BBC show tells children as young as nine there are over 100 gender identities. The film also tells children that becoming transgender is a way to be ‘happy’, but it makes no mention of medical interventions some trans children undergo.
A BBC program aimed at nine- to 12-year-olds includes the astonishing claim that there are ‘over 100 gender identities’.
The film, ‘Identity – Understanding Sexual and Gender Identities’, is being offered on the corporation’s website as part of its relationships and sex education package.
It comes despite Government guidance published last year which advised schools to exercise caution when teaching children about gender issues.
The program, which features children asking adults about sexuality and gender on behalf of their peers, suggests the different identities include ‘bi-gender’, ‘gender-queer’, and ‘pansexual’.
The film also tells children that becoming transgender is a way to be ‘happy’ while making no mention of the growing legal and medical concerns about the rising number of children saying they want to change gender.
A majority of school-age children are currently being forced to resort to online learning because the lockdown has shut access to the classrooms for all but key workers.
Last night, the BBC said teachers were ‘strongly advised’ to watch the film before viewing it with their pupils
One section of the film includes a pupil asking: ‘How many gender identities are there?’ It is answered by ‘Kate’, described as an RSE [Relationships and Sex Education] teacher, who tells two children: ‘There are so many gender identities. So we know we have got male and female, but there are over 100 if not more gender identities now.
‘Some people might feel that they are two different genders, people might think they are bi-gender. You have got some people who might call themselves ‘gender-queer’ – just like, I don’t want to be anything in particular, I just want to be me.’
Another speaker is Leo, a health worker who describes himself as a trans man, who tells the children: ‘I told people it wasn’t because I wanted to be transgender but because I wanted to be happy and to be happy I had to be true to who I was. Nobody really treats me differently but I feel that the pieces in my life fit better now.’
The film makes no mention of the medical interventions that some transgender children undergo, such as the untested hormone-blocking drugs whose use has effectively been banned by a recent High Court ruling.
The NHS Tavistock Centre treating children for gender issues was last week branded ‘inadequate’ by a watchdog, which found staff did not keep basic records on the treatment of vulnerable children given hormone treatments.
The film also shows an adult called ‘Rachel’ telling the children: ‘Some people might be born and feel they are the wrong gender. They might be born a girl and feel like they are a boy.’
The Department for Education last year told schools to take care when teaching children about gender issues
‘Resources used in teaching about this topic must always be age-appropriate and evidence-based,’ it said, while teachers must ‘not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality’.
The BBC said last night that more than 50 teachers participated in consultation exercises which helped to inform the series, and that it was ‘clearly stated’ on the BBC Teach website that ‘due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we strongly advise teacher viewing before watching with pupils’.
A spokesperson said ‘Kate’ had not claimed there were ‘hundreds of genders’, but that she had ‘come across more than a hundred different terms people use to describe their gender identity’.
The spokesperson said: ‘The film is not part of our Lockdown Learning offer. It is available on the BBC Teach website, our service for teachers to use for curriculum support.
‘More than 50 independent experts contributed to this film, which was made to help teachers when discussing health and relationships… the film comes with supporting notes and other films to provide further context.’
Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price said: ‘Telling children there are more than 100 genders is nonsense, and potentially harmful as it risks normalizing something which is extremely rare.’