Friday, June 23, 2017

Fans of Newsround Blog, if any, will have noticed there are far fewer entries now than in the past. But one CBBC Newsround story today grabbed our attention: the school in Exeter where boys decided to protest by wearing skirts rather than trousers during the recent heatwave. They'd been told that the school uniform policy meant they couldn't wear shorts.

A few years ago no boy would be seen dead wearing a skirt, but the boys who protested at Isca Academy were sensible enough to realise that there's no more reason for boys to not wear skirts than girls not to wear trousers. They understand that what you wear and what you look like doesn't alter who you REALLY are, whether that's a male (boy/man) or a female (girl/woman). And that's a lesson a lot of adults still need to learn.

Following the protest the school has relented and will allow shorts to be worn in future.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

"Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem."

Newsround dealt with the difficult topic of mental health on Tuesday 28th March.

Josh, a keen hockey player, made a quarter hour film, called "Inside my head" about coming to terms with a mental health issue - in his case OCD. It was thoughtful and well-presented, and I'm sure would have helped kids who are stressed out.

Ricky interviewed Josh in the studio live in the morning.

in Newsround's 28 March afternoon programme poet and author Michael Rosen explained how he came to terms with the death, from meningitus, of his 18year-old son Eddie. He explained that talking about Eddie to other people helped a lot.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Newsround covers London terror attack

With Ricky in the studio and Ayshah in London, Newsround has given extensive coverage over the last couple of days. This morning they reported the Trafalgar Square show of solidarity with mayor Sadiq Khan.

Ricky introducing Newsround this morning

Ayshah spoke to kids in a London school about their feelings and reactions to the attack, and she interviewed the MP Heidi Alexander yesterday afternoon. Afterwards Jenny and Leah answered viewers questions sent online to the programme.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?" - review of the BBC Two 'This World' documentary broadcast on Thursday 12th January 2017

One thing isn't in doubt is the fact that there has been an increase in the number of children who don't want to be their biological sex. The reason for that increase is unclear, but might be partly down to mainstream media, including breakfast television and BBC children's TV, giving a substantial amount of airtime to the topic; as well as an ingenuous acceptance of 'transgenderism' by most politicians.

Leo Waddell and 'I am Leo' production team holding TV awards

CBBC's 'I am Leo' documentary won three TV industry awards (RTS, International Emmy and BAFTA) for what was a badly researched, one-sided and misleading documentary, especially ill-considered for children as young as six years old.

Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? was an unusually brave documentary for these post-truth times, in that it was prepared to examine both sides of the transgender debate - rather than simply rehash trans-activist proselytism.

The transgender lobby were unhappy that the 'This World' team allowed a leading expert, with whom they disagree, to take part in the documentary.

People from both sides of the trans divide took part.

Melissa: Around the age of two and a half she told me one night "Mummy I think God made a mistake - I am really a little girl." Warner is transgender, so she is .. identifies as female. Warner had preferences for pink, sparkles. Even her physical mannerisms ...

Melissa: So Warner is nine years old. She's just at an age now where sexuality is starting to develop. So boy crushes and things like that are startng to come in.

But another parent, Chris, refused to believe his daughter, Alex, was really a boy. After six years, Alex eventually realised that being a girl didn't mean having to conform to feminine stereotypes -

Alex: I think that when I joined the baseball team I saw these other girls who were maybe more tomboy. They liked to do sporty things, and I never had really come across that before. It was then, for me, a moment where I started to accept myself for who I was, which was being a girl that also had boy interests. ... A lot of kids that either struggle with gender identity or transgenderism they also tend to have, you know, other issues, whether it's anxiety that they deal with, or depression ...

Narrator: Cases like, Alex, where children do not transition are common. many overcome their gender dysphoria. .... Studies from Europe and North America suggest around 80% of children with gender dysphoria eventually accept their biological sex. .... In a recent study, Zucker's colleague Devita Singh looked at the outcomes of more than 100 boys who attended the clinic. 88% of them eventually desisted.

The documentary discussed evidence that many children with cross-gender behaviour will eventually identify as gay or bisexual adults. Dr Ray Blanchard said trans activists don't want the high rate of desistance talked about.

