Justin Webb: ‘Everyone is terrified but we must be able to challenge gender ideology’

Prominent BBC Radio 4 presenter Justin Webb has said people must not be silenced from voicing “legitimate fears” about vulnerable children being encouraged to believe they are the opposite sex.

In an interview with The Independent, the journalist said society is imposing “a psychological burden on kids” by asking them questions about their ‘gender and sexuality’.

He stressed that the public must “be able to talk about these things openly, and they’re too scared”.

‘Blind eye’

Lauding fellow BBC journalist Hannah Barnes’ book on the disgraced Tavistock gender clinic, Webb said: “It’s a brilliant book of impartial journalism, that’s been enormously influential in having the Tavistock closed and a rethink about how we treat children, and potentially adults, with gender dysphoria.”

He added that “people shy away from this subject because they’re afraid of bullying or being bullied. Everyone is genuinely terrified, but we’ve got to be able to speak freely about these things.”

Writing for the Evening Standard, Barnes warned: “When people turn a blind eye and do not ask difficult questions, harm can be done.”

“There is, and must always be, a place for impartial scrutiny and robust evidence-based journalism, even if it exposes uncomfortable truths in contentious areas.”

Ignored evidence

Last year, NHS England announced the closure of Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for children, after an independent report by Dr Hilary Cass found it was not a “safe or viable long-term option”.

Speaking earlier this year before the publication of her book, Barnes told The Sunday Times: “It’s really striking how few people were willing to question GIDS.

“As one clinician said to me, because it was dealing with gender, there was this ‘cloak of mystery’ around it. There was a sense of ‘Oh, it’s about gender, so we can’t ask the same questions that we would of any other part of the NHS’.”

The book claims the Tavistock clinic had referred more than 1,000 children for puberty blockers. It notes that 97.5 per cent of children seeking sex changes had autism, depression or other problems – evidence the clinic ignored.

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