A disingenuous response from the Church of England to the Cass Report

Now that evidence of the GIDS scandal has been formalised in the Cass Report, there are quite a few  who only a week ago were still accusing women of transphobia for even raising concerns, now hurrying to find agreement with the findings. With no doubt an eye on the general election Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting says he agreed with the report findings, pretending it told him things he didn’t already know.  His own role in making Labour party members lives difficult for their gender critical beliefs has been conveniently forgotten. This is infuriating for those who have been cancelled, abused and marginalised for standing up for women and children’s rights. However in his defence he has acknowledged a change of heart (although no apology as yet).

 Not so the Church of England, itself responsible for promoting the dangerous ideas that have led to children attaching all their problems on to their gender, via its anti -bullying teaching resource Valuing All God’s Children, through its 5000 plus schools.

The role of wider society and the social context in which this ideology has taken hold was discussed by Dr Cass with specific focus on why it was that three quarters of gender questioning children are girls. The role of schools is significant. As the group Safe Schools Alliance notes “We are particularly concerned by the way that schools, aided and abetted by the teaching unions, have promoted an ideology that bypassed all safeguarding practices”

Some of us have been waiting for a public announcement from the Church Education Office. It didn’t come but through much searching I have found a short statement hidden away on the website. Here it is:

“We agree with Dr Cass’s conclusions that, as far as any form of social transitioning is concerned, a very cautious approach is necessary, and should involve full collaboration and consultation with parents and medical professionals. Something we have always maintained.”  (my bold)

My blood pressure took a spike when I read this!  Where, I ask, did the Church maintain this? The section in the guidance which speaks specifically of social transitioning says,

  “Trans young people may require specific support in order to feel comfortable at school, for example, schools may need to make changes to toilet facilities or a trans young person might require support to change their name or the pronoun by which they are referred to by staff and classmates.”(Valuing All God’s Children 2019)

There is nothing in this document that asks that parents and medical professionals should be involved in this process or to say that any approach should be cautious.

Only in January this year there was a news item about a four year old boy who was allowed to join a Church primary school as a girl without any of the other pupils being told.

One of the Church’s let-outs has been to blame local authorities and the schools themselves for their policies but it is high time it took some responsibility and accountability and grappled properly with this important topic.  Brilliant organisations like Transgender Trend and Safe Schools Alliance have had school resources alternative to those of Stonewall and Mermaids readily available but for some reason the Church chose to ignore them. Instead VAGC is straight out of the Stonewall playbook, even having the exact same glossary.

 I and many others have been writing to the Church of England’s Education Board for over four years and our concerns have been dismissed. It seems that the Church has consistently failed to understand the implications of being a mouthpiece for these lobby groups. Sadly for many youngsters, the damage has already been done. It is not enough to rewrite the guidance in the light of the Cass Report. What the Church should do immediately is to acknowledge it was wrong and issue an apology for having left this resource in schools for so long (since 2017), even as alarm bells were ringing. By not doing so it is sending out the signal that it doesn’t take the medical abuse of children seriously.