Credit: Lord Mayor of Dublin via Twitter

The Times and Lord Mayor misrepresent parents’ concerns on trans pledge 

This week Gript reported that parents were upset and angry because a tweet from the Lord Mayor of Dublin promoted sending “pledge packs” to schools which included a transgender pledge which encouraged the view that gender was fluid – a view that many parents and women find harmful. 

The packs,  funded by an initiative of Dublin City Council, ask for a pledge to “normalise the respect and display all pronouns”. Hundreds of people responding on social media took issue with this directive.

“I do not want this self-indulgent zealotry given to my teenage daughters.. they will not pledge to normalise untruths,” wrote one mum, while other responses said the move would incentivise bullying of schoolchildren who refused to pledge that there are more than two biological sexes.

Women have repeatedly clashed with trans activists in recent times over what they see as a bid to rewrite biology and “erase women” – claiming the insistence that gender is fluid defies science, and pointing to the inclusion of violent transgender prisoners in women’s prisons as evidence of the ideology posing a danger to women.

Yesterday, The Times and the Lord Mayor reported and responded to the controversy in what I can only describe as a disingenuous manner.

This was a “backlash” the Lord Mayor claimed, against an initiative for secondary schools “callling for more support for gay and trans students.”

No, it wasn’t – and Alison Gilliland, the Labour Councillor and lord mayor, knows full well that it wasn’t. No-one demurred at giving more support to gay and trans students: what upset the parents commenting on social media was the idea that teenagers should have to pledge that there are not two genders – male and female – something which is scientifically incorrect, might bring harmful consequences for the students involved, and is fundamentally untrue.

The Times went onto to report that the packs contain a “pledge inviting staff and students to ‘provide a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students to communicate their issues’ and to participate in “training in queer sexual health”, [and] the use of “slurs” and “understanding LGBTQIA+ issues”. It also requests that schools review their anti-bullying policies, and add a section on gay and trans students.”

But the paper conveniently left out the pledge that parents actually took issue with – the pledge that schools and students must normalise the respect and display of all pronouns. This means asking students to agree to the idea that they – or their classmates – can have no gender or be gender fluid.

Confusion abounds on this issue since most people assume the conflict currently taking place between women’s rights activists and transgender extremists is about people having the right to change sex. That’s not the case. Anyone can change their gender in Ireland, there are no legal barriers to the move, and no-one is trying to prevent it from happening.

Rather, transgender activists have benefitted from public funding (which has apparently not been accounted for) and widespread media and establishment support, much of which has masked just how extreme the demands of some of those activists are.

Women’s groups have said that the rush to abolish gender – to insist that it doesn’t have two components, men and women – is “erasing women” and endangering them by allowing violent or opportunistic men to claim they are women or non-binary in a bid to enter women’s spaces.

It’s not true to characterise the pledge programmen as simply preventing bullying or giving minorities recognition as The Times and the Lord Mayor tried to do. Rather the backlash to the pledge arose because women and parents are becoming increasingly concerned at the harmful effects arising from the rush to pretend that gender doesn’t exist.

They point to cases like that of Kiera Bell, whose action against a clinic facilitating sex change treatment for children was successful because, the High Court in London ruled, children were not mature enough to give consent to such a life-altering set of treatments and procedures.

Ms Bell had previously been a patient of the Tavistock Clinic, going onto puberty blockers at age 16, testosterone at 17, and undergoing a double mastectomy at 20.  She later “detransitioned” and says she was not adequately informed or counselled regarding the sex-change.

The clinic attended by Ms Bell – the Tavistock – has seen a 2,500% increase in the number of children attending in less than a decade. The High Court noted that 75% of all those now attending the clinic were female, and that a significant number of those presenting have a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

It is against this background – and the horrifying reality of violent male rapists claiming to be female being placed in women’s prisons – that a growing public unease against the rush to abolish gender is arising. Women are also unhappy at the ease with which biological men are now pushing their way into women’s sports, and parents are alarmed at the Bill brought forward by Fintan Warfield of Sinn Féin which would allow children  <> under 16 to sue their parents if they opposed sex-change treatments.

Whistleblowers who worked in the Tavistock clinic said that a fear of being described as “transphobic” was used to silence those who questioned the rush to have a child begin the difficult and often traumatic process of changing sex. Famed author, JK Rowling, has come under sustained attack and endured serious and prolonged abuse and threats being made against her simply because she said she knew there are two genders.

The same tactics are now being applied in Ireland to silence parents who are concerned for their children – or for women. The Lord Mayor (who no doubt would ordinarily be falling over herself to tell you how much she supports minorities) tried to dismiss the parents on social media as a “small minority”.

That was telling. Firstly, almost all of the 500 responses to her tweet were in opposition to the “gender doesn’t exist” aspect of the pledge. Second, whether parents are in the minority or not, it is parents, and not the Lord Mayor, not transgender extremists, and not the media, who should decide what pledges children take in school. Parents, not schools, should decide whether their children are being exposed to a nonsensical claim that there are no genders and that they can be Joe in the morning and Jill in the afternoon.

The Times did give a few lines at the end of its report to The Countess, a feminist campaign group who told the paper that ‘Gilliland had “unwittingly kicked a hornet’s nest” in voicing her support for the initiative.’ The group recently commissioned an opinion poll which found that only 17% of people agreed that a person should be allowed to change their birth certificate as soon as they self-identify as the opposite sex.

That certainly doesn’t indicate majority support for the nonsense being pushed on schools and students. However The Times and the Lord Mayor might like to spin the facts, a majority of people wouldn’t take the pledge on this.

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