Sunday, October 23, 2016
Judge orders boy, seven, to live with father after his mother raised him as her daughter and even registered him with his GP as a girl
Social workers let a mother raise her young son as a girl because they were in thrall to ‘transgender equality’.
The boy, who was made to wear a pink hairband, dresses and nail varnish, lived ‘entirely as a girl’.
He was registered as a girl with his doctor’s surgery and was referred to as ‘she’ in official documentation from the age of just four.
But despite the alarm being raised by officials and the boy’s father, council staff failed to intervene.
Details of the extraordinary case were revealed at the Family Court yesterday when a judge accused the boy’s social workers of naivety and professional arrogance.
The seven-year-old, who cannot be identified, has been removed from his mother’s care and is living with his father in the north of England.
He now regards himself as male and plays with toys such as Power Rangers. The judge, Mr Justice Hayden, said: ‘This is not a case about gender dysphoria, rather it is about a mother who has developed a belief structure which she has imposed upon her child.
‘I am bound to say that had the concerns [of school staff] been given the weight that they plainly should have, it is difficult to resist the conclusion the boy could have been spared a great deal of emotional harm.’
He added: ‘Transgender equality has received a great deal of attention in recent times. I believe that in this case the profile and sensitivity of the matters raised by the mother blinded a number of professionals from applying their training, skill, and, it has to be said, common sense.
‘They failed properly to investigate the mother’s assertions, in part I suspect, because they did not wish to appear to be challenging an emerging orthodoxy in such a high-profile issue.’
Last night, the council involved – it cannot be named – said an inquiry was under way into its handling of the case.
The boy’s 40-year-old mother had separated from her younger partner within 12 months of their son’s birth in 2009. The pair initially agreed to look after their son cooperatively.
But when the arrangement broke down in 2013 the father went to court to restore contact with his child.
By then the boy’s mother had started sending him to primary school wearing a pink headband and nail varnish. She told teachers her son was ‘gender non conforming’.
Social services received repeated warnings over the welfare of the child throughout 2013 and 2014, including a report that the mother was insisting her son was transgender.
She had reportedly claimed ‘that she was going to disappear with him and “they will never find [us]”.’
The woman had apparently reduced a teacher to tears during a confrontation in which she said the boy should be sent to a gender reassignment clinic. She also repeatedly claimed to police her son had been the victim of ‘hate crime’ due to his gender status.
Social workers failed to act despite concerns being raised by the school.
In May 2014, the council’s housing department also raised the alarm, saying that the mother was claiming her son had been diagnosed as transgender at the age of four.
Officials said the boy ‘looked dirty, had pen marks on his legs and was dressed as a girl’. No further action was taken because there were ‘no safeguarding concerns’. By August the clamour from the boy’s school, the NSPCC, a GP and the housing unit finally forced the council to act.
But a visit to the family by social workers ended with the remarks: ‘The assessment concluded that there was no evident concerns suggesting he was at immediate risk of harm.
‘The mother is very clear that she is supporting her son with whatever choices he makes and she presents with a good understanding of his needs. There were no concerns from the social worker regarding the mother’s approach to her son’s gender presentation. Upon completion of the assessment, no further action was taken by children’s services.’
The report noted that ‘despite there being a high number of referrals the concerns have not been substantiated and did not meet the threshold for further intervention’. Sitting at the Family Division of the High Court, Mr Justice Hayden demanded the head of children’s services undertake a thorough review to maintain confidence in its safeguarding policies.
The council had ‘moved into wholesale acceptance that the boy should be regarded as a girl,’ he said. ‘Once again, I make no apology for repeating the fact that he was still only four. There was no independent or supportive evidence that he identified as a girl at all, indeed there was a body of investigation that suggested the contrary.’
The mother told Mr Justice Hayden that her son had ‘expressed disdain for his penis’ and said she was absolutely convinced her son perceived himself as a girl.’
A psychologist told the court that the mother, a former mental health nurse, had become ‘locked into a rigid and unshakeable belief structure’ about her son’s gender in what was described as an ‘enmeshed relationship’.
A spokesman for the council said: ‘We take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously and accept the judge’s comments in relation to this case. There is very clear learning for the authority and other key agencies in this matter.
