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Open Letter To Minister Of Education: Mischief-Making By The Mental Health Foundation

“The Mental Health Foundation’s open letter to the Minister of Education is unnecessary at best and mischief-making at worst,” says Fern Hickson, the spokesperson for Resist Gender Education.

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is asking the public to sign an open letter to the Minister of Education, opposing the removal of the relationships and sexuality education (RSE) guidelines in schools and kura.

“The open letter deliberately misleads the public about the coalition policy,” says Hickson. “The coalition agreement was for “the removal and replacement of the gender, sexuality, and relationship-based education guidelines” but the MHF open letter ignores the word ‘replacement’ and creates an unwarranted fear that the government is planning to withdraw RSE altogether from schools.”

Minister Stanford confirmed the government’s position in a news report when the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) announced its campaign. “I emphasise the agreement to replace,” she said, adding that the current guidelines had important content she wished to keep.

The coalition government’s policy is unequivocally supported by the recently-released Cass Review1 in the UK into gender identity services for children and young people. The Review was chaired by eminent paediatrician, Dr Hilary Cass, whose team spent four years investigating the international evidence for how best to treat gender-distress in children and found “remarkably weak evidence” for current practices, including those in schools.

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“The MHF’s open letter disregards this comprehensive and compelling report,” says Hickson. “Meanwhile, InsideOUT and PATHA (the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa) have denounced the Cass Report within two days of its release, giving the impression that rather than critically examining the evidence they are immune to even considering it.”

Remarks made in media interviews by the MHF’s CEO, Shaun Robertson, imply that the views of the MHF, PATHA, and InsideOUT represent the moral high ground and that parents in general are ignorant and not entitled to have a say in their children’s education. “This view is wrong and insulting,” says Hickson. “Of course, it is a young person’s right to be equipped for life, but it is equally the right of parents to be able to trust that schools are teaching children scientifically factual information, not ideological beliefs.”

In response to the Cass Review, The UK Health Secretary, Victoria Adams, said in a statement to Parliament2, “This Review strikes hard and strikes sure at an area of public policy where fashionable cultural values have overtaken evidence, safety, and biological reality. This must now stop.”

“Resist Gender Education echoes the UK Health Secretary’s demand. The teaching of gender identity beliefs in New Zealand schools must stop now,” says Hickson.

Resist Gender Education3, a group that advocates for scientifically accurate and age-appropriate RSE, has launched its own open letter to the Minister of Education urging her to promptly rewrite the 2020 RSE Guide to remove all the discredited gender identity material with which it is riddled. The public is invited to sign this letter to demonstrate to the Minister that it is not just a “small number of highly conservative people”, as the MHF claims, who are alarmed by the unscientific content of the Guide.

Hickson adds, “Our open letter also asks the Minister to remove the tag of “trusted organisation” from InsideOUT and any other organisations that dogmatically continue to support the Guide despite the irrefutable evidence from Dr Cass that the wishful thinking it promotes is harmful to children.”




Read the letter here:

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