This week the anti-LGBT, anti-women's rights, anti-Islam, conservative lobby group Christian Concern have brought attention once more to the topic of gender. They are sponsoring two Isle of Wight parents to take a primary school to tribunal over the fact the school abided by Equality legislation and showed acceptance to two transgender (or gender fluid) pupils.

The concerned parents claim they are not transphobic, whilst simultaneously describing how genitals define identity. They claim that they treat transgender people with compassion, but maintain that there is no place for them in primary school.

They deny that transgender children are vulnerable to bullying or discrimination, arguing instead that their own children are the ones who need protection from transgender classmates. They claim that acceptance of transgender pupils infringes their right to object to transgender pupils being educated alongside their children.

The media have gobbled this story up, relishing the well-worn 'debate' on whether transgender people have a right to exist, or a right to be shown respect or acceptance.

Unqualified transphobes are trotted out by the BBC and other broadcasters voicing their concern 'for the children' and quoting incorrect figures on the likelihood that transgender children will remain trans.

They ignore the growing evidence not only that young transgender children exist, but that acceptance and, for a very small number of children, social transition (changing clothes and pronouns) is critical for mental health and well-being.

LBC radio host James O Brien is a lone voice of reason in this debate – pointing out that if his child was desperately sad, he would go to the moon and back to support them in whatever they needed to be happy.

'Think of the children!' the transphobes clamour. 'There's no place for trans issues in primary school' they wail.

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Transgender children need acceptance for their mental health and wellbeingiStock

No place in primary school? In every primary school up and down the country there are children who are different in some way to their classmates. There's the child who's Muslim, the child who's black, the child who uses a wheelchair, the child whose parents are divorced, the child with autism, the child with glasses, the child who's fostered and yes, the child who is transgender.

Diversity exists across our society and diversity exists throughout our primary schools. Kids are born diverse. Primary school is exactly the age when children need to be shown that different doesn't equal wrong. That instead of being feared, difference should be accepted, embraced, celebrated.

Children are unfazed by diversity. It is parents who fear difference and perpetuate intolerance and hate. Schools can help us break this cycle of fear, teaching both parents and children to include, to accept, to love.

Transgender children exist. Transgender children attend primary schools. Transgender children need our support. Either we accept and embrace them as part of the rich and wonderful diversity in this world, or we reject, shun and shame them. I know which sounds like compassion to me.


Growing Up Trans is the father of a trans child and a transgender children supporter within the Mermaids UK organisation. You can follow Growing Up Trans on Twitter and read his blog.