When Horses Can be Dogs: Swedish Book for Toddlers Promotes Transgender Lifestyles
This is the time when children need to affirm their identities as to who they are, says UKIP spokesman David Kurten. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, says half of transgender children in the UK have attempted suicide.
A book published in Sweden for toddlers and preschoolers depicting a transgender man who wears women's clothes and lipstick, as well as a horse who believes it's a dog, has sparked mixed reactions.
RT discussed the book and transgender issues with Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, and David Kurten, UKIP London Assembly member, and UKIP spokesman
RT: David what's not to love about a book like this? Isn’t it preparing children for the richly diverse world we live in with all sorts of people, minority groups? And this is one of the minority groups, isn’t it?
David Kurten: It is a minority group. When you’re an adult, when you’re over 18 you’re entitled to do what you want in the privacy in your own home, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. But propagandizing this kind of thing to children, you can damage them and their natural development as boys and girls. Nature is binary; nature creates male and female – there are boys and girls. And we hear, as well as the book, moves to try to ban the words: boys and girls, men and women, mothers and fathers in primary education. This is the time when children really need to be affirmed in their identities as to who they are. This is something that is far too much, too young, it is going to confuse people.
Children are imaginative. They play. They pretend to be all kinds of things. They pretend to be footballers; they pretend to be aliens, spacemen, unicorns. They maybe pretend to be men and women as well. But you have to separate imagination in play from objective scientific fact. And the fact is that your gender or your biological sex is defined by your anatomy and by your chromosomes. That is the science that we need to be making sure that children know, and the science that we need to be teaching children.
RT: Peter, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think this is too much emphasis on those minority groups?
Peter Tatchell: Transgender people exist in every society and have done all throughout history. When there have been scientific studies of animal species, transgenderism has also been found in non-human animals. So it is part of a natural spectrum of life for all animal species – human and non-human. This book is not about promoting or encouraging transgenderism; it is about trying to affirm young people who don’t feel they fall neatly into the male-female roles and trying to tackle bullying and prejudice.
We know that in Britain, for example, nearly half of all young transgender people have attempted suicide. Nearly half! That is a shocking statistic. We need to try and reduce that. Not just in Britain, but in every country. Any book like this one that seeks to promote understanding and respect for people who are different that is fantastic, because we want to live in a kind, gentle and compassionate society.