'Lou' is one survivor of the transition culture who regrets having a double mastectomy and has received hate and death threats for daring to speak out on the issue:

'Lou': The assumption from the outset was that if I said I was transgender, then I must be. Nobody at any point questioned my motives. The only cure for this would be hormones and surgery. ... I became very self-conscious of my body. I was developing breasts, and periods .... I became very depressed. I thought the only explanation for my gender dyshoria must be that I was actually a man. I was struggling with self harm and had attempted suicide on a number of occasions. And was very much told by the community that if you don't transition you will self-harm and you will kill yourself. I became convinced that my options were transition or die. I didn't understand that the degree of disconnect and hatred of my body could be considered a mental health problem.

Dr Ray Blanchard: A lot of people who are professionals, and would be perfectly willing in private to say that they're appalled by Ken Zucker's firing, would be terrified to say that in public for fear of their own jobs or being treated as pariahs by their co-workers.

Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? was an excellent documentary.

Newsround Blog rating 5 out of 5.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?" - Book review

Despite its title, this book is more about 'gender identity' than about gender diversity. Ideally the publishers should have called it "Can I Tell You About Gender Identity Disorder?" or "Can I Tell You About Transgenderism?" But presumably they preferred the title "Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?" because support for 'diversity' is widely regarded as a good and positive thing.

The author, CJ Atkinson, is described on the back cover as "a queer activist, academic and poet." Atkinson, like the 12 year old protagonist Kit, is a transgender person.

The author's queer activism is evident throughout. For instance, messages like "there is no such thing in the world as not being trans enough," on page 13 may well give children the impression that they should aspire to be as 'trans' as they can be. As a result, so called "cisgender" children might feel they're somehow missing out.

Readers are quickly introduced to the concepts and jargon of transgenderism:

"When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and so for the first few years of my life that's how my parents raised me. This is called being assigned female at birth."

Kit describes how he disliked stereotypical girly things from an early age, and at the age of three told his mother he wanted to be a boy. He goes on to discuss -

gender identity
feeling of being 'born in the wrong body'
sexual orientation
hormone blockers, hormones
gender expression
gender dysphoria

Kit has a few friends who, it seems, are all 'transgender' in one way or another. Amy, one of Kit's best friends, is transitioning from male to female. Tobi is considering having top surgery "so they don't have breasts." Sam is non-binary and so also prefers non-gender specific pronouns 'they' and 'them.' Another friend, Leigh, is gender fluid and likes people to use words such as xe, zir, xie, and ze.

Rather than clarifying things, this book is likely to add to the confusion about what is, after all, quite a difficult topic to grasp.

The difference between 'gender' and 'sex' is unclear, even, it seems, to the book's author. So, for example, we hear about the gender 'assigned' at birth. But on page 32, when Kit talks about his dog, Pickle, he says he finds it "really funny" that people think Pickle is a girl. Kit says: "When I tell them he's a boy, they apologise and get his pronoun right." Does Kit know the 'gender identity' of Pickle, or is he instead referring to Pickle's biological sex - ie male?

The book concludes with a section called "How other people can help," and finally a brief glossary which defines some of the trans activist jargon:-

(C)AFAB, for instance, means "(Coercively) Assigned female at birth."

The book is illustrated with a few black and white outline drawings which add little or nothing to the text, but do make it look slightly more child-friendly.

Newsround Blog rating (1 out of 5)

Monday, January 09, 2017

Newsround Blog has previously advised parents of gender nonconforming kids to avoid having anything to do with a trans activist group called Mermaids.

Yesterday trans activist, Carol Steele, inadvertently proved my point in a post to an LGBT internet forum:

No reputable clinic either in the US or Thailand (or anywhere else that I am aware of) supports surgical intervention under the age of 18.

Would Mermaids recommend any disreputable clinics/hospitals - absolutely NOT.

In fact, the person in charge of Mermaids sent her own child to Thailand in order to get round laws that protect children in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Notes for parents of gender nonconforming kids -

Sometimes children prefer toys or clothes typically associated with the opposite gender (for example girls who prefer to wear trousers and who shun anything in pink)

Lately the media have devoted a disproportionate amount of airtime to transgender stories.

