The number of children being referred to gender identity clinics in the U.K. has quadrupled in the past five years, statistics show, with even the youngest of children being encouraged to question their sex.
"It has become an industry, people are making a career out of encouraging children to question gender at an age when they need to be left to be children. When teachers raise these issues children can become confused or unhappy and traumatized by it," said Chris McGovern, a former adviser to the Department for Education, in an article for The Telegraph on Saturday.
The Telegraph said that statistics it obtained from the Gender Identity Development Service shows that 84 children aged between three and seven were referred to the clinic in 2016, while only 20 received such a referral in 2012/2013.
Moreover, the number of children under the age of four referred to gender clinics has also increased, from 36 in 2012/13 to 165 in 2016.
As a whole, there were 2,016 referrals for youngsters aged between three and 18 last year, which is more than six times the 314 referrals from 2012.
GIDS reportedly offers action plans for children following six months of psycho-social assessment by a clinician, which can lead to children who have started puberty being prescribed hormone blockers.
Youngsters over the age of 16 could also be given cross-sex hormones, designed to give them the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.
"In a sense we are imposing adult concerns on children. Schools feel under huge pressures to comply with a politically correct agenda," McGovern argued.
Dr. Joanna Williams, a university lecturer and author of the book Women vs Feminism, warned that over-promoting transgender issues can create confusion for children.
"Research suggests that just one percent of the population experience gender issues. Although the number of transgender children is small, it is growing rapidly," she told the Telegraph Festival of Education in June, warning that children are being forced to "unlearn" the difference between boys and girls.
"Children — encouraged by their experiences at school — are beginning to question their gender identity at ever younger ages," Williams continued, pointing out that some schools are now "encouraging even the youngest children to question whether they are really a boy or a girl."
Dr. Polly Carmichael, a leading NHS psychologist and director of GIDS, meanwhile, argued that it is "good" that schools are discussing such topics.
"It can never be negative if schools are being thoughtful and offering opportunities to discuss topical issues," Carmichael argued.
Michelle Cretella, M.D., president of the American College of Pediatricians, warned last week that pushing transgender ideology on young children is responsible for "large scale child abuse," however.
"Just a few short years ago, not many could have imagined a high-profile showdown over transgender men and women's access to single-sex bathrooms in North Carolina," Cretella wrote in a commentary for The Daily Signal.
"But transgender ideology is not just infecting our laws. It is intruding into the lives of the most innocent among us — children — and with the apparent growing support of the professional medical community," she added.