St Paul's, one of the leading independent girls' schools in the UK – founded in 1904 to educate girls to 'their full potential', and with a string of eminent alumni, such as Harriet Harman and Rachel Weisz – announced on 19 June that henceforth they will no longer have a Head Girl, because the title is too binary. Instead, the role will be renamed 'Head of School', which is apparently far more 'inclusive' and, in today's climate of gender fluidity and choice, more acceptable!
In 2017, the school previously hit the headlines when it introduced a 'gender identity protocol', allowing girls to use boys' names and wear boys' clothes, or to be recognised as gender neutral, as they wished. At the time, apparently 10 girls in the sixth form did so wish, leading to a veritable tsunami of praise from LGBT campaigners. Stonewall, for example, announced, "This move signifies St Paul's Girls' support for a world where all people are accepted without exception..."
'Acceptance' of all people without exception ... really? Or the exertion of pressure on impressionable young minds, desperate to discover who and what they are, and to be 'different'?
The current news comes hot on the heels of another row at the school only a couple of weeks ago, after researchers from Princeton were invited to speak to pupils about changing their sex. Parents were reportedly outraged, accusing the school of heaping coals onto any already smoldering fire. As one parent fumed, 'I am furious about this. Why were these researchers invited to talk to the girls about ''trans youth'' at the school, where there is already an issue with girls wanting to become boys?'
It is perhaps unsurprising then that the latest announcement has not been greeted with unalloyed enthusiasm. In fact, a large number of both teachers and parents are reported as being deeply unhappy, with one parent demanding, 'How can you be a single-sex school that exists to empower girls to do well and at the same time support girls to identify out of being a girl...? Why would parents want to send their daughters to a school where girls are not happy to be girls?"
Why indeed, and one can only feel sympathy. Parents, after all, entrust their children to schools to acquire the knowledge and skills that will best equip them for the future. It goes without saying that parents want what is best for their child, and they trust teachers to impart correct information and to identify and cultivate their child's strengths, while at the same time building them up in areas of weakness. And they do this so that their child can realise his or her potential and become a rounded and happy adult, contributing to society, while finding personal happiness and fulfilment.
The last thing parents want is for their child to be brainwashed into accepting ideas that in the normal course of things wouldn't have occurred to them. And until very recently, though there have always been cases of people feeling they were born in the wrong body, the number of children suffering from gender dysphoria was actually very small, as was the number of transgender adults. In a trans data position paper issued in 2009, for instance, the Office for National Statistics stated, 'The proportion of trans people in the population is small and capturing adequate numbers of responses through current sampling methods on our suitable surveys is unlikely.' In other words, the number of individuals identifying as transvestite or transsexual was, prior to 2009, so small that gathering data had proved almost impossible.
All that started to change, however, when transgender activists began actively campaigning for greater gender variant recognition and acceptance – and especially when they began to focus their attention on schools, recognising that if you can shape the attitudes and opinions of children, you can change the views and future direction of society. In 1995, for example, the charity Mermaids, founded to help gender-diverse children, began to put together resources to put gender identity into the curriculum. They were successful, and these resources are now recommended by the DfE and widely used in schools. And a couple of decades later, in 2015, Stonewall, having achieved its victory with same-sex marriage and looking for a new cause to embrace, announced plans to start campaigning for trans equality, also producing extensive resources for use in schools.
Children never stood a chance. Bombarded with picture books and songs from around age 3, hammering home the message that gender is a 'choice' and it's great to be trans, is it any wonder that they began to say in droves that they'd been born in the wrong body? So much so that between 2009 and 2019, referrals for supposedly gender dysphoric children seeking reassignment treatment skyrocketed by an eye watering 4,500%.
However looked at, this is brainwashing on an industrial scale, and parents at St Paul's Girls' are right to be concerned. Whatever the weasel justification, their daughters are being subjected, in a school that was founded to promote the interests of women, to a carefully orchestrated programme of indoctrination and acceptance by transactivist groups that teaches them to be ashamed of their sex. Such teaching must stop.
Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.