Ultimate victims are our children, writes MARY HARRINGTON

Pupils identifying as cats. Teachers too scared to speak out. And a bid to smash every rule and boundary… What we are witnessing is an all-out war on parental authority – but the ultimate victims are our children, writes MARY HARRINGTON

Are we seeing the tide finally turn on gender madness in schools? 

Hopefully we are, in view of the widespread reaction to shocking audio footage last week from a school in Sussex that revealed a teacher calling a teenage pupil ‘despicable’ for disputing the idea that a classmate could identify as a cat.

Other reports poured in, from multiple schools, of children identifying as dinosaurs, animals or even moons. 

Of teachers afraid to challenge them for fear of being seen as discriminatory.

Now, leaked draft guidelines for schools on gender identity suggest the Government is creaking into action, with a ban on embracing pupils’ exotic ‘identities’ without involving parents.

Schools are seeing phenomenon of pupils identifying as cats, with some even wearing fake ears and tails in the classroom. Some have also reported children identifying as dinosaurs, animals or even moons

Audio footage last week from Rye College, East Sussex revealed a teacher calling a teenage pupil ‘despicable’ for disputing the idea that a classmate could identify as a cat. The school has denied the claim.

Leaked draft guidelines for schools on gender identity suggest the Government is creaking into action, with a ban on embracing pupils’ exotic ‘identities’ without involving parents

But will this be enough? I think not. The roots of this madness are far more insidious, and far more widespread.

We are witnessing nothing less than an all-out war on ‘normal’. And it’s justified by a sinister body of thought known as ‘queer theory’.

Let’s be clear: most of us support gay and lesbian people living normal lives, free of unjust discrimination. But queer theory isn’t about including gay and lesbian people in normal society.  

It sees normal society as the source of oppression. And that means dismantling normal society.

The doctrine has been smuggled into schools and institutions, on the coat-tails of gay inclusion. 

It wants to smash every kind of rule, boundary, institution, and norm – all the way to the foundations of biology itself. 

And it has set its sights on Britain’s children.


Evangelists of queer theory say there’s nothing natural about our bodies, or our desires. 

The categories ‘male’ and ‘female’, they claim, are not facts of biology but cruel, oppressive fictions that cramp individual self-expression. 

Nor is there anything natural about who we’re attracted to, or why.

According to queer theory, the normal pattern of attraction between men and women, and the benefit to society of stable couples raising children together, is ‘hetero­normativity’, designed to lock us all in oppressive boxes.

Earlier this year, a report revealed just how far this doctrine has been embedded in schools, via largely unregulated private companies delivering lessons on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).

According to the report, the RSE provider School of Sexuality Education says its aim is precisely not teaching children what’s normal. 

Instead, it sets out to teach youngsters that there is no such thing as normal sexuality – or even normal sexed bodies. That sex doesn’t matter. 

That humans can be any ‘gender’ they like. That there are no better or worse kinds of relationship or sexual practice. 

That casual sex is just as good as marriage. Many leading advocates of such beliefs go further, attacking the idea of ‘childhood’ as another oppressive ‘construct’.

In practice, that means attacking the authority of parents.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the School of Sexuality Education wants to end parents’ right to opt their children out of such lessons.

None of these ideologues seem to acknowledge where this thinking leads. If you treat every norm or rule as oppressive, that means smashing even the norms and rules that protect vulnerable groups. Such as children.

This includes the sense that children aren’t mature enough to make irreversible decisions about their own ‘identity’. 

Not to mention the equally obvious truth that, with rare, unfortunate exceptions, parents are best-placed to safeguard their children’s interests.

The fact is that this protective instinct is a product of human evolution, helping our slow-developing offspring survive into adulthood.

Sadly, there are already too many wanting to weaken that bond.

As seen in places such as Rotherham, where grooming gangs have targeted girls in care, the most vulnerable children are those without attentive, loving adults watching out for them.

Again and again, we discover that liberating children also creates opportunities for adults.

The earliest queer theorists were at least honest. Michel Foucault, often called the godfather of queer theory, argued for the abolition of age of consent laws. 

(After his death, it was revealed that Foucault sexually exploited under-age boys in Tunisia.) 

Other leading queer theorists sought to defend ‘boy-lovers’, or condone forms of incest.

Of course, not everyone who wants to ‘liberate’ children has nefarious intentions. 

But the push to free young children from their parents’ protective authority ends up aiding and abetting those who do.

We should take heed of the horror stories percolating out of North America and Canada, where this ideology is rampant. 

READ MORE: ‘I raised my daughter to stand up for what she believes in’: Mother of Year 8 pupil scolded by a teacher for questioning classmate’s claim she identifies as a cat says she is proud of her daughter amid ‘ridiculous’ gender row 

Take the chilling recent story of a 14-year-old American girl who was sex-trafficked by sadistic rapists, after her school hid her ‘gender identity’ from her parents and helped separate her from their care.

America is a global outlier in gender extremism. Thankfully, we in Britain are more moderate. 

There’s still a chance of resisting this tide of madness. So we must welcome every signal, however weak, that Government Ministers still recognise that ‘normal’ exists.

Miriam Cates MP, who commissioned the RSE report, welcomed the proposed new guidance on sex and gender in schools. 

But she added a note of warning, telling me: ‘It’s a positive step forward that the guidelines seem likely to ban teachers from “transitioning” without parental consent.’

She says this doesn’t go far enough – ‘we shouldn’t be transitioning children at all’.

None of this should even need saying. But while governments shy away from saying it, ideologue ‘educators’ are still busy in schools, teaching the exact opposite to our children. 

Disgracefully, parents are not even entitled to see the lesson plans. Last week, a mother lost a court battle to get her 15-year-old daughter’s school to tell her what her daughter was being taught in class about gender.

It’s no use shoring up the roof if the problem is termites in the rafters. 

In much the same way, there’s little gained from shoring up parents’ right to know that their child wants to change ‘gender’ in class, if unaccountable ‘educators’ can still use secret materials to indoctrinate that class.

The new gender guidance will be welcome – if it ever appears – but it’s not enough.

Of course, children should be taught about gay and lesbian inclusion, but as part of a wide education on what’s normally true about our bodies and our nature.

For the war on normal hasn’t changed the basic facts. None of us gets to choose the sex we are born. 

Babies still arrive the same way and follow the same stages of development. 

And children haven’t stopped needing love and protection from parents, just because some dodgy theorists decided they’d be better off liberated.

But we can’t defend these truths while the social norms that shore up society are being turned to dust, from the inside out, by sex and gender ideologues.

Every day we see new evidence of how their poisonous ideas have crept into schools, institutions, charities, and even the police.

This ideology has hidden behind a rightful and justified effort to protect gay and lesbian people from cruel bullying and discrimination. And now it’s waging war on normal itself.

And it must be stopped. It should be clear by now that the real winners of a war on normal are the kind of monsters who flourish in a world without truth, or rules, or consequences.

And its ultimate casualties? Our children.

Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at the UnHerd website.

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