A new book, ‘Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?’, by CJ Atkinson has received criticism from politicians and right wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail.
The book, which has already been introduced to some primary schools as a learning resource to students, parents and teachers, follows the character of Kit, who was assigned female at birth but wishes to transition and live as male.
‘My name is Kit and I’m 12 years old. I live in a house with my mum and dad, and our dog, Pickle. When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and for the first few years of my life that’s how my parents raised me. This is called being assigned female at birth. I was never happy that way.’
Despite not being fully published and available to the general public yet, the book has received huge amounts of criticism from anti-trans opponents. Former Chairman of the Conservative Party, Lord Tebbit, has said that the book is ‘damaging to children to introduce uncertainty in their minds’.
Right wing newspaper The Daily Mail has also attacked the book as journalist Sarah Vine claims the ‘target audience is children not even old enough to choose their A-Level subjects, let alone challenge their own biology.’ Vine also went on to say, ‘In attempting to improve the lives of a vanishingly small minority, we are threatening the sanity of – and yes I’m going to say it – normal children. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense.’
Former Conservative Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe has also called the book ‘nonsense’. ‘You can’t expect children to say that’s not a boy when it obviously is. At the age of seven, you know if someone is a boy or if they are a girl. It’s normal. It’s like they’re trying to do away with one of the basic pieces of childhood understanding. All I can say is that it’s dotty to think it as made up but for the fact that it’s paid for by the taxpayer.’
‘This is political correctness gone mad’. Ukip West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour claimed. ‘We should let our children be children. The government and schools should not be wasting tax payers money on this.’
The books author, LGBT+ activist CJ Atkinson, has spoken out regarding the level of hate the book has received, and the misleading media coverage.
‘We call it trans-panic,’ they said speaking to The Guardian. ‘This mud slinging needs to stop. It causes active harm. When you have a group of transgender young people, one in two will consider suicide, one in three will attempt it.’
Many of the media articles on the book have claimed that Atkinson has called for schools to stop calling pupils boys and girls, something that they have vehemently denied. ‘I would not go to a seven-year-old and say ‘you can’t call yourself anything’. That’s not what I’ve written.
‘If you identify as a girl, assigned female at birth, and you like the colour pink, you like wearing dresses and sparkly things, that’s awesome. But if you’re a boy who likes pink sparkly things that’s also awesome.
‘It’s not a case of saying, let’s break everything down until there’s nothing, there’s no meaning to anything. It’s a case of opening up so everybody can have access to everything.
‘Writing the book, I had joked about the fact that I knew there would be some people who would not read it but still have a lot to say about it. I’m not naive. Lord Tebbit said it’s the worst thing on earth – he’s opposed to the idea of the book. Ann Widdecombe said it was dotty. In this particular case, quite literally, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They have not read the book.’
You can read the full interview with CJ Atkinson here: www.theguardian.com