Transgender debate: Cass report means Scottish politicians can no longer scream 'bigot' at parents concerned about puberty blockers – Susan Dalgety

SNP and Green ministers don't seem to know what to say in response to the Cass Review of NHS gender services in England

Not a single Scottish Government minister has spoken publicly about the Cass Review’s final report published earlier this week, which says children and young people have been failed by "remarkably weak" evidence on medical interventions in gender care. Not one.

Not Emma Roddick (she/her), Scotland’s equalities minister. Not Patrick Harvie (he/him), co-leader of the Scottish Greens, minister for zero-carbon buildings and long-time trans ally. The Health Secretary, Neil Gray, who is responsible for Scotland’s gender identity development services, has been notable by his silence, only taking to social media to congratulate the SNP on its 90th birthday.

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Surely the usually garrulous First Minster has said something? He used his busy X/Twitter feed to congratulate Ferguson Marine for the launch of CalMac’s new ferry MV Glen Rosa, though failed to mention it was six years late and three times over budget. And he found time to criticise Westminster for “yet another betrayal”, this time in the North East, over the relocation of civil servants. But on perhaps the most significant intervention on adolescent health care in a generation, nothing. Not a word. Tumbleweed.

Instead, a Scottish Government spokesperson issued an anodyne statement insisting that the Cass review findings will be “closely considered” and that discussions are ongoing to “determine what engagement is appropriate” with NHS England on its planned study into the use of puberty blockers.

Gender-related distress

In other words, the Scottish Government does not know what to say about its active promotion of the social and medical transition of children under 18, now that Dr Hilary Cass, one of the UK’s most experienced and expert paediatricians, has said that young people should be given time to keep their options open “until the developmental trajectory becomes clearer”.

Retired consultant paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass presented her Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People earlier this week (Picture: Yui Mok/PA)Retired consultant paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass presented her Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People earlier this week (Picture: Yui Mok/PA)
Retired consultant paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass presented her Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People earlier this week (Picture: Yui Mok/PA)

Politicians can no longer scream “bigot” and “transphobe” at parents and women’s rights campaigners who argued that it was wrong to prescribe adolescents, confused about their identity, with drugs to delay puberty, because as Dr Cass says, “we have no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress”.

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Government ministers and backbench MSPs can no longer indulge in their culture war, with any criticism of the gender identity ideology that grips many of our schools dismissed as “not valid”, or worse. Instead, when they return to their desks on Monday after the Easter break, they will have to come to terms with the fact they got it spectacularly wrong, and that their adherence to the transgender cult has irretrievably damaged the lives of many young Scots, and not just those who were referred to the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow for medical treatment.

Used by cynical adults

Transgender ideology is embedded in many of Scotland’s schools. The Scottish Government’s guidance, Supporting Transgender Pupils in School, published in 2021, advises teachers to affirm a pupil when she decides she is no longer a girl and is now male, in other words social transitioning. This is in contrast to Dr Cass’s findings where she says that gender-related distress is often masking other issues, such as depression, anxiety and eating dis­orders.

And her report points out that some research studies suggest transgender people are three to six times more likely to be autistic than the general population. These children need holistic care, with support for their parents, rather than being draped in pink, white and blue flags and used by cynical adults to prove their disputed gender identity theories.

The state-funded campaign group, LGBT Youth Scotland (LGBTYS), arguably has an undue influence in Scotland’s schools. According to For Women Scotland, almost 60 per cent of schools participate in the LGBTYS Charter Award scheme, which “further influences school policy and emphasises the advice to socially transition children”.

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Campaign group Safeguarding Our Schools Scotland (SOS Scotland) has been campaigning to have the government’s school guidance removed or amended for several years. A spokesperson for the group said: “We want the Scottish Government to remove this guidance, and to face up to the reality that children and their families are being harmed and they can no longer sit back as observers to this. They have a duty of care that right now they appear to be abdicating. We want the adults back in the room.”

Damaged children should sue

Carolyn Brown, one of Scotland’s leading educational psychologists with 40 years’ experience, is clear about the damage social transitioning can have on vulnerable adolescents. She says: “It is wrong to tell children they can change sex. Socially transitioning reinforces in a child who thinks they are ‘trans’ this is really the case… it risks encouraging or reinforcing bodily self-hatred.”

And one mother, whose two eldest girls were socially transitioned at their secondary school, with one now on the waiting list for the Sandyford Clinic, told me that she is “overjoyed” that the Cass review has revealed the truth about social transitioning. She says that the Scottish Government’s desperation to follow an ideology that was “medically unresearched” has ruined her family and many others. “So now what?” she asks. “How are we to help my children and the thousands of vulnerable children who have been forced on to this path… my hope is that many of those harmed will seek legal redress. But the question remains. What about our kids? When is Scotland going to help our kids properly?”

On that, Scottish Government ministers remain silent. But it can only be a matter of time before Humza Yousaf and his Health Secretary Neil Gray are forced to answer the question SOS Scotland wants to put to them face-to-face: “Why are Scottish children not being safeguarded in the same way as their English counterparts?”

The First Minister is quick to shout out whenever he perceives Westminster has abandoned Scotland. Will he be so keen to answer the justifiable accusation that he and his government have betrayed Scotland’s young people?



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