On Friday 9th August, Breakout Youth submitted this letter to the Isle Of Wight Observer:
We are writing in response to the letter from J Rogers of Ryde, dated 2nd August, to present a balanced perspective on the issue of transgender pupils at Island schools.
Their concerns included the lack of independent sources of advice to parents or youngsters, and pressure being put on individuals to transition because it is presented that a failure to support trans people is transphobic. This is a point which will no doubt generate debate; however, facts about trans young people that are not debatable include (Youth Chances, 2014):
83% have experienced verbal abuse
35% have experienced physical assault
27% have attempted suicide, with 89% having considered doing so
72% have self-harmed at least once
Therefore, it is so important to offer support to children and young people who are questioning their gender identity or who identify as trans.
The writer’s suggestion of delaying transition rather than ‘changing immediately’ is generally the case – long waiting lists at the gender identity development service leave young people dealing with an array of concerns raised by this specific situation. It is during this time that specialised LGBTQ+ services such as Breakout Youth can offer crucial support to young people, both individually and in group settings.
We hope that by publishing our response to the original letter, the many more young people on the Island who are questioning their gender identity or who identify as trans will feel confident that there is an independent source of advice available to them.