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Gender – back on the agenda

24 November, 2017 — By John Gulliver

WHAT’S happening to “gender conflicted” children and adolescents? And I’m not thinking of those who make sudden self-declarations. A lot of thought has been given to it by the Tavistock Centre in Belsize Park, who have seen a leap in referrals from 97 in 2009 to more than 2,000 last year.

Meanwhile, Highgate School recently decided to allow pupils to wear whichever uniform they felt comfortable in.

“I think this was something that was for a long time out of sight, out of mind,” said former LibDem care minister Paul Burstow, the Tavistock’s Trust chairman. “We have to tread a very careful line in terms of respecting young people and their parents who are on an emotional rollercoaster… Often the debate in the media is black and white.”

According to experts at the clinic, young people registered male or female at birth do not feel like a boy or a girl when they get older. They may prefer to dress in clothes or play with toys that are not associated with their sex.

Female referrals to the centre have exceeded male referrals for the first time.

There is a bigger debate, I gather, at schools – with youngsters not really identifying with being male or female as they used to. Broader questions emerge that touch on feminism: Why do more leadership roles go to boys?

Meanwhile, gender politics is taking a dip at the Hampstead Ponds. “Transgender issues” came up at the recent annual meeting of the Highgate Men’s Pond Association, I hear.

The Corporation of London has now received a request to provide changing facilities for transgender people.
Will this be sorted out by the time of the Christmas Day swim?


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