It is unclear how applicable the findings from this demographically skewed sample are to the rest of the US population. 3. Poor applicability to youth diagnosed with gender dysphoria The researchers observed that most of the families in the study did not believe that the DSM diagnosis of gender dysphoria was either “ethical or useful.” Consistent with this finding, the researchers noted that in many cases the “distress” criterion, necessary for the DSM-5 diagnosis, was not met. This allows for the inclusion of children with a certain parent profile: one who is heavily invested in the idea that their child is transgender even if they don’t meet diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria. Currently, the diagnosis of gender dysphoria is a necessary condition for determining the medical necessity of interventions. Since this study did not require the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, it is unclear whether its findings are applicable to the population of gender-dysphoric youth. The lack of diagnosis also makes it unclear how this study could be reproduced.  4. Unknown applicability to youth with adolescent-onset gender dysphoria in particular It is notable that the ratio of natal boys to girls in this study is approximately 2:1. This predominately male presentation, combined with the early age of social transition (average 6.5 years) suggest that most of the sample came from the population with early-childhood emergence of transgender identity. Prior research using the same sample reported that all youth in the Trans Youth Project had excellent mental health function, with “no elevations in depression and slightly elevated anxiety relative to population averages. They did not differ from the control groups on depression symptoms and had only marginally higher anxiety symptoms." In contrast, the population of youth desiring hormones currently is dominated by young people whose trans identity emerges for the first time around or shortly after puberty and who suffer from high rates of mental illness or neurocognitive comorbidities. In addition, the majority are natal females. It is not yet known whether the findings of persistence of trans identity among early socially-transitioned youth with early-childhood onset of gender dysphoria and good baseline mental health will apply to adolescents with a post-puberty onset of transgender identity which is further complicated by mental health issues. 5. Non-participation bias Two sources of non-participation bias in the study are apparent. First, the children in the study had been socially transitioned for 1.5 years prior to enrolling in the study. Thus, it is likely that the study under-represents families where the child had experienced a briefer period of social transition and who then detransitioned. Second, a significant number of families (8%) failed to contact the researchers in the past two years, and an unknown number failed to stay in touch in the final year of the study (2020). These non-respondents may be disproportionately parents of detransitioners. This bias can negatively impact the reliability of the study in several ways, including underestimating the true rate of detransition, and under-representing the experiences of the children who were socially transitioned for a period and later detransitioned. 6. Problems in reporting There are several inaccuracies in reporting that impede the interpretation of the study results: The study refers to a 5-year follow-up, but subjects were only followed for 3.8 years.  The 5-year estimate comes from the fact that the subjects had already socially transitioned for 1.5 years prior to enrolling. While the authors are correct in stating that the identity outcome occurred 5 years after social transition, they should have clearly stated that they could only validate the progression for 3.8 out of the 5 years. Although the researchers disclosed that 8% of the study sample failed to return questionnaires in the 2-year time period 2019-2020, they did not make it clear how many had been expected to respond in 2020 specifically but failed to do so. Children’s identity development is often unpredictable and can change quickly. If non-participation in 2020 is not significantly different from 2019, it is a moot point. However, if it is significantly higher, then combining the two years may mask a much higher rate of non-response in the final year of the study. Non-responses may represent “silent” desistance, whereby parents do not officially withdraw from the study, but simply do not consider the study relevant since their children no longer consider themselves transgender. The title of the project (“Trans Youth Project") and its stated goal to study “transgender children” contribute to the possibility that parents of desisters may not wish to stay engaged in this research project. The participant demographics presented in Table 1 contain only three variables: race, annual household income, and geographic location. Other important demographics are omitted, including parents’ educational attainment, marital status, and home ownership. Neither the age distribution of the study participants nor the age at which their trans identity emerged are reported. The children and adolescents’ pattern of sexual attraction/ orientation is not noted. This is an important omission, as gender incongruence in childhood is strongly associated with future homosexuality. If a significant proportion of the youth in the study are attracted to the individuals of their natal sex, it would suggest that early social transition poses risks of iatrogenic harm to LGB youth by exposing them to highly invasive and unnecessary medical interventions. 