Jane McLenachan at the Forth Valley Feminist 2023 Woman’s Festival

Jane McLenachan was a social worker for 20 years, mainly in child protection, working in Scotland and England. She then spent 20 years in social work education, working in universities in England and Scotland before retiring in 2020. Jane discussed the influence of gender ideology on social work at the Forth Valley Feminist Women’s Festival in 2023.

The social work profession is already deeply entangled in the gender ideology movement. Social Work England (England’s regulatory body for social workers) is already investigating social workers for perceived gender critical activity. Among the activities under investigation are attending the FiLiA Women’s Rights Conference, posting gender-critical content in private and locked social media groups, and criticising the charity Mermaids (which is currently being investigated by their own regulatory body). The Scottish Social Service Council (Scotland’s regulatory body for social workers) has not yet taken action against gender-critical social workers, but complacency would be a mistake.

The Expert Advisory Group to the Scottish Government on Ending Conversion Practices issued its report in October 2022. According to the report, conversion practises are any act, treatment, or effort aimed at altering, suppressing, or inhibiting an individual’s gender identity and/or gender expression. In practise, all actions that discourage gender transition are included, regardless of motivation. This report does not appear to have taken into account any evidence from social workers or detransitioners.

More than half of detransitioners had at least three comorbidities (74% had depressive disorders, 24% attention deficit disorder, 20% autism, and 19% had eating disorders). We need to address the issues and traumas that may be causing gender identity issues, and we need to hear from detransitioners to do so. The Ending Conversion Practices report would make it extremely difficult to do so. Coming to terms with same-sex attraction, realising that changing sex is impossible, and discovering radical feminism are among the things that detransitioners say have aided them in their journey to desist. Trans-activists have accused  detransitioners  of “internalised transphobia” excluded them from queer spaces.

Jane McLenachan also signposted the work of the Evidence-Based Social Work Alliance (https://www.ebswa.org/).

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