Children as young as ten are being asked … whether they feel “comfortable in their gender.” The survey, distributed to schools by the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, asks (amongst a number of questions on other serious issues) children to confirm which gender they identify with: boy, girl, or other. (Here’s a report by the Trust from 2013: Trans Health across the North West.)
Parents, teachers and MPs (and, inevitably, Britain’s transphobic news media) are upset and very concerned. “Forcing children to question whether they are the right gender so early on can be deeply destabilising,” they cry. One mother complained said her ten-year-old daughter had been in ‘a state’. (Presumably not a good one, but who knows. Maybe it was a triumphant, “Mummy, see, I told you there were more than two genders!”)
The thing is, if you insist to your children from the moment they pop from the womb that there are only two genders and they must be the one you think they are, then of course they’ll get confused when it’s pointed out to them that you’ve been lying (I’ll be kind and say out of ignorance) to them for years. After all, it’s not like there are many (if any) positive role models on the television to illustrate the concept. Cool role models are important. Lesbians, for example, are cool, thanks to Supergirl’s Alex Danvers.
I’ve been corrupting my daughter for years with the idea that gender isn’t the binary that people like to believe. She doesn’t really understand – does anyone who isn’t trans or non-binary? – but I haven’t magically changed her gender by doing so. “If she were a boy, I’m sure she’d have told us by now,” I said to my wife recently. My daughter just laughed.