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Have our schools embraced 'flat earth' beliefs?

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Background to the Conversion Therapy Bill in Scotland

The Bill in Scotland included a ban on attempts to dissuade a child from declaring themselves as ‘trans’ and changing their sex. Last year the so-called ‘expert’ Equality Committee, (made up largely of activists) advised Scottish Government ministers that any alternative approach seeking to explore possible causes of children and teenagers identifying as ‘trans’ was conversion therapy and should be banned. There were recommendations too for removing children from the care of their parents who did not support their children being called ‘trans’. It seems unbelievable that this was written in a so-called democratic society by a so-called ‘Equality Committee’ and accepted by a so-called ‘progressive’ government.

Such a proposal can only be conceived of as wrong, unethical, and completely ill-informed.This is conflating conversion therapy as previously used to persecute gay individuals, with the appropriate and helpful support of gender questioning children and teenagers who in most cases will have other mental health issues. Teenagers have always wanted to experiment with their identity: to be goths, punks, hippies, gender benders and so on. This was always fine and part of growing up. But now far too many institutions including schools have embraced a new ‘flat earth’ belief which says that any individual can change to be the opposite sex. This is, quite simply, a lie.

Schools should be at the forefront of supporting children and young people to build their resilience, challenge magical thinking and support understanding. The school environment is an important place for children and teenagers to grow up both physically and emotionally. It needs to be inclusive, supportive, honest and must promote the genuine safeguarding of children. And yet, the Scottish Government seems to want to rebrand school environments so that they promote a dangerous and un-evidenced ideology which states that children can change sex for all purposes.

Carolyn Brown

Retired Depute Principal Educational Psychologist

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