7. Commingling of interventions and lack of control group The majority of participants started puberty blockers and/or cross-sex hormones during the study, so it is hard to separate the effects of social transition on persistence of transgender identity from the effects of these medications.  For example, four studies confirm that over 95% of children who start puberty blockers, persist in their trans identification and continue to cross-sex hormones. Thus, taking puberty blockers may be in part responsible for the persistence found by the study. More generally, the lack of a control group makes it hard to interpret which of the interventions are associated with the persistence of trans identity, and the study design precludes the determination of causation or its direction. 8. Lack of long-term follow-up The study noted high rates of trans identity persistence at the age of 11-12. However, little is known how these adolescents will identify as they move through the later stages of adolescence and reach mature adulthood. All aspects of identity continue to significantly change in adolescence and young adulthood, and gender identity may be subject to similar changes. Moreover, based upon the initial ages of the study participants, many did not reach the age by which they would be likely to understand themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). LGB individuals frequently go through a period of gender dysphoria in childhood. Many detransitioners also have come to understand themselves as LGB adults following a period of temporary transgender identification in their childhood or adolescence.  9. Limitation in hypothesis The authors assert that the main concern with early social gender transition is that the process of re-identifying with their natal sex following a period of social transition may be distressing to a child. Thus, their research question only deals with the rates of persistence and desistence. The authors are correct that researchers ­– including the authors of the original Dutch protocol ­– have observed that some children may find it excessively stressful to detransition, particularly when many adults around them are not even aware of the child's natal sex. However, this is not the only concern about early social transition. Another key concern, also voiced by the Dutch researchers, is that children who are socially transitioned at an early age, and who end up persisting with their trans identity, lose touch with biological reality, and as a result, may have unrealistic expectations of what “gender-affirming” hormones and surgeries can realistically deliver. This may result in disappointing post-surgical outcomes or inability to participate in the lifelong medical maintenance required to preserve the desired appearance: "Another reason we recommend against early transitions is that some children who have done so (sometimes as preschoolers) barely realize that they are of the other natal sex. They develop a sense of reality so different from their physical reality that acceptance of the multiple and protracted treatments they will later need is made unnecessarily difficult. Parents, too, who go along with this, often do not realize that they contribute to their child’s lack of awareness of these consequences." (de Vries and Cohen-Kettenis, 2012, p. 308) The Director of the UK's Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) has highlighted a closely-related complication of early childhood social transition, that it makes it difficult to obtain consent for later medical transition procedures: “In the UK, we’re seeing much younger people socially transitioning. But sometimes it then becomes almost impossible for them to think about the reality of their physical body. They are living totally the gender they feel they are, but of course their body doesn’t match that, and it becomes something that can’t be talked about or thought about. Clearly, it then becomes quite difficult in terms of keeping their options open and ensuring fully informed consent for any appropriate physical interventions.” (The Times, 29 August 2015) Another issue raised by researchers is the possibility that early social gender transition may steer a child toward persistence of a transgender identity, which would otherwise have naturally reverted to be congruent with one’s sex: “With the emergence in the last 10–15 years of a pre-pubertal gender social transition as a type of psychosocial treatment – initiated by parents on their own (without formal clinical consultation) or with the support/advice of professional input [ref. omitted] – it is not clear if the desistance rates reported in the four core studies will be “replicated” in contemporary samples. Indeed, the data for birth-assigned males in Steensma et al. (2013a) already suggest this: of the 23 birth-assigned males classified as persisters, 10 (43%) had made a partial or complete social transition prior to puberty compared to only 2 (3.6%) of the 56 birth-assigned males classified as desisters. Thus, I would hypothesize that when more follow-up data of children who socially transition prior to puberty become available, the persistence rate will be extremely high. This is not a value judgment – it is