The government should tread carefully with ‘gender identity’ ideology



The Conservative Government is certainly keen on the concept of ‘gender identity’. This is the notion that we all have an ‘inner’ one which may or may not be aligned with our biological sex. The Government is so keen on the idea, that it’s planning to roll it out to every household in the country – via the Census. Never mind that there is no science behind the idea, most of the country have never heard of it, and a great many who have, have serious concerns. 

Under current plans, for the first time, the 2021 Census will include a voluntary question about gender identity. But bizarrely, if the current format of the question and guidance testing is maintained, the Census will also allow people to self-identify their sex. The guidance for the sex question used in rehearsals for the Census last year said ‘If you are one or more of non-binary, transgender, have variations of sex characteristics, sometimes also known as intersex, the answer you give can be different from what is on your birth certificate’.

See the problem? If every trans-identified person self-identifies their sex and then gives the same gender identity, they will disappear as a population. We actually won’t have any idea how people responded to these overlapping questions. We won’t have accurate data – the thing which the Census, at great expense, is supposedly for. Concerns about this have prompted 80 of the country’s top social statisticians, quantitative social scientists, and epidemiologists to object strongly. They sent this succinct letter to the Times in December:

‘We are concerned about the proposed online guidance to accompany the sex question in the 2021 census, which advises respondents that they may respond in terms of their self-identified gender. This will effectively transform the sex question into one about gender identity. We are concerned that this will undermine data reliability on a key demographic variable and damage our ability to capture and remedy sex-based discrimination and inequality. We welcome the decision to include a voluntary question on gender identity in the 2021 census in England, Wales and Scotland. Sex and gender identity are distinct and should not be conflated.’

You can see the letter and the full list of signatories here

But my concerns stretch beyond data accuracy. As above, the whole notion of ‘gender identity’ is unproven and unscientific. However, now the government is rolling it out to every household in the nation. Under current plans, the 2021 Census will provide the following guidance to the biological sex question. “A later question gives the option to tell us if your gender is different from your sex registered at birth, and, if different, to record your gender.”  

What will our new Conservative voters in Hartlepool and High Peak make of this? 95% of people will have no idea what it even means. If anything, they think gender is just another word for sex – so it’s like asking ‘tell us if your sex is different from your sex’. But people have a legal duty to complete the Census accurately. What does the Government mean, they’ll wonder. When they find out, do we want them to take it seriously, or do we want them to think that the Conservatives have gone nuts? For me, the latter.  Because if they take it seriously, it will mean believing that each of us has an inner ‘gender’. If this is unaligned with our biological sex, and causing discomfort, appropriate treatment is that we should be set on a pathway of ‘affirmation’ towards the gender identity – even if this means taking hormones for life; having healthy breasts or penises surgically removed; potentially being rendered sterile; having poorly developed bones, and unknown other health complications.  If people receive hormone blockers too young, some doctors are questioning whether this might even impact the full development of the adult mind

It wouldn’t matter if it didn’t potentially cause such tragic harm. But the evidence is that the people most often persuaded that comfort will come via gender change are vulnerable young people. Clinicians point to ‘the high percentage of patients suffering from gender dysphoria who also suffer other complex problems, such as trauma, autism, a history of sexual abuse and attention deficit disorder’.

Dozens of practitioners have now resigned from the UK’s leading Gender Clinic. Some of them are now seeking a judicial review into the NHS’s approach to gender dysphoria, relying on crowd-sourced funds to do so. A young ‘de-transitioner’ is leading the case. She says that after three one-hour appointments, she was prescribed hormone blockers to halt the development of her female body.  She now regrets this but the damage is irreversible.  More and more de-transitioners are emerging on social media to voice their profound regrets – and to ask how this was done to them. What were the adults thinking? Where was the safeguarding?

Yet the Conservative government blunders on, now planning the exponential roll out of this concept via the Census. Undermining data integrity, constructing questions so that the trans population disappears anyway, rolling out pseudo-science across the nation, potentially dooming more vulnerable people to a lifetime of hormones, medical intervention, and potential sterility.

In his now famous ‘Wierdo’ blog Dominic Cummings said ‘what SW1 needs is not more drivel about ‘identity’ and ‘diversity’’. If SW1 doesn’t need it, why are the Conservatives rolling it out across the whole country?

Caroline Ffiske is a Conservative commentator and columnist at The Conservative Woman. Follow her on twitter: @carolinefff