The number of children, some as young as six, being referred under the guidance promoting transsexualism at schools after they express confusion over their "gender identity" has reached a record high in Scotland, according to a report.
As many as 222 children were referred to specialist services last year, a 21 percent increase since the previous year, according to The Christian Institute, which said a report by the Scottish Public Health Network reveals that children as young as six had been referred.
The average age of those being referred has also fallen from 15 years in 2014 to under 14 in 2017, the Institute found.
The guidance, whose front cover bears the logo of the Scottish Government, recommends that schools support children "to explore and express their identity regardless of their age," and abstain from informing parents if their children are sharing overnight accommodation with transgender pupils.
The government recently claimed it hasn't "formally endorsed" the guidance. LGBT Youth Scotland, which is behind the document, also claimed "the inclusion of their logo in the list of organisations endorsing the guidance was an error."
"The Scottish Government are either being disingenuous or are seriously confused. Either way, they've got themselves in a mess," Ciarán Kelly, a Deputy Director at the Institute, said. "This shocking guidance clearly states in black and white that it is endorsed by the Scottish Government. When it was launched in November last year, it was widely reported by the media the Scottish Government endorsed it."
The Institute further said that while the country's publicly funded healthcare system has admitted that the vast majority of children who express confusion over their gender grow out of it as they get older, the government wants to lower the minimum age to obtain a "sex change" certificate from 18 to 16.
In March, the Church of Scotland issued a 30-page booklet, titled "Diverse Gender Identities and Pastoral Care," which showcased stories of transgender or non-binary Christians while insisting it was not making a theological statement on the issue.
The church explained in a press release that the booklet was supposed to be a resource to help congregations be more sensitive to the needs of the community.
Last year, the Church of Scotland issued an apology for what it says is historical discrimination against lesbian and gay people, but it maintains on its website that the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, and thus does not marry same-sex couples.
In the U.K., girls as young as 11 are being placed on puberty blockers and hormone treatment, according to a psychologist at the country's only clinic for children seeking to change their gender.
Bernadette Wren, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Gender Identity Development Service clinic in London, warned earlier this year that schools act "within minutes" to register a child as the opposite sex.
"Schools might wait for the parents to approach them before changing things like names in the register, uniforms, pronouns, toilets, sports," she said at the time. "If a school just gets a whisper of a child who may be querying their gender and within minutes they are doing everything to make sure that child is regarded as a member of the opposite sex right from the word go — that may not be the best for that child."