simply an empirical prediction." (Zucker, 2018, p. 7) Similarly, Dutch researcher Dr. Thomas Steensma suggested that: "A childhood transition has an effect by itself and influences the cognitive gender identity representation of the child and/or their future development" and that this "link between social transitioning and the cognitive representation of the self [would] influence the future rates of persistence." (Steensma et al., 2013, p. 150). The risks of early social transition are also acknowledged by the Endocrine Society’s treatment guidelines: “However, the large majority (about 85%) of prepubertal children with a childhood diagnosis did not remain GD/ gender incongruent in adolescence (20). If children have completely socially transitioned, they may have great difficulty in returning to the original gender role upon entering puberty (40). Social transition is associated with the persistence of GD/gender incongruence as a child progresses into adolescence. It may be that the presence of GD/gender incongruence in prepubertal children is the earliest sign that a child is destined to be transgender as an adolescent/adult (20). However, social transition (in addition to GD/gender incongruence) has been found to contribute to the likelihood of persistence.” (Hembree et al., 2017, p. 3879) 10. Unnecessary and confusing change in terminology Undergoing “gender-affirmation” is frequently described as “transitioning” or “gender transition.” When individuals stop the process of transitioning, it is commonly referred to as “detransition.” Detransition, which appears to be a growing phenomenon, is a well-established term used by several recently-published studies. The authors’ attempt to change established terminology from the well-established “detransition” to the novel “retransition” is at best unnecessary, and at worst confusing. If “detransition” – ceasing to pursue gender transition—is recast as “retransition,” then what shall we call individuals who actually change their minds once again, and do choose to continue to pursue gender transition after all? Several children in the study did just that. Another study has reported on the experiences of transgender-identified individuals temporarily detransitioned. While it’s admirable when medical terminology evolves to elucidate a concept, we feel that in this case, the change serves to obscure rather than enhance understanding of the topic. Concluding Thoughts This study finding of high rates of persistence of transgender identity in children following early social gender transition is consistent with two possible explanations. One is that the study was comprised of the parents who were exceptionally good at predicting their child's future transgender identification. This would imply that although most (61%-98%) of transgender-identified children naturally desist during early puberty, the parents in the study who had made the prediction that their children would persist turned out to be right nearly 100% of the time. While plausible, the probability of this is low.  The other possible explanation is that early-childhood social gender transition may consolidate an otherwise transient childhood transgender identity. We believe the latter explanation is more likely. The hypothesis that early social gender transition is not neutral but may be a form of psychosocial intervention that predisposes an otherwise transient childhood transgender identity to persist has been voiced before. The study results lend support to this hypothesis. Parents considering undertaking a social gender transition of their gender-variant children need to be advised of this possibility. Notably, the boys in the study (“trans girls”) were transitioned on average one year earlier than girls (“trans boys”): at age 6 rather than 7 years old (Table 2). This may reflect societal discomfort with feminine gender nonconforming boys, which may lead some parents to socially transition gender non-conforming boys at an earlier age. As the practice of early social gender transition becomes more common, it is reasonable to expect that many more gender-variant youth will persist in their trans identity. This in turn will likely significantly increase the number of young people seeking hormonal and surgical transition, which is of concern because of the poor state of medical knowledge: the longest available set of outcomes of individuals who medically transition in adolescence and young adulthood tracks patients only to an average of age 21, and the best evidence is rated as “low” or “very low” quality. Currently, active debates are ongoing over the age at which children are old enough to provide meaningful consent (or assent) to undergoing gender transition, due to its inherent risks and uncertainties, as well as the near-certainty of infertility and even sterility, which occurs when puberty blockers at Tanner stage II are followed by cross-sex hormones. Debates whether 16-year olds or 12-year olds can consent to medical interventions with such profound life-long consequences are currently playing out all over Europe, and most recently, in several US states. Since almost all early-socially-transitioned children in the Olson et al study continued with the transgender identity into puberty and over 60% are already undergoing medical transition, the study suggests that many of these life-changing decisions are occurring not at 12, 14, or 16, but effectively at the much younger age of 6 or 7.

