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.