Trans books for children ‘misleading’ and ‘irresponsible’

Children are being dangerously misled by transgender books which “misrepresent” medical understanding, an academic has said.

Susan Matthews, an honorary senior research fellow at Roehampton University, analysed a series of children’s books on transgenderism and concluded that much of the information given is inaccurate.

She said that “potential harms are ignored, glossed over or falsified”, adding that many of the books which are circulated in primary schools could “fail child safeguarding and conflict with the law”.

‘Invasive and experimental’

In a book aimed including a story aimed at seven-year-olds called Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?, the protagonist Kit says: “the best thing about hormone blockers is that if I change my mind then they won’t hurt my body”.

Matthews however points out that this is “misleading”, as the notion that puberty blockers are fully reversible lacks any medical foundation.

She said making such unchecked claims through books in schools is “an irresponsible minimisation of invasive and experimental treatment”.

She added that such promotion “seems only designed to sell it to young people”.

‘Irreversible damage’

Her comments were made in the forthcoming book Inventing Transgender Children and Young People, a collection of essays by clinicians, psychologists and sociologists.

The book’s foreword was written by Dr David Bell, a leading psychiatrist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which oversees GIDS, the NHS’s only gender identity clinic for children.

Dr Bell criticised the concerted efforts by some to rush children and young people into taking infertility-causing hormones or undergoing surgery in order to ‘change sex’.

He said children who undergo such treatments risk “serious and irreversible damage”.


Andrew James, the commissioning editor of Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?, denies the book is misleading.

He says the advice “is in line with NHS guidance and numerous LGBT charities”.

However, the GIDS website states “we don’t know the full psychological effects of the blocker or whether it alters the course of adolescent brain development”.


The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director for Communications Ciarán Kelly said Matthews could have gone further with her comments.

“While she says there is no evidence these treatments do not cause harm, in fact there is plenty of evidence which suggests puberty blockers may well have irreversible and harmful effects.

“They have been known to cause osteoperosis, and have also been linked with causing breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, disfiguring acne, high blood pressure and weight gain.

“In addition, almost all children who begin taking puberty blockers move on to infertility-causing cross-sex hormones.”

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