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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Social Services and Trans Children

Yesterday I learned with horror that one Social Service's worker had decided (no doubt with the blessing of her bosses) that a 7 year old transgender girl be taken away from her mother together with her other child because they regarded it as child abuse that the mother had allowed her daughter to transition.  They want to force the child to be raised as a boy.
I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind this.  Transsexualism is a recognised medical condition in the UK, so this social worker who will lack the necessary medical skills to diagnose if the child has gender dysphoria,  was allowed by her superiors and then backed by a court order, to forcibly remove those children from the mother's care.  It would appear that there was no consultation with qualified medical professionals who are fully cognisant with gender variant or transgender children.
Fortunately the mother did contact Press for Change, an organisation which provides legal help for trans* people who need advice and assistance and she was also put in contact with a qualified social worker who has specialist knowledge in this field who is helping her to get her children returned to her.  Another organisation, Mermaids, a UK national charity which helps transgender children and their families is also providing support for the mother.
The Social Services in this country are in a right mess, in a recent case they ignored all the signs  when a small boy was being beaten and starved to death by his evil parents, yet they take away two young children who are loved and cared for by their mother.  It is completely outrageous that this has been allowed to happen.
As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it would be child abuse if the mother deliberately made her child suffer the torment of going through puberty and then when they transitioned at a later date have to undergo painful and extensive treatments (eg laser/electrolysis to remove facial hair) and quite complicated and often dangerous surgeries (eg Facial Feminization Surgery etc).
A mother's love should be unconditional and by allowing her child to express who she feels herself to be is not abuse, especially in light of this being a known medical condition.
Hopefully, with the help from other organisations, this mother will soon be re-united with her children and  will update the blog when I have any further news of this.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the mother.  I would also like to point out that the majority of people who work in social services and child protection are conscientious, hard working people.

12 comments:

  1. OMG that's absolutely outrageous Carol.
    Is there a way I can add the weight of my voice on the matter?

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    1. Unfortunately, not at the moment Layla, she is getting a lot of help and support from professionals who are helping her to try and re-unite her with her children. I will reblog on this when I hear something new - and hopefully that will be that her children are safely back in her care.

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  2. I feel it's important to stress to any members of the press who may read this blog that the mother's approach would not cause any irreversible physical change in the child; rather, it would provide space for the child to develop emotionally and it may subsequently involve the delay of puberty until the child is old enough to make an adult decision as to the best way forward.

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    1. Yes, absolutely correct Jennie, this is mentioned elsewhere in my blog, but deserves to be highlighted here as well.

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  3. I cannot express my shock and horror that such a thing can be done to a trans* child. Not only is the pressure of gender dysphoria bad enough on it's own but to separate a child from their parents is very traumatic in itself should be an option of last resort as laid down by the Children Act. I am disgusted that this social worker should be given the power to do this, and that the court chose to allow this to happen without a trans* expert, without a child psychologist with trans* experience and expertise. Surely in a case where it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the child isn't trans(*) - an expert witness is essential.

    Gender dysphoria is lifelong, trans* feelings don't just go away and in some people treatment is both necessary and life saving. That's how Jackie Green described her mothers actions when she took her child to America to get her to have testosterone blockers to prevent the immense psychological damage of going through devastating irreversible pubertal changes. Life saving. That's what a mum of another trans* child from mermaids articulated to me recently at trans* pride Brighton 2013.

    It's not unusual for trans* children to attempt to take their lives with the onset of puberty. "Reparative" therapy does not work, is dangerous and outlawed by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. They have a 7 year old trans* child's life in their hands and don't have the expertise to care for them. It is THAT which is dangerous.

    My thoughts are of course with the family who must all be beside themselves.

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    1. Thank you for your comments and your support Rebecca

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  4. This is vile. Any idea who to write to, and what further action might be more effective in the case of lack of institutional support?

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    1. I have to agree Alie Cat, but at the moment the mother doesn't want anything publishing that could identify her as she is fearful that it could jeopardise her chance of getting her children back.
      This was the reason why her name, the area where she lives and any other details which could have identified her were left out of the story.
      I am sure you will be sympathetic to this.

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    2. Ah okay. Yes, absolutely. Give them my regards

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  5. This is sickening. Child "protective" services overlook cases where children are seriously in danger, and instead take immediate action against a mother who is simply letting her child dress and act as they want. If her daughter truly is trans*, then her mother is doing her a huge favor by allowing her to explore and embrace it instead of condemning it. And if it turns out that it is just a phase, then no harm is done anyway - it's not like she has the kid on hormones!

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  6. My heart goes out to the mother and her children. Forgive me for asking - has this case been verified? I ask because it is so shocking. Assuming that it has been verified, I am wondering if you could set up some comment on facebook which could be shared and generate thousands of 'likes' which could, in turn, be shown as public opinion/strength of opposition in respect of SS action in this particular case ? This way the mum and her little ones remain anonymous ?

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    1. I have not attended any of the hearings or witnessed the actual removal of the children - however, a well known LGBT advocacy group in the area that she lives is working closely with her and I have verified this from an independent source. Although I know some of the people working for that group, I cannot verify anything further (nor would I ask them) because of client confidentiality.

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Thank you for your patience -- Carol