Transgender logic is inconsistent and makes little sense -

In the CBBC documentary "I am Leo" kids are told there are two genders. But on a CBBC webpage for "Just a Girl" (2016) kids are informed that they may feel like they are somewhere inbetween: "sometimes a person born a girl might feel that they are male, or not fully a girl or boy."

Both of those BBC children's programmes suggest hormone blockers are needed for 'transgender' kids, and it's shocking that they're promoting the 'born in the wrong body' post-truth nonsense to vulnerable children as young as six years old.

The credits on a related BBC Radio 4 series, also called "Just a Girl," indicate that Susie Green from an organization called Mermaids helped with the production.

So what do we know about Mermaids? Actually quite a lot, but not much good can be said of the charity, despite the fact that it keeps winning awards.

The current CEO of Mermaids is Susie Green. Ms Green originally became convinced her 4 year old son was really her daughter after hearing that God had made a mistake.

Some years ago Ms Green circumvented UK regulations by sending her child - who had just turned 16 - to Thailand for "sex change" surgery well before the operations would have been allowed in Britain. I've asked the NSPCC whether it's acceptable to get round British laws intended to protect children.

Clinics, such as the Tavistock in London, which frequently deal with children's gender issues find that a substantial number of gender non conforming kids eventually desist, many to later identify as LGB. Despite this fact, at the time of writing the main three webpages on Mermaids' site don't even mention the words lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Mermaids does not like to be questioned or criticised, and frequently shuts down any kind of debate by blocking parents on social media.

Trans organizations such as Mermaids thrive by exaggerating the prevalence of "trans" children, and suggesting that those children are at a high risk of suicide. But recently Mermaids got caught out misrepresenting the contents of this survey, belatedly claiming it was down to human error.

The group also tried to deceive some of the ticket holders to another seminar a few weeks earlier.

Parents of gender nonconforming kids are advised to steer well clear of trans activist organizations. But in case you're still not convinced, it's worth adding that Mermaids supports a mother who caused her 7 year old son emotional harm by bringing him up as a girl.

Friday, November 18, 2016

An online CBBC programme about a fictional 11-year-old transgender girl called Amy Jones has drawn criticism from parents on Mumsnet, as well as sections of the press - in particular the Daily Mail. The CBBC series is related to a radio series of the same name

The story of 'Just A Girl' is presented (in 25 very short episodes) as Amy's video diary of her experiences as she is about to start secondary school. We see, from Amy's bedroom, that she likes all the things stereotypically associated with girls; her bedroom is pink and there's a One Direction poster on the wall.

In episode 3 Amy says that when she was born her dad was pleased to have a boy to take to the football.

Amy: "But mum knew I was different. She realised early on that I was born in the wrong body"

Amy doesn't explain why her mother came to that conclusion - presumably she was just concerned that her son liked 'girly' things and decided that he must therefore be a girl.


Last month the High Court in London published the Judgment in a case about a mother who was bringing up her son as a girl. Mr Justice Hayden found that the mother in question had caused her son “significant emotional harm” and awarded custody to the boy's father.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

"I never felt like a girl - I always thought there was something different about me" - that's what Leo says in one of the clips in a trailer for CBBC's autumn schedule. It actually comes from an award-winning, but highly controversial documentary called "I am Leo", which was first broadcast almost two years ago.

Trailer for CBBC's autumn programmes

Perhaps people won't be surprised that Leo felt different when they learn that Leo's mum, Hayley, "knew" the gender of her child because of her difficult pregnancy.

Hayley Waddell: 'I knew when I was pregnant with Leo that something was different ... I've been pregnant with three other girls and this one was completely new. I was so horribly sick all the way through. I was just certain I was having a boy.'

Saturday, September 17, 2016

An exhibition in the Wellcome Wing of the Science Museum called "Who am I?" featured briefly in CBBC's controversial "I am Leo" documentary. That programme, despite concerns to the BBC about its scientific accuracy, was repeated for the umpteenth time today.

Amongst the Science Museum exhibits you will find a packer, a chest binder and some testosterone patches - paraphernalia used by some people to help disguise what they believe are their "awful" bodies.