Helen Joyce says our primary kids are being messed up by gender identity lessons. 

The UK Secretary of Education says parents should be “front and centre” in discussions about sex and gender. His department is preparing guidelines that schools can use to help them deal confidently with questions about gender and sex.

The UK Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has 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”.

The Florida Department of Health has issued new guidelines on treating gender dysphoria for children and adolescents which recommends that minors should not be prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy.

A US Court has found in favour of a university professor who refused to us a student’s preferred pronouns, stating that if “professors lacked free speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity”.

A new Ministry of Education (New Zealand) resource was released on 13 April for teaching about gender identity. It recommends InsideOUT and Rainbow Youth as trusted sources of information, and advises that even when parents opt their children out of gender identity lessons, teachers can answer questions on the topic at any time.

Ani O’Brien shares an example of a NZ school encouraging students to keep secrets from their parents.

Why is rainbow lobby group InsideOUT trying so hard to prevent information about their involvement in schools becoming public?

h gender dysphoria in England has been unconscionably compromised in recent years, partly as a result of adult affinities to an unevidenced world view. Forstater, from Sex Matters, commented, “We are relieved that the long-awaited guidance is coming out, and that it will rule out most aspects of social transition clearly.”

But she added: “The idea that there is a “presumption against” social transitioning passes the buck back to schools to negotiate and to face the risk of legal challenges. It is irresponsible and unworkable to suggest that there are some unspecified situations where a school may be obliged to pretend that a boy is a girl, or vice versa.”

She called for the Government to issue ‘common sense guidance’ stating that children are either born male or female and cannot change sex.

  • 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. March 2024. The WPATH Files were published, revealing that 'gender-affirming care" is leading to widespread medical malpractice on children and vulnerable adults. The “WPATH files” are documents leaked from the internal chatboard of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). The leaked files reveal that treatments may do more harm than good, and suggest that some clinicians who are members of WPATH know this. (Sex Matters) In this Quillette article, Bernard Lane gives an overview of the use of puberty blockers as a routine treatment for gender distress and the resulting medical scandal. In a new study (2024), the Mayo Clinic has found mild to severe atrophy in the testes of boys on puberty blockers, leading the authors to express doubt in the claims that these drugs are 'safe and reversible'.
  • Which countries have restricted the use of puberty blockers and other medical treatments of gender distress in minors?
    France 2024 French senators have published a report that expresses alarm at the excesses of child gender transition and have proposed a bill to put an end to it. England 2024: The NHS will no longer routinely prescribe puberty blockers at gender identity clinics in England and Wales. (Scotland NHS is a separate body.) The Netherlands 2024: The Dutch government has passed a motion to conduct research into the physical and mental health outcomes of children given puberty blockers. 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. 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. Sweden 2021 The Karolinska Hospital ceased the use of puberty blockers for those aged under 18 . Finland 2020 revised its treatment guidelines, prioritising psychological interventions and support over medical interventions. USA 2023-24: A total of 22 states have so far passed laws protecting children from routine medicalisation of gender distress. The laws vary in what they proscribe and in the penalties imposed and some of them are subject to ongoing legal challenges. This interactive map provides state by state details. New Zealand 2022: In September of that year the Ministry of Health website quietly removed its description of puberty blockers as being “safe and fully reversible” and initiated a review into their safety and efficacy. We are still awaiting that report.
  • What has happened in Sweden?
    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 has happened in the United Kingdom?
    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." In March 2024 the NHS (National Health Service) announced that puberty blockers would no longer be routinely prescribed in England and Wales. (Scotland's NHS is a separate body.)
  • 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:
  • 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”. A study published in the British Medical Journal in February 2024 found that suicide among young people seeking gender services in Finland is an unusual event (0.3%, or 0.51 per 1,000 person-years). The study found no convincing evidence that gender-referred youth have statistically significantly higher suicide rates as compared to the general population, after controlling for psychiatric needs. The authors concluded that "it is of utmost importance to identify and appropriately treat mental disorders in adolescents experiencing GD [gender dysphoria] to prevent suicide, while also noting that "the risk of suicide-related to transgender identity and/or GD per se may have been overestimated."
  • 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.
bottom of page