Gender Fluidity: Should It Be Taught At School? – Prof John Whitehall

Ideologies can create the inner identity of the recipient


From Luke’s Journal 2021 | Children of God | Vol.26 No.3

Photo by Ben Wicks – Unsplash

The Luke’s Journal editorial team is aware that this article has political implications and that, since publication, legislation may have changed nationally or in your state of residence and practice. Luke’s Journal advises that you contact your State chair if you have any questions or concerns regarding implications for your clinical practice.

An ideology may be defined as a system of ideas which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. The Bible extends these bases to include behaviour. Proverbs declares, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

Once formed, ideologies are usually disseminated by some process of education and (depending on the authority of the teacher, the attractiveness of its presentation, the stressed importance of its message, its repetition, and the vulnerability of the student) they can become internalised: contributing to, if not creating, the inner identity of the recipient. That inner identity is then expressed in behaviour. 

Historically, many ideologies have absorbed the hearts of human beings, some with positive effect, others with negative. One current ideology is known as ‘gender fluidity’.

What is gender fluidity?

Gender fluidity is a system of ideas that maintains there are no fixed entities as males and females: gender identity is a flexible phenomenon on a ‘rainbow’ between those entities; a product of the ‘heart’, not bound by chromosomes.

Proponents of this ideology claim it is not new. They argue that the current epidemic of children and adolescents seeking to change their gender represents the confluence of greater social acceptance of an established phenomenon, reinforced by developments in medical science that can facilitate external appearances of the opposite sex. 

“There are Human Rights declarations that seek to prohibit such experimentation, and the Bible warns of duty to protect ‘the widows and fatherless in distress’.”

Proponents argue that if the claims of the child or adolescent to ‘have been born in the wrong body’ are ‘persistent and insistent’, such identification should be ‘affirmed’ in a process that begins with social acceptance and may progress to blocking puberty with special drugs, then the administration of cross sex hormones, then surgical efforts to approximate the physical appearance of the desired gender. Obstruction to the process of ‘affirmation’ is condemned by proponents of gender fluidity as abuse. In Victoria, obstruction has recently been declared by parliament to be a criminal act worthy of up to 10 years in jail and the imposition of crippling fines.

What is the particular problem, right now?

The particular problem, right now, is that there are reports that the ideology of gender fluidity is being promoted in various ways in some schools and teacher training centres in NSW (and, in all likelihood, in other states). 

“…school children and adolescents report being taught that gender is not fixed… ”

Very cleverly, in ways crafted for various ages and presented by various authority figures, school children and adolescents report being taught that gender is not fixed; they may not be the boys or girls they were brought up to believe; though they may have ‘been born in the wrong body’ change is possible, and acceptable; that gender identity is from the ‘heart’ not the chromosomes. Teachers report being taught the need to identify children struggling with gender confusion, to discern and report parental obstruction, to accept and confer new names and pronouns (if necessary without informing the parents), and to accept the validity of self-identification with regard to toilets and dressing rooms, and participation in sporting events. 

Is there a response to the problem, right now? 

Right now, the ‘Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 (NSW)’, which seeks to ban the teaching of gender fluidity and associated practices in schools, is under consideration by the NSW Parliament. The Bill has been proposed by Mark Latham of the small One Nation party and will surely be defeated without support from members of the major parties. 

The Bill refers to international Human Rights agreements that stress the primacy of parental responsibility for ‘the development and formation of their children in relation to core values such as ethical and moral standards, social and political values and an understanding of personal identity, including in relation to gender and sexuality’. 

In light of this, the Bill not only seeks an official ban on the ideology, but insists on the ability of parents to monitor its application by their free and open access to all official and unofficial curricula and activities. Also, parents must not be ‘kept in the dark’ over transgendering behaviour in their children (such as collusion with teachers over the acceptance of new names and pronouns).

Photo by Cottonbro – Pexels

The Bill declares self-identification is not sufficient for access to toilets and dressing rooms, or to participation in competitive sports beyond year 7. And, parents should be free to remove their children from schools promoting gender fluidity. 

