Email the following letter to the Principal and Board of Management, CCing your local TDs, councillors etc
XX October 2023
RE: BelongTo “Quality” Mark Programme & BelongTo Weeklong November “Stand UP” in school campaigns.
I/we refer to the letter issued by BelongTo on or about the 27th of April 2023 seeking applications from secondary schools in Ireland to apply for its Quality Mark Initiative 2023 – 2024. I/we further note the BelongTo weeklong campaign “Stand Up” (6 – 10 November this year) will run in various secondary schools throughout Ireland. I/we write to advise you of my/our strenuous objection to such application for the quality mark and the participation in Stand Up week by XX school, where as you are aware, my/our daughter(s)/son(s) attends.
It is of course very important that ALL students, including those from minority groups, are supported and should feel safe in the school environment and bullying of any kind should never be tolerated. However, it is also important that all students should be treated equally. To elevate the status of one particular minority group over and above any other, leads to favourable treatment and inequality. I/we believe this is the effect a quality mark such as the one proposed by BelongTo and Stand Up week would have.
I/we have serious reservations about the motivations and influences of BelongTo, who are not a homegrown grassroots organisation, as they would have us believe. They are a large corporate NGO with significant funds available to them. BelongTo receive a large amount of government funding as well as funding from a long list of large corporations. BelongTo’s own end of year report for 2022 shows that they received €811,285 of tax payers money and had €1.3 million at the end of the year1. They are a powerful activist lobby group who have considerable influence over government departments, politicians, teaching bodies and unions, schools and youth organisations.
Their motivation seems to be to ensure that transgender ideology pervades our education system and the lives of children in this country and is taught to children as fact. This is an ideology that is not science based and is not accepted by most parents of children in Irish schools and has the potential to cause confusion and harm to vulnerable teenagers. NGOs such as BelongTo and TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) seems to have a strong foothold in the curriculum in Irish schools, with considerable influence over the department of education, the NCCA and teaching unions and open access to schools, teachers and students.
BelongTo “Quality” Mark Programme
The BelongTo quality mark programme requires a school to work for an entire 18 months to obtain a quality mark. This is an extraordinary long period of time. Accreditation requires a “whole school approach”. So no part of the school would be left untouched by this process. Access to the whole school by BelongTo would of course be a necessary part of the programme. Would all parents be notified and their prior consent obtained? I/we would argue that it is entirely inappropriate for an outside activist group with a specific agenda and no expertise in education, to judge the quality of a secondary school. In addition, this accreditation process incurs a cost to each school of €845, at a time when schools are struggling to keep the lights and heat on. As stated, BelongTo is an extremely well-funded NGO. It would appear that the finances of BelongTo are much healthier than those of our Irish schools, and as such it is shocking that schools are charged an exorbitant fee to participate in this accreditation process. Chasing a “quality mark” with an 18-month commitment will only serve to further misdirect precious time, resouces, finances and attention away from the education of our children so that they may go into the world as productive, literate educated adults.
Weeklong BelongTo Campaign In Our Irish Secondary Schools this November
There are schools in Ireland devoting an entire week in November to BelongTo messaging. Students should be taught that every student is cherished and must be respected. That bullying for any reason, will not be tolerated. Devoting an entire week to one small group tells the students that in fact we are not all the same, some people are to get extra attention, love and respect. Very worryingly, this sets the scene for social contagion. Gender dysphoria, which once affected an exceedingly small percentage of children has in very recent years skyrocketed in numbers.
If young children, especially those just fresh from primary school, aged 12 and 13, are suddenly learning over an entire week that one particular group is to get special attention, this will lead to not equal status for that group but a celebrated and elevated status. First years only have a month in their new secondary school before they are hit with an intensive weeklong BelongTo campaign which could be seen as a recruitment week.
Who Is Belongto?
BelongTo Youth Service has appointed itself “the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland” according to its website. They claim to work with children and young people aged between 14 and 23. This is a legally and morally troubling age group to target on matters of a sexual nature, as it encompasses both minor children and adults.