Who am I? - "Packer" and other items on display

For those unfamiliar with this topic, a 'packer' is a plastic penis-shaped object, designed to give the impression that the wearer has male genitalia. A 'chest binder' is used to flatten female breasts in an attempt to mimic the male body outline. Testosterone often has the effect of lowering the pitch of a human voice and promoting the growth of facial hair etc.

Following criticism the Science Museum has recently blogged that changes will be made.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Guide to Gender Identity (part 2)

What does 'gender identity' mean?

In part 1 of this Guide, I explained some of the ways used by activists to swell the apparent number of transgender people living in the UK. In reality, few 'trans' people have actually had surgery and rely on regular hormone jabs or hormone patches.

The impression that there are hundreds of thousands of trans people in Britain relies on convincing us that a person's 'gender' and 'sex' are two different things, and that each of us has a 'gender identity' which may or may not be the same as our biological sex. Using the terminology of trans activists, we are either AFAB or AMAB.

AFAB means 'assigned female at birth'

AMAB means 'assigned male at birth'

The truth, of course, is that we aren't assigned anything at birth. Instead our lifelong sex is identified at birth and recorded. The vast majority of people can be correctly identified as either male or female, though on rare occasions sex organs are insufficiently developed to be certain.

Trans activists say that everyone who isn't transgender should be referred to as 'cisgender' or just 'cis'.

But these same activists face a dilemma: the logic of being either cisgender or transgender breaks down as soon as we accept the existence of non-binary and a gender spectrum.

So where does that leave the controversial 'born in the wrong body' (BITWB) ideology, as promoted by BBC Children's?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

A Guide to Gender Identity (part 1)

Over the last couple of years there's been a lot of media coverage of 'transgender' people and gender identity. Much of the interest began as a result of a BBC children's documentary, I Am Leo, in which viewers saw a child's efforts to be fully accepted as a boy. Leo says "although people saw me as a girl, I always knew I was really a boy."

What does 'transgender' mean?

There is a lot of confusion about what is meant by the word. The reason for the confusion is that activists like to suggest being 'transgender' is not particularly unusual. So, for example, although Leo admits being transgender is "not very common," only moments later he stresses there are THOUSANDS of transgender people in the UK. The documentary, which was aimed at children as young as six, will leave its audience with the distinct impression that people are either boys/men or girls/women - there was no suggestion that a person can be somewhere inbetween. The documentary makers aggressively utilize the concept of separate hormones for boys and girls.

Clip from CBBC I Am Leo documentary

If you now check the UK 'transgender' population you will notice that "current estimates indicate that some 650,000 people are “likely to be gender incongruent to some degree”." In fact, trans activists deliberately blur the distinction between those who are gender non-conforming and those who, like Leo, are actually convinced they are the opposite sex to that identified at birth.

The vast majority of that 650,000 estimate will be, for example, girls who like playing football, or boys who don't. In other words, any deviation from stereotypical or traditional gender norms has been used to swell the apparent 'trans' population.

It is important for parents, teachers and children themselves to understand that most transgender activists are acting CONTRARY TO THE PRINCIPLES OF DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY. There is absolutely no need for girls and boys to conform to stereotypes - hobbies, interests, mannerisms and sexual orientation have not the slightest impact on whether a child is a girl or a boy.

Friday, July 08, 2016

It's been a busy week for Leo Waddell, transgender star of the controversial BBC children's documentary I Am Leo. Presumably he got special permission to take time off school to appear, firstly, at this year's Children's Media Conference in Sheffield, where he opened the BBC Commissioner Conversations session. Panelists included CBBC's Cheryl Taylor, and Kay Benbow from CBeebies.

Report by Simon Bor – Commissioner Conversations: BBC

Then, today, Leo was a speaker at Stonewall's Education for All Conference in London -

Leo Waddell (left) with mum Hayley in London's QE II Centre - 8th July 2016

Saturday, July 02, 2016

On 29th June 2016 I received an email from the BBC which thanked me for pointing out a flaw in their Response to complaints about CBBC's My Life: I Am Leo documentary: "We appreciate you bringing this to our attention." (CAS-3833834-V0NNW1)

I first raised the particular issue with Alice Webb, Director of BBC Children's on 24th April 2016. However, Ms Webb did not reply or acknowledge my correspondence. So on 9th May I contacted a more senior manager, Anne Bulford, who then ensured it was properly dealt with.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Newsround's coverage of the EU referendum seemed to generally favour the Bremain side. That's because reporters were sent to Poland and Spain to see how the outcome would affect kids in those countries.

