C: Ted Eytan (CC BY-SA 4.0)

“Dangerous misinformation”: Anger at Minister’s transgender plans for PRIMARY schools

Parents, and women’s groups, have sharply criticised Roderic O’Gorman and the Green Party after the Minister insisted that “transgender issues” should be part of the primary school curriculum, despite growing concern at the unscientific and harmful nature of some schools programmes here and abroad.

“Transgender issues should be part of primary curriculum,’ the Children’s Minister told the Irish Independent, saying that children needed to have an understanding of “diversity”.

And he responded “absolutely” when asked if primary school children should be taught more about what it means to be transgender.

The push to teach children about being transgender has proved highly controversial because activists have shaped programmes and advice for schools which would teach young children that gender is a spectrum,

As reported on Gript, Ireland’s official national curriculum body has encouraged teachers to refrain from using the phrase “boys and girls” and to use more ‘gender-neutral alternatives’.

The NCCA also linked teachers to resources to study “crossdressing” for “erotic enjoyment,” “drag,” “gender queer” and “gender-fluid” identities as part of an “SPHE and RSE toolkit” for primary schools.

The rush to assume that “gender-affirming care” is always best for children has led to some schools in the UK and elsewhere instructing teachers not to tell parents that their child had requested to change pronouns if that was what the child had requested.

In Britain, the controversy around how children were being treated at the Tavistock clinic, and mounting concern that children who felt they were transgender were being rushed into treatment, the NHS has now warned doctors that these feelings often disappear for children as they get older, and that children should not be encouraged to change their names and pronouns.

For many parents and women’s rights campaigners, the bid to use schools to persuade young children that biological sex isn’t real amounts to “indoctrination”.

They point to the growing numbers of young people who now say they were rushed into sex-change treatments and operations which are often irreversible. Experts have also pointed out that up to 90% of those using gender changing services may be autistic.

However, Minister O’Gorman said that “the rights of trans people in our country can’t be up for debate,” adding: “No one wants to shut down free speech. But I think it is really important that dialogue is respectful and based on facts, I suppose, rather than based on just mere prejudice.”

Lecturer Colette Colfer, responding to Minister O’Gorman’s remarks, said “I would be ok with education *about* but the Green Party is engaged in dangerous misinformation and indoctrination and take their cues from lobby groups and NGOs rather than from up to date research and medical evidence.”

“I will not be voting Green,” she added.

There was strong opposition to the Minister’s plans, with one response saying: “Primary children are susceptible to taking on ideas that are not healthy. Parents could be given a leaflet explaining what gender dysphoria is. Gender dysphoria is rare & is a matter for parents & GP/Psychiatrist/Psychologist to discuss where it is suspected.”

One mother said: “How about, when we match best standards for literacy and numeracy, we do some colouring, or if the weather is nice, have a picnic.”

Another commentator noted that the INTO was already making videos where teachers taught that young children could change gender – and that people could be ‘non-binary’.

A poll carried out by women’s group The Countess in 2021 showed that many parents oppose schools teaching children about transgender issues – with almost 60% of parents being opposed or unsure about telling children that there are many genders.

Senator Sharon Keogan said that Minister O’Gorman and the Education Minister, Norma Foley, needed to outline what model they sought to implement – and said that in her view the plan was “not appropriate for primary school children.”

“Parents need to wake up,” she said.

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