Trans people not to blame if they bully, says Times Prof

Transsexual children should be affirmed even when they are bullying others, a prominent child psychologist has advised.

Professor Tanya Byron, writing for The Times, was answering a question from a concerned grandmother who explained that her granddaughter was being bullied by a transsexual pupil at school.

The grandmother, Ellen, asked: “How can she try to explain to her friend that some of her behaviour amounts to bullying, regardless of gender?”

Physical abuse

The 15-year-old granddaughter has a male friend who has recently begun living as a girl and started bullying her by mocking her make-up and physically pushing her around.

Ellen said the boy’s behaviour was hurting her granddaughter so much “that she wants to draw back from the friendship simply to protect herself”.

Byron’s sympathies however lay with the bully rather than the victim. She advised Ellen’s granddaughter to “depersonalise” the comments, and suggested this experience could actually benefit her, making her more resilient.


“The bullying needs to be understood as coming from a place of vulnerability”, said Byron. She added that the answer is for the “school, the family and the wider community” to affirm his lifestyle choice.

She also suggested that official documents should be amended to include his chosen name and pronoun, and that toilet and changing facilities should be addressed.

Earlier this week, Dame Jenni Murray was criticised by trans activists for saying that a person’s gender is defined at birth, and not selected later in life. She said: “Your sex, male or female, is what you’re born with”.

‘Assault on free speech’

She faced calls to step down from her position at the BBC, but they have been rejected as an attack on free speech.

Commentator Angela Epstein hit out at the ‘dangerous’ activists trying to silence Dame Jenni. She said: “I’m afraid their call for her dismissal is just the usual violent assault on free speech masquerading as political correctness”.



Transsexualism – wanting to change physical sex because you feel you are ‘in the wrong body’ – has become an increasingly high-profile issue. People in the public eye have ‘changed their sex’, and the media normalises transsexualism. There has been a corresponding push for greater transsexual rights. This briefing introduces some of the issues at stake.

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