The fairly close referendum result suggests people in Britain thought the arguments were finely balanced. But summing up #BrexitIn5Words, Newsround's editor Lewis James, tweeted "Confirms all my existing prejudices," and in a second tweet My opinion superior to yours. Perhaps he was unhappy with the democratic decision to leave?

Poor lamb, Baa-rry (left) is upset about his side losing the referendum

Monday, June 20, 2016

CBBC Newsround has today started an official Twitter account -

It is not yet clear whether the official account is permitted to interact with other Twitter users - in particular those with no BBC connections.

For those who are not already aware, the Blog your are now reading and its associated Twitter account have no connection with the BBC or the CBBC Newsround programme - we are completely independent.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Newsround report this morning about shootings in Orlando.

Ayshah introducing CBBC Newsround on 13th June 2013 at 7.40am

Transcript (7.40am) -

Ayshah Tull: Good Morning, I'm Ayshah. First, to sad news from Orlando in America. In the early hours of Sunday morning there were attacks there. I've been following all the news.

(Recorded report)

Ayshah: Cities across America have been laying flowers and candles, to show people in Orlando that they care. It's because of attacks that happened there in a night club in the early hours of Sunday morning. Sadly 50 people died, and 53 others were injured. The man responsible for the attack was shot by police before he could do more harm. Many of the victims were gay people. The American President, Barack Obama has spoken out against what has happened.

President Obama: We know enough to say that this was an act of terror, and an act of hate. And as Americans we are united in grief and outrage and in resolve to defend our people.

Ayshah: We don't know exactly why the attack happened, but it could have been the result of hatred towards gay people. The police are still investigating. And in the City of Orlando people are trying to come to terms with the attacks.

Laura Bicker: As the investigation continues there are several words that sums up this community - shock, outrage, fear, but there is also unity. This is a city trying to make sense of the senseless, and they're doing it in their own way.

Ayshah: Hundreds have queued for hours to donate blood for the victims in hospital, as the community come together to show their support and do what they can to help.


Ayshah: Remember if anything you see in the news upsets you there's help and guidance online.

The 8.15am report was only slightly different.

EDIT at 5pm

The 4.20pm edition of CBBC Newsround added an extra report about homophobia -

Sunday, June 05, 2016

A significant issue in the build-up to the USA Presidential election concerns the rights of 'trans' people to use the toilet (in America 'bathroom' or 'restroom') they feel most appropriate for their 'gender identity'

That story has not been mentioned by CBBC Newsround, though a few weeks ago the programme did cover something about Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

All the fuss about toilets has given 'trans' a much higher profile than before, giving the impression that they are a sizable minority. But how true is that impression?

The answer to this very much depends on what exactly is meant by a 'trans' person. If the term is used to mean 'transsexual' then only a tiny proportion of the population are trans. However there has been a trend recently to phase out references to 'transsexual' and use the more general term 'transgender' which activists see as more appropriate for people of all ages, including young children. After all, isn't it unlikely the BBC would have made a documentary aimed at kids aged 6-12 if Leo had insisted in calling himself a transsexual?

Broadcasters, book publishers and many LGB allies have been persuaded into believing in the concept of 'gender identity' as opposed to birth sex. Unfortunately parents, too, have been taken in by all this. On seeing indications that their children are interested in the 'wrong' sort of toys, colours or clothes they're encouraged to rush off to quack clinics or 'support' groups, which then are all too happy to confirm that the kid is 'trangendered' and, in so doing, possibly condemn these children to lifetime drug dependency as well as unnecessary invasive surgery.

A more sensible approach is to disregard gender non-conformity except where a child repeatedly expresses the opinion that they are the opposite gender. In other words it may be necessary and appropriate, in rare circumstances, to give children an early sex education lesson, carefully explaining what makes a girl physically different from a boy. It's most unlikely young children will persist in their delusion if parents take time to explain things.