Thursday, 5 October 2017

Too little, too late

If it is true that Made in God's Image is to be revised, to bring it more closely into line with Catholic teaching, that is good news. And if that is the result of bishops realising the deficiencies of the document, and demanding that such changes be made, that is more good news. On top of the restoration of (some of) our holy days, it suggests that the bishops are moving in the right direction.  However, due to the culture of silence that pervades the CBCEW, we don't actually know...

But in the meantime, great harm is being done. Several Catholic schools, such as Sacred Heart, Hammersmith (the school my sisters attended many years ago) are now adopting trans-positive policies. Is there a connection between this and the CES's apparent endorsement of the Stonewall agenda? It seems probable. Note the head mistress' language on the topic: 'Every child at our school is made in the image of God...' Whilst a self-evident truth, the use of that phrase in this context suggests the baleful influence of the scandalous CES document.

This is very bad, for both theoretical and practical reasons. At the theoretical level, Stonewall's philosophy is antithetical to Catholic truth. You cannot serve both God and Tatchell...

But at the practical level, not only is there the issue of corrupting the consciences of young people, but further, of laying the Church open to serious claims of harm in the future. For the affirmation of young people in transgender identities is something that the professionals are very wary of, and they are also wary of Stonewall's passionate advocacy of this approach.  I have quoted this previously, but I unapologetically quote it again, and in more detail, as it is so important. It comes from a meeting hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health:

Peter Tatchell’s human rights rallying call after lunch felt incongruent after we had seen the sobering reality of what is actually done to the bodies of young people who ‘persist’ in gender dysphoric feelings. It was out of place in an event specifically about children and which was otherwise encouraging of alternative viewpoints. Who would dare raise any objections to the ‘affirmation’ approach after his tirade against ‘transphobia’ 
The presentation by Mrs Terry Reed, Trustee of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) in the morning similarly jarred in its certainty that transgenderism has a biological cause, during an event where professionals consistently emphasised the uncertainty in both the explanation for, and the treatment of, gender dysphoric youth. 
It begged the question of the place of advocacy groups at a medical and clinical conference such as this. Three of the breakout workshops after lunch were led by such groups, GIRES, Mermaids and the Intercom Trust, all groups certain of the need to ‘affirm’ trans-identified children.
For, as the report also notes: 
 There were also questions about the huge jump in referrals of teenage girls to the Tavistock, the group most likely to both suffer associated mental health problems and to progress to adult services. Absent an agreed etiology for ‘gender dysphoria,’ the question implicitly raised about these young people is: are they really ‘trans’ or are they simply non-conforming young people who have been presented with a new way to conceptualise their problems and a new tribe to join which provides them with acceptance and approval? 
The issue was inadvertently touched on by Professor Stephen Whittle of the Manchester Law School, showing slides of young people with slashed arms and commenting that this “didn’t happen in my day because it wasn’t presented as a possibility” and that “now kids learn quickly from social media.” It is only political sensitivities which prevent us from considering the same explanation for the sudden unprecedented number of teenage girls who bind their breasts and identify as boys. 
Professor Katherine Johnson, Reader in Psychology at Brighton University, showed slides of interviews with young people which were revealing of what a ‘trans’ identity means for teenagers: “Cis people think you should conform” said one interviewee. The binary of ‘cisgender’ and ‘transgender’ has come to represent ‘conformity’ v ‘non-conformity’ in the minds of young people: is a trans identity now the only way for teens to distinguish themselves as not conforming? In which case, what self-respecting teenager would want to identify as ‘cis’?
And perhaps more troubling still:
One of the leading researchers in this area, Thomas Steensma from VU University, Amsterdam, confirmed in his afternoon presentation that there is ‘no true data’ to support an ‘affirmation’ approach above one of ‘watchful waiting’ and that only a minority of gender dysphoric children persist in those feelings. He stressed the ‘need to be balanced and honest,’ admitted that ‘we don’t know a lot,’ advised that ‘we should keep all possibilities open’ and suggested a less prescriptive approach.
(Source: the whole piece is well worth reading.)
So the experts don't support the 'affirm' approach which Stonewall advocate, and which now some Catholic Schools are imposing on parents and children. 

This is important, as there is evidence that between 80 - 95% of children with Gender Identity Dysphoria find that these feelings decrease or disappear in time - unless they are put on puberty blockers, in which case (in the one study I know of) 100% went on to physical surgery. As children as young as 12 are being treated with puberty blockers, you can see that the risks of affirmation are serious and irreversible.

What do we know about trans-regret?Unfortunately, the research cannot be done, as it is politically incorrect. That in itself shows the way in which this agenda is being pushed for political reasons, not on the basis of any evidence. It is shameful that Catholic Schools - and indeed the CES - should have been swept along by Stonewall propaganda, rather than consulting the medical and psychological experts in the field; and even more damningly, without consulting the truths about human nature and human well-being of which the Catholic Faith is the guardian.

It will not be long - inside ten years, I dare wager - before troubled young adults are bringing actions against their schools and the Church for putting them on a path to transitioning that has permanently damaged them, physically and mentally. Apart from the huge injustice to the children (and also their peers, corrupted by this false ideology), this will be yet another blow to the credibility of the Church in this country.

Our bishops need to be aware of this likelihood, and take much more decisive action. Quietly amending Made in God's Image will be too little, too late. Please write to them, in charity as ever, and ask them to address this issue as a matter of priority.

And pray for them, as ever.

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