Parents of a 16-year-old girl with autism have raised a safeguarding complaint after her school failed to inform them she had decided to live as if she were a boy.
The couple believe the school’s actions are putting their daughter’s mental and physical health at risk and say their parental responsibility for her is being undermined.
Bayswater Support, a group representing parents with gender-confused children, reports it has been contacted by hundreds of parents complaining that schools are helping to socially transition their children without their knowledge.
Following the shock announcement by their daughter that she wanted to be called a boy’s name, the parents arranged to speak with her headmaster.
The girls’ father told The Times: “Initially when we met the head teacher we agreed a plan that there would be no social transitioning at school.
“He said it is right that we do not change her name or her pronouns for her time at school.”
The parents subsequently discovered, however, that some teachers were going against their express wishes, and the headmaster’s instructions, by addressing their daughter by her chosen boy’s name.
We feel we are living in a Franz Kafka novel
Further revelations were to follow when lawyers hired by the parents found that school records showed the teenager had been wearing a damaging chest binder and was taking sex-swap drugs prescribed by a doctor.
Her father said: “The school tells us she made the appointment with the GP herself. The argument is that she is Gillick-competent, because she is now 16 and so they do not have to tell us”.
But he added: “We have parental responsibility for her.”
Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they’re believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what’s involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent. NHS
The father continued: “The institutions have put us in an impossible situation. We have only ever sought to act in the best interests of our daughter and to protect her from undertaking immediate action that has lifelong irreversible consequences”.
blind adherence to ideology
“We believe that some of the professionals whose job it is to safeguard children may have acted in her worst interests by enabling, encouraging and facilitating life-changing medicalisation with irreversible consequences.”
He added: “It is not just us, it is hundreds of families across the country this is happening to. It is a consequence of blind adherence to ideology that may have started from a place of compassion but has now got out of control and, in our view, is harming children.”
The parents have raised their safeguarding concerns with the school, local council, and MPs and Peers.