Of course, not every school in NSW is involved in gender fluidity promotion. However, the authors of the ‘Parental Rights Bill’ maintain that sufficient evidence has been presented to Parliament to warrant proscriptive legislation. Such evidence is summarised in the NSW Parliamentary Report 44, September 20211 (available on www. Perusal of that report also fails to reveal any evidence that gender fluidity is not being taught in schools. Those who reject the Bill seek to justify the teaching of the ideology of gender fluidity. They argue, essentially, that such teaching is necessary because it is ‘liberating’ for children struggling with gender identity, and ‘empathising’ for the rest.

A better understanding

Review of some of the epidemiological and clinical features of the current epidemic of gender fluidity may contribute to better understanding of the dangers of its promotion to the vulnerable in schools.2

  1. It is a relatively new phenomenon. For example, in 1985, Robert Kosky, chief psychiatrist in Western Australia reported on the phenomenon of the 8 childhood cases which had appeared in that state in the five years from 1975-1979.3 Now, a few cases are presenting to gender clinics in that state every week.
  2. No biological cause has been found. On the contrary, the phenomenon bears features of a ‘social contagion’: a psychological phenomenon inspired by teachings in schools, the internet, social media and by peers that is passed from one vulnerable group to the next, similar to the contagiousness of anorexia nervosa and youth suicide.
  3. Fortunately, almost all gender-confused children will revert to a gender identity congruent with chromosomes during puberty,4,5 combined with individual and family psychotherapy, with special care given for co-morbid mental disorder. There is no need for ‘affirmation’.
  4. Most gender-confused children have been diagnosed with associated mental disorders. Many studies reveal those disorders ante-dated the onset of the symptom of gender confusion.6,7,8 
  5. Most reports reveal a high prevalence of broken homes compounding mental stress in children with gender confusion. 
  6. While mental disorders and social upheaval predispose to self-harm, there is no evidence that gender dysphoria per se predisposes to suicide, despite the manipulative power of that claim.9,10
  7. On the contrary, transgendered adults have a rate of suicide of some 20 times higher than the general population,11,12 suggesting the best way to prevent suicide in gender confused young people is to help them to accept the determination of their chromosomes. 
  8. Hormonal ‘affirmation’ is not ‘safe and reversible’ as claimed. Laboratory studies of the effect of ‘puberty blockers’ reveal sustained brain damage in sheep and other animals, reflected in altered behaviour.13,14,15 Human studies on the cerebral effects of cross sex hormones reveal the brain of adult males administered oestrogens shrink at a rate 10 times faster than ageing, after only 4 months.16  Remember: cross sex hormones are often administered during the time of great brain development in adolescence and may be continued for life. 
  9. The inability of children and adolescents to give informed consent to such experimental procedures of life-long consequence has been recognised by the High Court in the UK and the practice is being restricted in Finland and Sweden.
  10. Though criminalised in Victoria, individual and family psychotherapy with appropriate care of co-morbid mental disorder has been shown to be an effective therapy.17


The Bill confronts a major problem in current society. The ideology of gender fluidity has gained much ground in a very short period. Scores of children and adolescents are now presenting, every year, to clinics in Australia that practice ‘affirmation’. 

If successful, the Parental Rights Bill will challenge, if not stop, the propagation of this ideology in schools. By contrast, its defeat will be interpreted as a ‘green light’ for more exposition. As a consequence, more children will become confused.

“…the Parental Rights Bill will challenge, if not stop, the propagation of this ideology in schools.”

Though no similar Act is being promoted in NSW (as yet), in Queensland, ACT and Victoria there is already legislation forbidding so called ‘Conversion Therapy’, thus mandating the delivery of gender confused children to clinics that practice hormonal ‘affirmation’. Parental and other counselling, prayer and psychotherapy are all forbidden. In Victoria, gaol sentences of up to 10 years may apply for anyone seeking to change or suppress someone’s ‘sexual orientation and behaviour’.18 Should such legislation be accepted in NSW, gender confused children will be recruited in schools and directed to special clinics by law. What must be done?

