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‘Mad stuff’: Ministers, Taoiseach slammed for pushing trans agenda in schools

There has been an outpouring of sustained criticism from parents and commentators online after senior politicians, including Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin, and Simon Harris, insisted that primary school children should be taught about8 transgender issues.

Their remarks followed the publication of a letter sent by the Catholic Primary School Managers Association (CPSMA) to the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman who had previously told the Irish Independent that young children should ‘absolutely’ be taught what it means to be transgender.

The CPSMA said that the science on transgender issues is “far from settled” and that there is “mounting evidence of psychological contagion”.

It added that teaching children about transgender issues “would be counterproductive, generating unnecessary divisions in school communities where none now exists”.

And the letter pointed out that such a policy might “add to a growing psychological contagion amongst young and vulnerable children”.

The CPSMA represents 90% of Irish primary schools under the patronage of the Catholic church.

This week, parents’ groups said that the vast majority of the 4,353 submissions made by parents to the national curriculum authority, the NCCA, were strongly opposed to teaching transgender ideology in schools.

Parents claim that thousands who made their voices heard to the consultation process on the curriculum were ignored and dismissed” while “undue emphasis was given to a select group of NGOs and individuals whose views are radically at odds with parents.”

However, the CPSMA letter was immediately attacked yesterday by an array of senior politicians who insisted that primary schools must teach young children about transgender matters.

Their remarks were, in turn, slammed by significant numbers of commentators and parents online.

Justice Minister Simon Harris’s claim that this was a matter of education being based on scientific fact was met with widespread opposition, with columnist Eilis O’Hanlon saying that the Minister was spouting ‘mad stuff’.

“He does not seem to believe children should be taught long established biological facts regarding gender i.e that there are only two genders but of course supports the introduction of radical gender ideology theory to the curriculum,” another comment read.

One parents wrote: “Us parents can tell our kids what they need to know about trans people when we feel it’s appropriate. You can keep the indoctrination of “trans issues” to yourselves. Thanks”

Many comments referenced Harris’s perceived inability to handle his own portfolios without speaking on education: “From the man who signed off on business closures, the deferral of cancer screening services and other non life threatening medical procedures, job losses, billions in welfare payments as he thought that there were 18 previous variables of the coronavirus. He’s way out of his depth,” said one response.

It was difficult to find a comment supportive of Harris’s statement though one tweeter said he agreed with the Minister but that the approach should be based on humanity.

Women’s Space Ireland asked “What scientific facts are there in relation to gender identity ideology, Minister Harris?”

And women’s rights group The Countess wrote: “These are the facts, Simon Harris.  There is no such thing as a trans child, children are male or female. Most people do not have a gender identity. There is no way to teach children about transgender issues “based on scientific fact” as there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims of gender ideology.
Socially transitioning children is not a netural act.”

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and Tánaiste also sought to dismiss the concerns expressed in the CPSMA’s letter, with Varadkar saying “it makes sense” to teach children about the world around them.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin questioned the right of CPSMA to even write the letter as being “not the way to deal with these issues.”

“Not up to him! They not his kids!!! Parents have the right to decide what their children are exposed to and when,” one mother wrote in response to Mr Varadkar’s remarks.

“If they really cared about children they’d be tackling child hunger and spend the money on providing children with state funded snacks/meals. Keep ideology out of schools,” said another response.

Addressing Leo Varadkar’s remarks, Éilis O’Hanlon said:” ‘[I]information and facts’ should be provided but not ‘value judgment’ So presumably Leo is against how it’s currently taught? Children are being taught that they can change sex. That’s a value judgement.

But one commenter agreed: “Good. I knew I was a boy before I even knew being trans was a thing. if my classmates and I were taught what it was at an age appropriate level I and many others in my situation would have been saved from years of distress.”

Many parents online said that they were the primary educators of their children with one mother telling Micheál Martin to ‘back off’, while others said that the government had ‘lost the room’ on the issue.

In other jurisdictions, the state has backed away from pushing proposals from transgender activists in schools after outrage from parents.

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