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Experts demand suspension of gender charity working with disabled in schools

LGBT Youth Scotland.
LGBT Youth Scotland.

Experts are calling for a charity that supports gender-changing to be suspended from accessing children in Scottish schools following questions over the qualifications of their staff.

The call comes after LGBT Youth Scotland’s own report admits half of those it deals with have learning disabilities.

The charity, which receives more than £1 million a year in public funding and has input to over 250 schools across Scotland, says 65% of the youngsters they work with have “mental health issues”, 71% are sick or disabled, and 46% have “a learning disability”.

Concerned paediatricians and ­psychologists are demanding the charity provides evidence of its professional expertise and call for its work to be suspended as the Scottish Government continues to dither over the findings of the Cass report, which found pro-trans ­ideologies to be harmful to children.

Paediatrician Dr Jennifer Cunningham, an expert in autism, said: “I have concern that this group are anywhere near schools in the first place as their pro-trans ideology is harmful.

“Dr Cass was very clear that socially transitioning children is dangerous as it has psychological implications. Concerns deepen over the question of their qualifications when they are dealing with such vulnerable children with ­learning disabilities and mental health issues.

“This is also a group that challenged the decision by Scotland’s Sandyford gender clinic to cease prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children and young people, despite all the ­recommendations in the Cass report.”

Dr Jennifer Cunningham

The report by England’s top ­paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass into gender identity services has made 32 recommendations into how to safeguard children and young people from harmful ideologies that include telling kids they have been born in the wrong body or socially transitioning them.

LGBT Youth Scotland and other ­similar groups have been instrumental in trans ideologies being spread throughout Scottish schools. They claim to have helped “train” about 5,000 Scottish teachers and are working with schools in every local authority.

Primary and secondary schools have been paying up to £2,000 to take part in LGBT Youth Scotland’s charter scheme, which awards gold, silver and bronze status and encourages children to take part in a wide variety of activities, including ­celebrating transgenderism.

Mary Howden, former head of ­education and ­workforce development at the Scottish Social Services Council, said: “This group has had a huge influence on what is being taught in our schools, but there appears to have been very little attempt to check whether it is qualified to be among Scotland’s most vulnerable children. They should be suspended from Scottish schools regardless of their qualifications as they are promoting an ideology demonstrated to have neither a good-quality evidence base nor any positive outcomes.

“I would like to know just what has been done to assess whether this group has the expertise required to do what they are doing in our schools, and whether the sound principals of child protection are being ­properly implemented.”

And Carolyn Brown, former deputy principal educational psychologist, said: “The Scottish education system put ideology ahead of facts and safeguarding children and, to date, has ignored the best ­evidence including systematic reviews. It has repeatedly shut down and ­dismissed concerned voices.”

Education chiefs have responded to calls for them to stop teaching trans ideologies in schools with claims that they are awaiting government “guidance”.

But Brown said: “There is no statutory requirement for schools to continue using this ideology. They can drop it tomorrow if they want to. They do not need to wait for government guidance.”

Last week the Scottish Government failed to give concise answers on whether it would adopt the main recommendations in the Cass report, or when.

During a debate led by Scottish Conservative Deputy Leader Meghan Gallacher, the government was criticised for its dithering, particularly since it has “known” about the report for years.

Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said: “As Parliament would expect, that work is already under way. The chief medical officer will provide a written update to Parliament on the outcome of that clinical consideration process before the summer recess.”

Gallacher said: “Those ­working with children who have disabilities or mental health issues must be qualified to do so. The SNP Government must look at this urgently and confirm whether their staff are fully licensed to work with those they are teaching.”

Alba MSP Ash Regan said: “The Scottish Government must show leadership and clear direction in implementing Cass Compliance across all sectors supporting children and young people now. Concerned service directors and the families they serve look to the government for action, not posturing and prevarication in their response to the Cass Review recommendations across health, education, and legislation.”

“As parents, we entrust our children to educators to teach them how to work independently and with peers, think and question, and develop as independent lifelong learners—not to be consumers of ideology. Safeguarding is a fundamental principle of working with children, young people, and vulnerable adults and must underpin every policy and protocol. We have seen horrific stories in the press and MSP constituency inboxes about the exclusion of parents and government-funded lobby groups’ overreach in driving school policy for charter scheme awards. We need the Cabinet Secretary for Education to take this seriously and show leadership.”

LGBT Youth Scotland said: “We are not a medical organisation or a care provider, but a charity committed to supporting young people during challenging times for the LGBTQ+ community. Our team is both qualified and experienced, with a dedicated focus on helping every young person in Scotland lead the normal life they deserve.

“We are fully in line with the objectives of the UN and the Scottish Government to foster diversity and inclusion. Our focused efforts in schools are dedicated to educating about gender and sexual identities, aiming to create tolerance and understanding across all communities.”