Yet, despite all the attempts to curtail debate, common sense has – on occasion – won out in 2019. Two major BBC programmes, Newsnight and Radio 4’s File on 4, reported on the experiences of people who detransition, as well as raising serious questions about the treatment of children who question their gender identity and the dangers of doctors prescribing puberty-blocker hormones. Parents raised concerns about changes to school sex and relationships classes that will mean very young children are taught that gender is how they think and feel. To challenge this, author Rachel Rooney has written an excellent book, My Body is Me, which aims to teach children to be comfortable with their bodies as they are, rather than looking to change their bodies to bring them in line with their brains. Inevitably, this benign message has been labelled ‘anti‑trans extremism’. Elsewhere, the High Court ruled that a woman who gave birth could not be named as the father on her child’s birth certificate despite having transitioned to a man post-partum.
In 2020, we need to hold police chiefs, medical professionals, MPs and education policymakers to account for the impact of decisions they make around gender. They must not be allowed to hide behind the moral shield of the over-exposed voice of the transgender community. Thankfully, as the election showed, those unable to define what makes someone a man or a woman, or who feel the need to declare their pronouns in public, are seriously out of kilter with the rest of society. Let’s hope we hear a lot less from them next year.