We cannot abandon children to the experimental19, 20 ideology of gender fluidity. There are Human Rights declarations that seek to prohibit such experimentation, and the Bible warns of duty to protect ‘the widows and fatherless in distress’. The Bible speaks of the ‘truth making you free’. Thus, in a secular sense, and while there is time, we must warn of the unscientific, experimental ideology of gender fluidity. For this we need wisdom, courage and endurance. There may be petitions supporting the Bill in the future. In the meantime, the process could be started by writing of your concerns to your local MP, or posting a copy of Luke’s Journal to local members of parliament in NSW, seeking their opinion.

Prof John Whitehall
Professor John Whitehall has been interested in the growing phenomenon of gender confusion in children since 2016. He has authored articles in Quadrant Magazine, submitted to enquiries and courts, criticising legislation mandating hormonal affirmation as an affront to human rights, particularly that of children to be free from experimentation. 


  1. NSW Parliamentary Report 44, September 2021.
  2. A detailed consideration of epidemiology, physiology and clinical features is available in Whitehall J “Children Transitioning’ in ‘Transgender: one shade of grey’. The legal consequences for man and woman, schools, sport, politics and democracy’. Wilkinson Publishing Company. Melbourne 2018.
  3. Kosky RJ. Gender disordered children: does inpatient treatment help? MJA 1987;146(11):565-569.
  4. Zucker KJ, Wood, H, Singh D and Bradley MD. A developmental, biophysical model for the treatment of children with gender identity disorder’. J Homosexuality 2012;59(3):369-397.
  5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth Edn. (DSM V) American Psychiatric Association. Washington. DC 2013. 
  6. Children and adolescents with gender identity disorder referred to a pediatric medical center. Speck NP, Edwards-Leeper L, Feldman HA et al. Children…center. Pediatrics 2012;129(3):418-425.
  7. Wallien MS ,Swaab H, Cohen-Kettenis PT. Psychiatric comorbidity among children with gender identity disorder. J Am Aacd Child Adol Psych 2007;46:1307-1314.
  8. Becerra-Culqui T, Liu Y, Nash R et al. Mental Health of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth Compared With Their Peers. Pediatrics 2018;242(5):3027-4854. DOI:10.1542/peds.2017-3845.
  9. Haas A, Eliason M, Mays V et al. Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations. J Homosex. 2011;58:10-51. DOI:10.1080/00918369.2011.534038
  10. Aitken M, VanderLaan DP, Wasserman L, Stojanovski S, Zucker KJ. Self-harm and suicidality in children referred for gender dysphoria. J Am Aacd Child Adol Psych 2016;55(b):513-520.
  11. De Cuypere, Elaut E, Heylens G et al. Long term follow up: psychosexual outcome of Belgian transsexuals after sex reassignment surgery. Sexologies 2006;15:126-133.
  12. Dhejne C, Lichtenstein P, Boman M et al. Long-term follow-up of transsexual persons undergoing se reassignment surgery: cohort study in Sweden. PLoS ONE 2011;6(2):e16885. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016885.
  13. Hough D, Bellingham M, Haraldsen IRH et al. A reduction in long-term spatial memory persists after discontinuation of peripubertal GnRH agonist treatment in sheep. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2017;77(1):1–8. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.11.029.
  14. Nuruddin S, Bruchhage M, Ropstad E et al. Effects of peripubertal gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist on brain development in sheep…a magnetic resonance imaging study. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2013;38(10):1994-2002. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.03.009.
  15. Nuruddin S, Krogenaes A, Brynildsrud OB et al. Peri-pubertal gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist treatment affects sex based gene expression of amygdala in sheep. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2013;38(12).3115-3127. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.09.011.
  16. Pol HE, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Van Haren NE et al. Changing your sex changes your brain: Influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure. Eur J Endocrinol 2006;155(1):S107–S111. DOI:10.1530/eje.1.02248.
  17. Zucker KJ, Wood, H, Singh D and Bradley MD. A developmental, biophysical model for the treatment of children with gender identity disorder’. J Homosexuality 2012;59(3):369-397.
  18. Victorian Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act February 2021.
  19. Chew D, Anderson J, Williams K et al. Hormonal Treatment in Young People with Gender Dysphoria: a systematic review. Pediatrics 2018;141(4). DOI:10.1542/peds.2017-3742.
  20. Schwartz D. Listening to children imagining gender: observing the inflation of an idea. J Homosexuality 2012;59(3):460-479.

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