Pity poor Zach, a five-year-old victim of the politically correct gender identity industry
Once upon a time, a little boy called Zach Avery lived with his parents in a flat in Essex and had his very own bedroom. One day, when Zach was four, he watched a television cartoon about an adventurous eight-year-old girl who likes wearing pink — and instantly fell in love.
Her name was Dora the Explorer, and Zach decided that he wanted to be just like her, which meant — as he announced to his mummy — that from now on, he would be a girl. So he grew his blond hair, pulled it into bunches and wore lots of pink and a purple tutu.
Then his daddy laughed, ruffled his hair and wondered to himself when he’d buy the boy his first football shirt, his mummy smiled fondly, and in the end Zach grew up perfectly normally.
Public spectacle: Zachy Avery decided he wanted to live as a girl when he was three, and was last year officially diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder
The end If only. What his parents did, instead, was turn their perfectly happy little boy into a public spectacle.
No matter that he is probably just going through a phase, as young children tend to do. Darren and Theresa Avery decided that although their son was barely five, medical intervention was required. They duly set off to see their doctor who, in turn, sent them for specialist ‘help’.
Unfortunately, Zach ended up in the hands of the controversial Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London, which specialises in Gender Identity Disorder, otherwise known as GID.
As a rule of thumb, by the way, whenever something becomes a ‘disorder’ and then becomes a set of initials — as with the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, widely known as ADHD — it’s time to be cautious.
According to Government figures released last year, the number of children aged between six and 16 diagnosed with ADHD — which essentially means they find it hard to concentrate in class — now stands at 330,000.
Since 1997, there has been a sevenfold rise in prescriptions for Ritalin, the powerful drug used to combat it. In other words, parents — and doctors — have gone mad in their attempts to ‘heal’ their children from this very modern malady.
Relish: Zach with his mother, Theresa, outside Purfleet Primary School, which has made its toilets 'gender-neutral'
Anyway, the Tavistock diagnosed little Zach as having GID — well, of course it did; that validates their job — giving young Zach the dubious status of being one of its youngest-ever sufferers. And before you could say sequin, the show was on the road.
Next stop was Zach’s school, Purfleet Primary, which seized upon this radical new challenge with relish.
They applied themselves, first, to what Theresa Avery coyly calls ‘the bathroom issue’ and created a ‘gender-neutral’ toilet. You may wonder whether a school rated as ‘inadequate’ last year — the worst rating Ofsted can give — might have better things to do with its resources than provide a special loo for a boy who likes to wear dresses.
But then they also made plans for the future, saying that when Zach is bigger he can use the staff toilets — not much chance of this child blending in, then — before calling all the other pupils to attention to explain that ‘Zach’s body is that of a boy, but in his brain he is a girl’. Let me repeat: Zach is five years old.
Now, I don’t suppose many of us have to wander far down memory lane to remember the dozens of little Zachs we all knew. They were those irritating boys who created havoc in their mothers’ or sisters’ wardrobes: long silk dresses ripped to useless where the far-too-big stilettos had caught the hems; eye pencils snapped from being sneakily applied with an amateur hand.
There were, too, the equally irritating girls we called tomboys: hair hacked into crew-cuts; skirts and dresses stubbornly rejected — at least until puberty struck and they discovered make-up and boys.
Deal: Zach's parents, Theresa and Darren, are negotiating an arrangement with a tabloid newspaper
Sadly, no such biding of time for poor Zach; no chance given for a phase to pass.
Even as I write, Zach’s father is negotiating a five-figure sum with a tabloid to tell the whole story.
Thus far, considering the involvement of the doctor, the specialist and the school, it would be hard to count the cost to the state. But I fear it would be as nothing compared to the cost to Zach.
Stories like his do not, of course, happen in isolation. Even a single generation ago, it is doubtful his parents would have taken the first step towards the GP’s surgery.
Nasty parents would have clipped his ear; softie ones would have let him be, and I dare say most would have affected a compromise: a pair of unisex dungarees, maybe, teamed with a pink top.
These days, ‘gender identity’ has become one of the fashionable syndromes of our time and, in the hands of the politically correct, one of the latest social tyrannies, to which we must all pay heed. ‘Trapped in the wrong body’ has been said so often that it has slipped into public consciousness in such a way that it is now beyond the pale to question it.
Choice: Sasha Laxton's parents kept his sex a secret until the age of five
We’ve been flogged the ‘needs’ of the transsexual adult so hard that we no longer dare to ask why, unlike with almost all other cosmetic surgery, they have their operations on the NHS.
In a single decade between 2000 and 2010, the number of such sex-change operations carried out on the NHS tripled — costing around 10,000 a time.
Only last month, we read about the British couple who kept their child’s sex a secret until he was five, so he would be free to ‘choose’ whether to be a boy or a girl — as if such a choice were a real possibility.
And last week, we were treated to the woman-who-became-a-man and then gave birth, and no one said what I’ll wager most thought: if it had a baby, it’s not a man — it’s a woman with a moustache.
Stories like these are increasingly common. Some deserve our support, others our pity, others our disbelief. Put them all together and you create a social backdrop against which it appears that the ‘experts’ are increasingly able to take what was once considered a human quirk and officially diagnose it as a catalogued syndrome.
Take the Tavistock and the number of cases of children being diagnosed with GID. In 2009/2010, it had 97 referrals, in 2010/2011 that shot up to 139, and in 2011/2012 they have had 165. So far.
'Male' mother: american transsexual Thomas Beatie with his daughter Susan, to whom he gave birth
I’m sorry Zach Avery thinks he’d rather have been born a girl; it’s a hard way to learn that you can’t always get what you want.
But I’m far sorrier that he is surrounded by adults, including his own parents, who think that makes him a suitable case for diagnosis instead of just being allowed to grow up and work things out for himself.
If it were up to me, I’d make these misguided parents stop the nonsense and tell the so-called experts to pipe down.
But if Zach’s parents can’t resist the lure of cashing in on their story, I hope they spend the money on shiny little tutus to keep their son happy, one in every colour of the rainbow.
That, in the end, is the only good that can come of this.