Presumably, the minimum age was set at 14 taking an informed view that the services are not appropriate for children under 14. Despite its own self-imposed age minimum of 14, BelongTo has for years sought access to Irish children aged 12 and 13 attending secondary schools, with its programmes, services and content and has been granted same. Why has no school which has invited BelongTo in ever questioned this obvious discrepancy?
BelongTo’s website provides contact details for adult sexual information services for their 14 to 23 year old target audience, Gay Health Network (“publishes and distributes HIV and safer sex information for men who have sex with men (MSM) …”) and Man2Man (“a comprehensive sexual health information for men who have sex with men”). Why are minor children aged 14 to 17 being directed to adult sexual information services by BelongTo? Do our gay children not require shielding from adult sexual content in the same manner that our heterosexual children do? An organisation that focusses on sexual issues and claims to represent both minor children below the age of consent and adults is in truly murky waters. Are minor children separated in BelongTo’s “youth” groups, to ensure that they are not being asked to discuss sexual matters in front of adults and are not exposed to those adults talking about the same? Does BelongTo consider it safe for a 23-year-old man to be in a youth group discussing sexual matters with a 14-year-old boy or girl?
I/we refer to a testimony from a young person who attended BelongTo youth groups which states that most of the teens attending the groups start off identifying as gay, but by the 3rd or 4th meeting, the majority of those teenagers begin to identify as transgender. This testimony makes shocking reading and illuminates BelongTo as an organisation who rather than supporting gay teenagers to be comfortable with who they are, convinces them they should change their gender. This could be seen as a form of conversion therapy. In a tweet posting this testimony, Irish Senator G. Craughwell stated that he will be contacting the police and that he wants a full investigation into BelongTo2. I/we also include a link to an interview in the Irish Independent, with a young Lesbian who describes her own disturbing experiences at a BelongTo youth group.3
This begs the question, is BelongTo really supporting gay, lesbian and bisexual children and people at all? Or is this group simply a front for a transexual organisation, drawing in young and vulnerable gay teenagers and young people and converting them to be transgender?
BelongTo As Teacher Trainers”?
BelongTo engage in “teacher training” in Ireland. Here is an excerpt from a training manual4, whereby they shockingly advise teachers and youth workers to lie to parents about children who have disclosed that they are transgender:
It is immoral and unethical to lie to parents about their children. Our children are not “our young person” but minor children for whom we the parents are the primary carers and educators under the law. Gender Dysphoria is a medical condition and not one that legally may be kept hidden from a child’s parent. To suggest that a child could be unsafe or at risk of “harm” from their family if their parents and legal guardians, are advised of their condition is very divisive. If any child is at actual risk of harm then this is a separate child protection issue and should be reported to Tusla, as all teachers, who have child protection training, will know. However, this insinuation appears to be a sinister attempt by BelongTo to justify transitioning vulnerable and confused children behind their parents’ backs and without proper medical advice. If schools, teachers and principals go along with this secrecy, they will be complicit. A trusting relationship between parents and teachers in schools is very important. An organisation that trains teachers to lie to parents should not be allowed near schools nor children. No school should seek the approval of such an organisation.
BelongTo Does Not Have Medical License To Dispense Medical Advice.
BelongTo appears to dispense medical and psychological advice to children and to schools, without a medical license to do so. Gender Dysphoria is not a sexual orientation but a recognised psychiatric condition. Demand for total and unwavering affirmation of this condition is an ideology and not one supported by many in the medical field. Failure to respect gender dysphoria as a psychological condition is dangerous. However, BelongTo appears to be motivated to turn Irish children into lifelong transgender medical patients, with serious medical consequences, including irreversible hormone therapy which can have serious side effects, horrific genital mutilation, mastectomy and sterilisation.
On the issue of transgenderism, schools must remain neutral and insist that proper licensed clinical advice is sought for each individual child suffering from gender dysphoria, not the general advice of an advocacy group pushing a particular radical agenda with a one size fits all prescription for Irish children. Our youth deserve better than that.
