WE as a mainstream society are very quick to dismiss the increasing focus on transgender individuals.

I was myself and very uneasy about all the recent publicity surrounding transgender teaching in schools and about the book by CJ Atkinson, “Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?”

Like many parents, and grandparents, I felt that over-emphasis on this to assist the few would simply confuse the majority of children. After all, these are growing children. Surely just coping with developing is difficult enough without chucking in the hand grenade of whether or not you’re in the right body?

I don’t like the idea of referring to anyone as “them” without breaking it down to a “him” or “her”. It’s almost as though we are denigrating an individual without giving the respect of personal identification.

However …… further thought, looking at what Atkinson actually says and the fact that Childline has been receiving an average of eight calls a day from children and adolescents about gender dysphoria (strong feelings that they are not the gender they appear to be) and general transgender issues, demands a broader opinion.

This number of calls to Childline on the subject is more than double the year before and, quite worryingly, callers complain of bullying. The playground is a very interesting microcosm of society at any time. So I’m afraid we can’t just dismiss this as a fad, a result of inclusive times or the latest sexual trend.

Once children start questioning anything, for whatever reason, we as adults have a duty of care to respond. It really doesn’t matter where this originates or whether we believe it or understand it.

It doesn’t matter how far from our own comfort zone all this is. It is a matter that needs addressing, if only by considering it rationally and giving the issue the respect it deserves.

If your child appeared to you troubled or unhappy, you would probably talk to them and try to get to the bottom of what was wrong. What is different about this dynamic if the subject is about their gender?

Like everything, if we as adults are not open to ideas and close conversation about it with our children, they will simply look elsewhere. To the playground, to other adults, to what is available on the internet. Surely it’s best for parents to try to give them genuine, authentic knowledge to help?