Tory MP Miriam Cates launches sinister and misleading attack on LGBT+ charities in House of Commons

Miriam Cates MP

Tory MP Miriam Cates has accused LGBT+ charities Stonewall and Mermaids of teaching children “dangerous and contested extreme ideologies” in schools.

The Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge spoke in the House of Commons on Tuesday (9 November) to address proposals for paid counsellors to be introduced in all schools.

While she welcomed the idea in principle, Cates raised concern that this could open the door for “unqualified” counsellors to offer LGBT-inclusive services.

“I do want to raise what I think is a very dangerous potential safeguarding issue that we are seeing in this area right now, where schools are inviting outside organisations into schools to provide counselling-type services and using their materials, groups like Stonewall and Mermaids, who are teaching what I think are dangerous and contested extreme ideologies that don’t have a basis in science to our children, and it is contrary to Department for Education guidance,” she said.

Cates cited a 2017 DfE survey which found that only 47 per cent of schools which employed counsellors had hired people who were registered with a professional body, and suggested that LGBT+ groups were unqualified to offer counselling services.

“We’ve got groups like the Allsorts Youth Project who are teaching children that there are more than two sexes, the Diversity Role Models group, who come into schools to provide workshops but tell children that their sex has been assigned to them at birth,” she said.

“I’ve seen a video today by the free to be group, telling teachers that they might drive children to suicide if they don’t accept this ideology.”

Neither Diversity Role Models nor Allsorts Youth Project offer counselling. Diversity Role Models says its school workshops are developed in collaboration with leading educators and inclusion experts and “delivered by a highly qualified facilitator”.

Allsorts Youth Project assures that all its staff, volunteers and trustees receive Safeguarding Adults and Child Protection training, which is refreshed every two years.

Miriam Cates again singled out Stonewall, which also does not provide counselling, accusing the charity of “wrongly interpreting the Equality Act in a way that erodes sex-based rights”. She claimed this “ideology” has “terrible consequences” on children.

She then strayed from the subject of counsellors as she launched into an attack on the Tavistock gender identity development service and its provision of puberty blockers.

Cates complained that the majority of children prescribed puberty blockers are then given hormone therapy, but this course of treatment is not offered to under-16s.

“These are children who will become infertile, sterile, have permanent loss of sexual function,” she claimed. “How can a 12, 13, 14-year-old consent to that?”

A recent high court ruling found that trans youth are perfectly capable of consenting to puberty blockers, which are an internationally recognised best-practice treatment for gender dysphoria in young people.

The medication is “well studied, safe and completely reversible” and simply delays puberty until a trans teenager is old enough to make decisions about having gender-affirming medical treatment.

But Miriam Cates said this treatment represents a dangerous “agenda” being pushed in schools, and that trans-inclusive teaching goes against DfE guidance. She added that ministers had already agreed to meet with her to discuss her concerns.

Her comments come after the government compared gender-affirming treatment to conversion therapy in a consultation document for a long-awaited conversion therapy ban.

“It is vitally important that no person is forced or coerced into conversion therapy, and that young people are supported in exploring their identity without being encouraged towards one particular path,” the document reads.

“This is especially the case for those who are under 18 and where this might result in an irreversible decision.”

The proposals suggest that people can be “converted” into being transgender, and could potentially make it illegal to help a child seeking to transition.