Checking out of a hospital with your newborn baby is a magical – if bleary – moment. I can scarcely remember signing the forms, let alone registering my daughter’s birth, but I’m sure I would have done a double take if I’d seen her described as “genderfluid”, “intersex”, “gender variant”, “third gender” or indeed “genderless”, rather than “female.”
Nevertheless, the parents of babies born within the past few weeks at either King’s College Hospital, Guy’s or St Thomas’ Hospital might want to check with their GPs that their offspring haven’t whimsically been classified as “astrogender” – a fluid gender identity that transitions from male to female to non-binary depending on the current configuration of the night sky – or indeed “aliengender” – “a gender that is an interpretation of a gender or genders from a nonhuman perspective” – by the midwives who were only given the option of selecting a baby’s gender identity, rather than sex, on the new NHS IT system that recently went live across several London teaching hospitals.
I’ve chosen two of the most absurd gender identities to make a point, but obviously this is no laughing matter. A baby’s discharge summaries contain vital health information about the birth, and form part of a patient’s permanent NHS health record that is shared with that child’s GP, health visitors and other hospitals in order to ensure the best post-natal care. So like the EPIC new computer system set to be rolled out by at least six more NHS trusts nationwide, this cock-up is state-of-the-art.
News that the technology will cost taxpayers £450m over the next 15 years is unlikely to diminish the anger prompted by the exposé in the Mail on Sunday. “We are talking about newborn and very young babies here,” said the anonymous whistle-blowing midwife working at two of these London hospitals. “What on earth has gender identity as a concept got to do with them? It’s ludicrous.”
Thanks to his or her bravery, NHS bosses have, at least, been forced to apologise for what they claim was a “system’s error” with the US-made technology – one they insist “is being rectified as quickly as possible”. But nobody’s buying their excuse.
How many years of preparation go into those systems? And given the NHS’s track record of removing the word “women” or “mother” from some health service wording, to cite just one example of wokery, this seems to be an awfully convenient computer glitch. Indeed, the whistleblower was keen to stress that a “climate of fear” reigns among midwives, with staff apparently still being encouraged to use terms like “birthing parent” and “chest-feeding”, despite previous backlashes.
All of this confirms my fear that when an ideology has been promoted for years, with anyone questioning it immediately silenced by that one word, “transphobic”, certain people and sectors will continue to push it, despite new guidance or even changes in the law.
Ministers may have vowed to clamp down on the wild west culture that was allowed to thrive at places such as the Tavistock clinic – to be closed in the wake of a devastating report detailing its reckless referrals of children for prescriptions of puberty blockers – but yesterday it emerged that the number of children has doubled since that pledge. Between July 2022 and today, we’re now told, at least 100 children – some as young as 12 – have been given the drugs.
As I’ve said before, this argument – and it beggars belief that “first do no harm” should even be argued – has got nothing to do with trans rights. The idea that anyone could argue against a community of people who simply want to be able to live according to whichever gender they identify with and be given full and equal rights also beggars belief. But we’re talking about children here. And in no civilised society do adults and children live by the same rules.
Have you ever heard anyone argue that 12-year-olds should be allowed to drive, marry, smoke, drink or get a tattoo? No. The word “underage” exists because until we reach a certain age when our brains are fully formed, we cannot possibly take full responsibility for our actions or understand the consequences. So what do the supposed safeguarding adults do in the interim? We take responsibility for children. We protect them from outside forces and themselves.
How sorely we’ve failed them. And never has there been a better illustration of this than when a bunch of adults, in single-minded pursuit of their own agenda, decided to slap labels on newborn babies.