My correspondence with Crowdfunder about Transgender Trend

My original email to Crowdfunder:

Hi there! I am really sorry to hear you have had complaints about “Let’s make ‘Transgender Trend Schools Resource Pack’ happen”. This pack advocates “watchful waiting” which is in line with practice at the NHS Tavistock and Portman Gender identity Service, the country’s leading provider of services to trans youth. The pack has been put together in collaboration with experts including teachers, child protection and welfare professionals and lawyers, and can in no way be described as “transphobic”. I hope you are able to allow the crowdfunder to continue. Best wishes, Rachel

Crowdfunder’s response to me:

1 Jun 2018, at 17:05, Katie from Crowdfunder <katie@crowdfunder.intercom-mail.com> wrote:

Hi there,

Thank you for taking the time to email regarding the project ‘Transgender Trend Schools Resource Pack’. We appreciate your feedback.

Crowdfunder’s mission is to tackle’s society’s challenges by making ideas happen. We are proud of our track record of helping thousands of projects, many of which are at the forefront of leading social change, to raise the money and support they need.

Crowdfunder receives up to 200 new project ideas a day from people all over the UK who want to see change in their communities. We welcome the debate and spotlight this puts on issues facing our society, but also fully understand our responsibility to ensure crowdfunding projects are acting within the law.

So far over 196 people have supported the Transgender Trend Schools Education Pack project. It’s raised over £4,840, with 69 supportive comments posted on its page.

However, due to an unprecedented number of complaints about the project, in line with our content guidelines and terms and conditions, we have decided suspended the project whilst we investigate the project further.

Best wishes,

Katie

My response to Crowdfunder:

Dear Katie

Thank you for your message. As you will have become aware, discussions about how best to support children with gender identity issues have become extremely fraught. The Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Development Service (https://tavistockandportman.nhs.uk/care-and-treatment/our-clinical-services/gender-identity-development-service-gids/) is the NHS’s leading unit working in this area and recommends a

“watchful waiting” approach with children with gender dysphoria. The “watchful waiting” approach recognises and acknowledges that in a very high proportion of such children their dysphoria is resolved by puberty, thus making treatment with hormones and other drugs, and genital surgery, unnecessary. The Transgender Trend pack for schools follows the “watchful waiting” approach, while also considering the importance of the welfare of other children in the school.

You may also be aware that some very active and vocal trans activists have worked hard to try and prevent any sort of debate about how best to support these children, preferring to promote an “affirmative” course of action rather than the “watchful waiting”. An “affirmative” course seems to be much more likely to lead to treatment with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and eventual genital surgery. These treatments are still very new, and largely untested, and the long-term effects of puberty blockers and hormones on the human body are unknown. What is known is that these treatments are very likely to cause infertility and an inability to enjoy a normal adult sex life.

As concerned parents and knowledgeable experts, Transgender Trend are hoping to provide a balanced and humane voice in the storm of controversy about how best to treat these troubled young people. I am sure none of us want to see children permanently harmed by drug regimes and surgery that are still, at this stage, experimental. Of course, there will always be some young people for whom hormone treatment and genital surgery is genuinely life-saving, but it seems likely that they will be the minority.

In order to try and understand the nature of the “unprecedented number of complaints” you have received, I have reviewed your Guidelines and Terms of Use. I note that the Guidelines say “Crowdfunder is not appropriate for: Offensive material – this means any hate speech or pornographic material. Crowdfunder holds the right to decide what is offensive” and that Section 1.1.2 (c) of the Terms of Use says “all content posted by you is lawful and not defamatory, abusive, threatening, harassing, obscene, discriminatory, or otherwise objectionable or embarrassing to any other person as determined by us in our sole discretion”.

I assume that the complaints have claimed that the Transgender Trend schools pack contains “hate speech”. A large number of the comments on social media about both the schools pack, and about the Transgender Trend network, have accused both the schools pack and the people in the network of “hate speech”. Many of these comments have also been libellous. I am sure that you will be examining these accusations of “hate speech” very carefully, alongside the actual content of the schools pack, to determine whether it contains anything that could be construed as “hate speech”.

Do please contact me if I can be of any further help.

Best wishes

Rachel

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