Fundraising site Crowdfunder re-instates campaign to send ‘transphobic’ booklet to schools

Publication accused of spreading 'incredibly harmful and untrue claims about what it means to be trans' 

Yas Necati@YasNecati
Thursday 23 August 2018 12:25
Many transgender activists are concerned that the fundraiser, if successful, could be damaging to transgender young people and increase transphobic attitudes in schools
Many transgender activists are concerned that the fundraiser, if successful, could be damaging to transgender young people and increase transphobic attitudes in schools

A crowd funding website has reversed its decision to suspend a fundraising campaign for a booklet which claims that being transgender “contradicts material reality”.

Entitled "Supporting gender non-conforming and trans-identified students in schools", it advises that creating new anti-discrimination policies to protect transgender children “may not be necessary”.

Written by a group of parents calling themselves "Transgender Trend", it also suggests that teachers should tell children asking about transgender identity that “you can’t actually change from a boy to a girl”.

The fundraising campaign, which aims to raise £10,000 to print and distribute the booklet in schools, was suspended by Crowdfunder last week because it received an “unusually high number of complaints”. But it has since been reinstated.

The booklet suggests that transgender children should not be "celebrated in schools as ‘brave and courageous'".

It adds: "There is evidence of ‘social contagion’ with transgender children and the school must be wary of fostering this."

It goes on to suggest that identifying with a gender different to the one that someone was assigned at birth is “an indication of mental ill health” and claims that widely recognised higher suicide statistics for transgender young people are “misleading”.

Throughout, phrases such as “girls who identify as boys” and “biologically male teenager” are used instead of acknowledging people's preferred gender.

Transgender organisations and campaigners have spoken out against Crowdfunder’s decision to reinstate the campaign, which it said does "not break our terms and conditions and guidelines”.

Jamie Pallas, spokesperson for Gendered Intelligence, an organisation that works with young transgender people, said that the group is “extremely disappointed” with the crowdfunding website.

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“In our work with young trans people, we see the devastating affects lack of support at school has on wellbeing and mental health,” he told The Independent.

He added that the publication aimed "to spread incredibly harmful and untrue claims about what it means to be trans. Crowdfunder’s failure to take action against this material gives a green light to anti-trans bigotry.”

Transgender campaigner Owl Fisher called Crowdfunder's decision "outrageous".

They added: “It goes directly against their community standards and shows that they have taken the side of a transphobic group.”

Others expressed concern that if the fundraising campaign was successful, it could increase transphobic attitudes in schools, while some called for the Department for Education (DfE) to step in.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Headteachers are best placed to make decisions in the interest of their pupils but we want to make sure they are supported on sensitive issues, such as transgender rights. Through a £3m initiative led by the government equalities office, the government is working with over 1,000 schools to look at ways of fostering understanding of LGBT issues in the classroom.”

But transgender rights activist Fox Fisher said: “What is so dangerous about [the booklet] is that it masquerades as a resource that centres around supporting trans youth, when it is the exact opposite. As much as the creators and their supporters claim that this resource is to support children, its real intentions are to push trans youth further into the closet and suppress their identity."

“It goes directly against the well being of trans students in schools and threatens the good work that many organisations have done in order to achieve legal rights and social recognition."

Stephanie Davies-Arie, spokesperson for Transgender Trend, told The Independent: “Despite a concerted campaign to defame us across social media and in some press reports, the decision from Crowdfunder, following a six day investigation, exonerates us from all charges that the Transgender Trend schools pack promotes ‘hate'."

She added: “We were confident that Crowdfunder would reach this decision."

Transgender Trend did not address the claims about the accuracy of its publication or the specific allegation that it was "transphobic".

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