Licensed And Experienced Clinicians Speaking Out Against Radical Activist Led Organisations
On the 24th of September 2023, Donal O’Shea, the HSE clinical lead for obesity who also works as an endocrinologist with the National Gender Service, has come out against the establishment of a “activist-led” transgender service and calls it dangerous5. Following an investigation into the notorious Tavistock clinic by Dr Hilary Cass6, the NHS have recommended a move away from medicalised ‘gender affirmative health care’ such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery, in favour of a more holistic psychological approach for children with gender dysphoria. Many other European countries, have made similar moves, recognising the harm that can be done to children who are rushed into medical treatment programs. Despite this, activist lobby groups such as BelongTo and TENI are pushing for ‘gender affirmative health care’ to be widely available to children in Ireland, against the advice of expert clinicians such as Dr O’Shea7.
It is worth noting that the HSE National Gender Service published details last year that up to 90% of people attending the NGS are autistic. They also confirmed that many of those attending the services suffer from depression, low mood or anxiety. These are individuals with complex psychological needs. They are the last children who should be targeted by activist groups in order to further their agenda. They are the last children whose parents should be kept in the dark about their child’s state of mind.
Social contagion was referred to by the Cass report as an important factor in the massively increased numbers of children who were referred to the Tavistock clinic with gender dysphoria in recent years. The constant promotion of transgender ideology in schools will only compound this social contagion as more children will start to question their gender and being transgender becomes increasingly fashionable, with transgender students receiving special treatment and kudos.
While gender dysphoria is a recognised condition, many teenagers suffer from lack of confidence and poor self-image. Surely, we should be supporting them to be happy in themselves and to feel comfortable in the bodies they were born in, before suggesting that something as drastic as changing their gender will solve all their problems. The Cass report states categorically that social transition, including changing names and pro-nouns, is not a neutral act but a form of intervention which should not be undertaken lightly and only ever under the supervision of a clinical expert. Activist groups and teachers are not clinical experts.
Suicide Myth Is Exposed; Suicide Rate Increases Post Surgery
The lie that has kept groups like BelongTo and gender affirmative health care clinics in business is that if confused and vulnerable children aren’t allowed to take irreversible and damaging cross sex hormones and puberty blockers and then allowed to surgically mutilate and sterilise their perfect young bodies, they are more likely to kill themselves. Despite the fact that this lie has been shown to be based on one piece of unreliable research8, terrified parents are still routinely asked, “would you prefer a dead daughter or a live son”. In fact, transgender people who have transitioned have been shown in a long-term follow-up Swedish study to have a 19 x higher rate of suicide than matched controls9.
Studies have also shown that the majority of children and young people will, in fact, grow out of gender dysphoria10. Very concerning is the increasing number of young people, often referred to as detransitioners, who regret medically transitioning and seek to reverse these procedures. More of these brave young people are now speaking out about how they were rushed into making these permanent life changing decisions at a very young age when they were not able to fully understand the consequences. Their stories are very distressing. Of course, breasts cannot be grown back and some of the effects of hormone therapy are also permanent. They are also speaking out about some of the horrible side effects that they suffered as a result of medical procedures and therapy11. Ironically, these young people are often shunned and vilified by the transgender community who was so supportive of them through the process of transitioning. BelongTo offers no support for these individuals.
Pending a full investigation into all the above matters I/we request that your school cease any involvement with BelongTo. Please respond promptly to this communication to acknowledge receipt of this letter and confirm that your school will cease engagement with BelongTo, in light of the serious matters highlighted above. In the eventuality that you continue your engagement with BelongTo, I/we request a full risk assessment in relation to all the child endangerment issues noted above and in particular in relation to Stand Up Week and the BelongTo Quality Mark.
I/We would also like to remind you that in accordance with section 9 (d) of the Education Act 1998, a school is obliged to:
(d) promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them, in consultation with their parents, having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school, (emphasis added)
Any outside body such as Belong To who will have influence over the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students in XX school should therefore only ever be engaged following full consultation with parents, who in this instance should be party to all of the information included in this letter.
Below is the email that was sent to all Secondary Schools and the Press Release: