We’re extremely concerned by a BBC documentary due to air tonight.
From the title of the programme - 'Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?' - it is clear that this is being positioned as a debate about trans; a debate about what trans should or shouldn’t be, rather than a discussion about what trans is.
This is a very dangerous debate and it could have wide-ranging effects on trans people and, in particular, trans children.
The snippets and synopsis released by the BBC suggest that the programme queries whether trans children should have gender reassignment surgery.
If this is so, then this isn’t a journalistic inquiry; it’s a trade in mistruths and moral panic. To be clear, trans children do not have surgery.
The other element that has attracted lots of attention is the theories put forward by one doctor misrepresenting who trans people are and, as a result, attempting to discredit them.
This misrepresentation is that the ‘trans lobby’ want everyone to believe that boys playing with dolls and dressing in pink have bought a one-way gender-transition ticket.
Stonewall doesn’t believe that, nor do trans people.
We believe that children, trans or not, explore who they are all the time as they’re growing up. Some will explore their gender identity further, with the support of experts, and will not go on to transition.
For a small number of children, their gender identity will continue to be a real concern and source of discomfort. So much so that they will perhaps, but not inevitably, seek medical intervention to help relieve this discomfort.
That process is long, considered, done in consultation with – and hopefully with the support of – parents and carers, and with the appropriate expertise.
What we fear is that instead of clarifying these points, the programme will confuse and ultimately panic people.
The result will be children who are unsupported by their parents, carers and teachers, when what they desperately need more than anything is to be understood and to be accepted for who they are.