James Esses has written an excellent piece in the Spectator in a genre I call ‘shocking but not surprising’ about his time as a volunteer at the counselling service, Childline. Esses claims that, after five years , his contract was terminated for ideological reasons. Here is an extract:
Over time, I began to notice a change in the presentation of children coming through to speak to me. Increasing numbers of children were telling me that they were ‘trans’; that they felt trapped in the wrong body. These children were also becoming younger and younger.
Some of the foundational principles of counselling include exploration, neutrality and not going into the conversation with a pre-determined outcome. However, I noticed that gender ideology was becoming more prevalent within Childline. I believed this was in breach of the core therapeutic ethics of the charity.
It became clear that Childline were collaborating more closely with Stonewall. The first time I became aware of this was when I attended a shift and noticed that there were Stonewall posters plastered throughout the counselling room. They read: “Some People Are Trans; Get Over It.” This immediately raised red flags for me, especially given safeguarding concerns that have emerged regarding Stonewall. Examples of this include Stonewall’s statement that toddlers can “recognise their trans identity”, recommending the book Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl (which suggests that children can be trapped in the wrong body) for two-year-olds, as well as glorifying double mastectomies in their Christmas cards. Stonewall’s CEO, Nancy Kelley, has even previously compared ‘gender critical’ beliefs (that sex is binary and immutable) to anti-Semitism.
I raised my concerns with senior management within the organisation at numerous meetings and even submitted a briefing document. I assumed that I would be listened to, especially given the significant implications for the welfare of vulnerable children. My concerns were acknowledged but ultimately ignored, with no action taken.
Esses goes on to explain how he was cancelled because his ethical concerns went against the charity’s new-found ideology.
Around the same time, I had started to speak out publicly about my concerns regarding gender ideology and the risk of harm to children. Childline sought to limit my free speech from the outset by requiring me not to refer to the fact that I was a Childline counsellor in any of my advocacy.
When I requested them to re-consider their position in the interests of transparency, I found myself invited to a meeting with the head of Childline. At this meeting, I was informed, without so much as having a conversation, that my volunteering with Childline was being terminated with immediate effect and that I should not come in for my next shift. I appealed the decision, which was swiftly rejected, even though it was found that there had been numerous policy breaches relating to how my complaint was initially handled.
The fact that Childline terminated my contract after five years of service, without a single concern regarding the standards or ethics of my counselling, made it clear to me that this decision was based on ideology.
Worth reading in full.