Canada’s state broadcaster has pulled a scientific documentary on transgender children, in a “staggering act of cowardice.”
The controversial documentary first aired on BBC Two in the United Kingdom in January, presenting myriad different views from experts and parents whose children are diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Gender dysphoria is classified as a mental illness by the World Health Organization, and a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
The documentary, titled Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best, offers a balanced look at the rising trend of transgenderism in children, and ties gender dysphoria to autism. It was set for broadcast this week in Canada as part of the BBC’s partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Kenneth Zucker, a leading figure in the field of sexual psychology, who is featured in the documentary, argues that most children who suffer from gender dysphoria eventually overcome the sensation that they were born into the “wrong body.”
“It is possible that kids who have a tendency to get obsessed or fixated on something may latch on to gender. Just because kids are saying something doesn’t necessarily mean you accept it, or that it’s true, or that it could be in the best interests of the child,” says Zucker, who is a professor at the University of Toronto.
He added: “A four-year-old might say that he’s a dog – do you go out and buy dog food?”
With transgender rates skyrocketing, scientists are finding convincing links between autism and gender dysphoria. In the United Kingdom, the number of children under 11 diagnosed with gender dysphoria has quadrupled between 2009-2010 to 2014-2015. The figure even includes children under the age of five.
A 2016 study published in the scientific journal LGBT Health found a growing body of “evidence supporting increased prevalence of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in gender dysphoric children.” The study follows a 2010 Dutch study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, which found that the incidence of ASD among children referred to a gender identity clinic was ten times higher than in the general population.
A 2014 study led by John Strang for the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. found an “over-representation of autism spectrum disorders and behavioral difficulties among people referred for gender issues.” Participants with ASD in the study were 7.59 times more likely to express gender variance.
The documentary received a barrage of complaints from transgender activists who insist that it gives viewers the wrong impression that children could be “cured” of gender dysphoria.
British medical experts from NHS England, the U.K. Council for Psychotherapy, the Royal College of General Practitioners, and various other organizations disavowed the documentary in a memorandum condemning it.
Complaints sent in by Trans Media Watch to the BBC were dismissed following an investigation. The documentary “explained the controversy with due accuracy and with due weight given to both sides of the argument,” according to the BBC Trust.
The documentary was pulled from the network just hours before it was set to air, with a short notice from CBC, which stated:
“In light of our own further review of the doc, coupled with the audience reaction we’re seeing today, we have decided not to air Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best.
We think that there are other docs that better offer insight into the realities of the transgender community and we look forward to airing those in the future.”
The executive producer of the documentary, Sam Bagnall, believes that the network’s decision to pull it was the result of political interference. Posting on Twitter, he questioned why the network even bothered to schedule the film in the first place.
“Shame on @cbcdocs for censoring a film airing parents’ and clinicians’ concerns about the treatment of kids with gender dysphoria. You have been captured by a single issue pressure group,” he wrote.
University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson called the CBC’s decision a “staggering act of cowardice.”
Photograph courtesy of Tim Everson.
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