‘We have already begun to review our practice and involvement in this case so that lessons can be learned and shared.’
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Freedom of the press must not bend to blackmail
Next week an obscure quango will take a decision which could – at a stroke – undo 300 proud years of Press freedom in Britain.
You may never have heard of the Press Recognition Panel (PRP), but it has spent the last two years – and £2million of taxpayers' money – preparing to give official recognition to a self-appointed organisation called Impress, which claims to be a regulator of the Press, but is not supported by a single mainstream British newspaper.
What Impress does have, apart from the backing of a few minuscule publishers, is money – £3.8million of it, from multimillionaire motor-racing tycoon Max Mosley, who has been on a mission to 'reform' the British press ever since the revelation of his involvement in a sadomasochistic orgy with prostitutes.
And if, as Mr Mosley and the zealots of Hacked Off hope, Impress does gain recognition, it will set in place a system of State licensing which would be condemned without reservation by liberals in Britain were it imposed by a totalitarian regime.
The origins of all this are murky. In 2013, after the Leveson report, a deal was stitched up by those failed politicians Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, and Hacked Off. The result was the Royal Charter for Press regulation, under which the Press Recognition Panel operates – and an appalling piece of legislation called the Crime and Courts Act.
Once Impress is recognised by the PRP, any newspaper which does not sign up faces being punished by exemplary damages in libel actions. Far more insidiously, it can be forced to pay the other side's legal costs – which can run into millions – even if it WINS its case.
This would hand a blank cheque to anyone to sue any newspaper, however risible their case, knowing it won't cost them a penny. For many local newspapers, already under immense financial pressure, having to face such court actions will be the final straw.
Put simply, this is blackmail: sign up to the phoney State-endorsed regulator or face obliteration in the courts.
The great irony is that this onslaught comes when the Press has never been more tightly regulated.
The industry responded vigorously to Leveson, setting up a powerful watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, whose board has a majority of independent members, and which regularly requires newspapers to make front page corrections, most notably on behalf of the Queen. It has not applied for Royal Charter recognition because its members believe, quite rightly, that it is the back door to control by politicians.
Ipso's chairman, the eminent former Court of Appeal judge Sir Alan Moses, warned this week that the 'essence of our Press is that it cannot and should not be forced into doing anything it does not choose to do. If it acts under compulsion it is indeed doomed.'
It is not too late for that doom to be averted.
The board of the PRP could pause, and ask themselves whether recognition of a regulator bankrolled by the egregious Max Mosley was really what Leveson intended. The punitive costs regime can only be activated by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, who has yet to make a decision.
If this were happening in any other nation the panjandrums of liberal opinion would be in uproar. But far from it, they are plotting, in the House of Lords and elsewhere, to hijack Government legislation to force through the punitive costs regime.
Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson said: 'Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.'
Today that danger is perilously close. The Press cannot be free if it is forced – by an immoral piece of judicial blackmail – into a system of regulation devised and imposed by politicians.
Armed forces veterans are told not to visit First World War memorial in uniform because they would be 'promoting war'
Armed forces veterans were told not to visit a memorial in uniform because they were 'promoting war'.
Former soldiers were shocked when they were told by a volunteer at the 'Weeping Window' display at Caernarfon Castle in Wales, that wearing their berets was disrespectful.
Cadw, the Welsh government's historic monuments body, is now investigating the incident and has apologised for any offence caused at the World War One memorial.
Ex-2nd Battalion Light Infantryman Richard 'Taff' Evans, from the Comrades Association, said: 'There is a garden of remembrance also at the castle and we have been there since July 7.
'They were saying we can't go to the Weeping Window wearing our berets because we would be promoting war. In my eyes it's very, very silly because we are in a castle which has seen war through the ages.
'The purpose of the exhibition in my eyes as an ex-soldier is that it represents those soldiers who have fallen in war.
'Being an ex-soldier, having to remove my head-dress is disrespectful. I have actually been told by one person that I shouldn't be in uniform.
'It was one of the Cadw volunteers, a female, who turned around and told me that I shouldn't be up there (near Weeping Window installation) wearing uniform.'
Thousands of people have been to see the exhibition of the ceramic red poppies in memory of those who died during the 1914-18 conflict.
The Weeping Window is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ by artist Paul Cummins, which was originally on show at the Tower of London 2014.
