Is There Evidence of Gender Ideology Indoctrination
in Scotland’s Schools?
Some of us professionals and parents have developed concerns that schools may be indoctrinating children and teenagers. But where is the evidence for this? Have a look at Education Scotland’s website, Education.gov.scot. Education Scotland is the regulatory body that inspects our schools. They oversee and evaluate teaching and learning practice, the implementation of the curriculum, and generally the effectiveness of management and day-to-day running of our schools in Scotland. Go to the Education Scotland’s website then search for RSHP (Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood). Click on the heading: Summary of RSHP and scroll to Key Documents and Policy Drivers. You will find a number of documents, references and resources that are sounding alarm bells for discerning parents, teachers, and professionals. Two of the major policy drivers are considered below.
1. Scottish Government Guidance Supporting Transgender Pupils in Schools
Early on, the guidance states:
“This guidance has been developed from Supporting Transgender Young People which was developed and published by LGBT Youth Scotland in 2017”.
No child development or educational expertise was involved in the development of the guidance. Hence the guidance presents a one-sided view presenting gender ideology as fact. The guidance presents the concept of ‘trans’ as an accepted fact, not the vague and variable condition about which there is no current agreed definition. The guidance infers that in some circumstances, it may be best for parents not to be told that the child is opting to identify as ‘trans’,
“A transgender young person may not have told their family about their gender identity. Inadvertent disclosure could cause needless stress for the young person or could put them at risk and breach legal requirements. Therefore, it is best to not share information with parents or carers without considering and respecting the young person’s views and rights” (p.35).
The guidance uses methodologically unsound statistics from poorly constructed sampling techniques (respondent-driven sampling) to draw highly misleading conclusions. For example, that parents who support affirming their child’s ‘trans’ identity are linked to their child having positive mental health outcomes. The guidance also refers to exaggerated and increased risks of suicide for non-affirmed children identifying as ‘trans’. This representation has been proven by more rigorous research to be untrue (Biggs 2022).
The guidance supports affirming transgender identity and social transitioning of children and teenagers (pp 21-22). This is despite warnings to the contrary from the Cass Review, including the observation from Cass that social transitioning is likely to reinforce the child or teenager’s unease about their body.
The guidance offers no counter information such as the well-evidenced research from various studies that highlight that puberty is the ‘cure’ for most teenagers’ bodily unease and that the vast majority of young people who are gender questioning desist as adults (Griffin et al., 2021). Nor does the guidance refer to the various studies reporting the significant side effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones (Nice Guidelines, 2019) And the guidance fails to make any reference to the growing reports of poor outcomes of medicalization from de-transitioners. There are many more concerns about the guidance, too many for this short article. For further details outlining why the guidance is evidence of an ideology being promoted in schools see Dr Jenny Cunningham’s report in our resources section (J.Cunningham, 2023, Transgender Ideology in Scottish Schools: What’s wrong with government guidance?)
2. RSHP (Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood)
This resource has useful sections, however, gender ideology is woven throughout this resource. For example, in Level 2 Resources - for approximately P5-P7 children (ie 9-11 year olds), there a whole section on transgender children. Given this, why is there no section about gay children? Why are gender non-conforming children not discussed as being perfectly normal and just as natural as a child who conforms to gender stereotypes? Why does the RHSP include video resources such as ‘ How to be a girl’? (about a boy who from the age of three, thinks he’s a girl). It features childlike drawings with evocative music suggesting the attainment of happiness when a male child decides to change his sex to that of a female. Such material is leading and highly suggestive for children and parents. Such a resource is likely to confuse children and may lead a child and/or a parent to label a child inappropriately. Why is this being inserted into lesson plans for 9 and 10 year olds? And why are there links to other videos basically selling the idea that a young child will be much happier if they change sex? This is misleading at best and potentially very harmful psychologically.
Additional resources are provided in both the RSHP and the guidance for supporting transgender pupils. At no point are the various organisations critical of gender ideology referenced. So no mention of organisations such as: Transgender Trend; Sex Matters; LGB Alliance; Genspect; For Women Scotland etc. These are organisations that state the importance of good systematic research and a reliance on facts and biology. The organisations that are recommended as the ‘go to’ resources are: LGBTYS; Scottish Trans Alliance; Stonewall Scotland; TIE; Mermaids Young Persons Gender Service Glasgow; all of which are well known for promoting gender ideology. Why the imbalance in representation? Why has our education system put ideology ahead of facts and safeguarding children?
Authored by Carolyn Brown, retired Depute Principal Educational Psychologist
Biggs M. 2022. Suicide by clinic-referred transgender adolescents in the UK. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51(2):655-690.
Cass Review: Independent review of gender identity services for children and young people: Interim Report (Feb. 2022)
Cunningham J, 2023, Transgender Ideology in Scottish Schools: What’s wrong with government guidance?
Griffin L, Clyde K, Byng R, Bewley S, 2021. Sex, gender and gender identity: a re-evaluation of the evidence. British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin. 45(5): 291-299.
Nice Guidelines, 2019, Gender Dysphoria, www.evidence.nhs.uk
Scottish Government 2022, Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP).
Scottish Government 2021, Guidance Supporting Transgender Pupils in Schools.