A newspaper columnist has been rebuked by readers after warning them not to overreact to a transgender primary school survey.
Earlier this week, it emerged that the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust asked ten-year-olds: “Do you feel the same inside as the gender you were born with?”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Kaite Welsh took aim at opposition to the move from “pearl-clutchers” opposed to the survey for worrying that it might be unhelpful for their children.
The article was overwhelmingly criticised by readers:
Gender fluid ‘mania’
In contrast, a columnist for the Daily Express said the NHS’s decision was an “appalling” interference in children’s lives.
Stephen Pollard slammed the survey as a blatant attempt to fall in “behind the mania of gender fluidity”.
“It is deeply misguided and deeply damaging to treat children as if they are able to take life-altering decisions on issues such as their own gender.”
Pollard added that merely stating that a man is a man leaves people in danger of being labelled as “transphobic”.
“We appear to have suddenly gone from the idea of male and female being an entirely unremarkable biological definition of the two sexes to the widespread acceptance of the notion that anyone is free to decide for themselves which gender they wish to be.
“Indeed the very concept of gender itself has gone from being male or female to something of a free-for-all. It’s no longer just he or she but also it or they.”
The NHS quickly U-turned after the survey for year six children provoked an outcry, with parents and MPs describing it as “deeply worrying” and “intrusive”.
Earlier this year, the Government announced that the Gender Recognition Act would be reviewed, and proposed that medical checks be removed to allow for self-declaration of gender.
Women’s groups, therapists, doctors, academics, campaigners and transgender activists have all challenged the plans.