In a joint statement they said: 'We are deeply concerned at reports that some former soldiers visiting the Weeping Window artwork at Caernarfon Castle over recent days, may have been given the impression that wearing military uniforms around it was in some way discouraged.
'This is absolutely not our policy. We strongly regret if this impression has been given, and apologise unreservedly to any visitors who may have felt this.
'We are investigating how this may have come about. The artwork is designed to commemorate the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for peace and freedom, and no one would seek to place any conditions on those attending.
'We hope that as many former and serving servicemen and women as possible will visit the work between now and November 20 - and they will be warmly welcomed.'
In which I learn from "Shelter" that my flat [apartment] is unacceptable
I have a lot of time for Shelter’s policy team, because apart from basically being in agreement with them about the evils of strict planning policies I think of them as being smart, open-minded people who are happy to debate with their opponents in good faith.
I’m not sure about their most recent report, though, which purports to show that four in ten homes in Britain don’t meet ‘acceptable’ standards. It’s not to suggest that the housing situation in Britain is all roses to question a few of the things they think are essential to living well.
Most of the 'essential attributes' are indeed pretty bog-standard – a house should have a toilet and a shower or a bath, should have plug sockets and not be easy to break into, etc. But some are dubious.
"There is enough space for all members of the household to comfortably spend time together in the same room" is important for families but not for co-habiting young people. I know lots of people who’ve had the option of a flat with a sitting room but have chosen one without, because the rent is cheaper and/or the bedrooms are bigger for the same price.
"The household has enough control over how long they can live in the home" – does this preclude assured shorthold tenancies of 12 months? I don’t know – the data is not available without emailing Shelter to ask (more on that below) – but if so pretty much every flat I’ve lived in since leaving university, even the decent ones, fails the test.
"There is enough space to allow all members of the household to have privacy, for example when they wish to be alone" – I shared a bedroom with my brother growing up, so I guess none of my childhood homes meet this standard. Well, OK, I thought they were fine. (These criteria are sometimes contradictory, because another point suggests that it’s OK for kids to share rooms.)
In many respects rental properties used by young professionals cannot hope to win. For example, to qualify as ‘acceptable’ one of these three must be satisfied: being allowed to redecorate the home (repainting the walls, etc), being allowed to have a pet, or being assured of being there for long enough to 'participate in the local community'. None of those three apply to my current flat, which I quite like and certainly do not think is an unacceptable place to live.
Remember: failing any one of these criteria would make a home fail the 'Living Home Standard'. And there are places that could fail or pass on the sole question of whether you're allowed to keep a pet hamster in your bedroom.
If I was raising a family then I would feel differently about many of these, but the point is that lots of people are not raising families. If four out of ten flats are ‘unacceptable’ by these criteria but most of those are inhabited by people who have no need for pets or redecoration, or even long-term security in that flat, then the problem is less than is suggested.
I don't need space for a dog, I don't want to redecorate, I don't care about making friends with my community. But because my flat doesn't allow me to do these things, it fails the Shelter test. How many other people are living in flats that have failed and don't care either?
I’m also a little bit annoyed because the actual data, the polling evidence that tells us how many homes are ‘unacceptable’ by Shelter’s standards, isn’t available except if you email Shelter’s public affairs team to ask.
That’s not how it should work: as I’ve written before, we cannot trust journalists to scrutinise academic or think tank research properly, and if we can’t do that ourselves conveniently we shouldn’t trust the work at all. It’s extremely bad form of the BBC to report on unpublished data like this, and bad form of Shelter and Ipsos MORI not to publish it so that ordinary Joes like me can read it without asking for permission.
I could of course make the argument that the real problem is people being on low incomes, and the solution is not to pass regulations that, in effect, force them to spend more money on housing that Shelter approves of, but to make them richer by cutting their taxes, by growing the economy, by giving them cash transfers, by cutting the costs of other expenditures like energy and childcare, or by relaxing planning laws so that land is cheaper. All of this is true but almost beside the point if Shelter's unacceptable homes include places that people are perfectly happy with regardless of their income.
To which you might say, why question this? We know the planning system makes things worse. But we don’t need to make flimsy arguments based on secret data to make this case, and doing so makes us all look bad
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.