James Esses - David Rose

James has been reflecting on his 30th birthday. Childline removed him from his volunteer role as a counsellor after he talked about his fears that young children were being encouraged to transition. He had racked up more than 1,000 hours at the charity over the course of five years and was alarmed by the calls becoming more frequent. The pain and hurt of his battle against both institutions is still as raw as ever.

He joined Childline in 2016 and felt trapped in the wrong body. He remembers that the rise in those calls set something off in his mind. He began to read books and papers to better understand how to help. The children on the other end of the line were so young that they weren't even able to say what it meant to be a man or a woman.

The issue was raised internally by Esses, who was perturbed by the influence of the charity that brought in the idea of equality. It also features a video from individuals who have transitioned, who are basically selling it to young people, with no mention of de-transitioners and the significant risks and potential permanent scars that might come from those who regret it.

He spoke with senior management. He was told not to refer to the charity or his role there as his online advocacy continued. The most important thing in his life was the reason for his dismissal. Childline volunteers can't give the impression that Childline endorsed their personal campaigns because they have different views.

An open letter to Childline has been written by Esses. He says he has only been able to come up with such thoughts now that he has spent a lot of time in legal proceedings against his former school. Preliminary hearings are due to begin in June and he has just passed the 100,000 mark on his crowd funding.

Four weeks before his expulsion, he petitioned the Government to protect evidence-based therapy for children struggling with gender dysphoria, which received more than 10,000 signatures. Thoughtful Therapists are a group of clinicians who are deeply concerned about the current stranglehold on public discourse. These were the reasons for his dismissal, though he says he was never given evidence for expulsion. He says he was denied the chance to appeal the decision or put forth his side, and that he was never provided with a reason for why he received the same sanction as someone who had committed a physical or sexual assault. It is not possible to make any comment about an ongoing case, according to the university.

His professional standing in a career that he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing has been damaged. And the low points, roll on, says Esses. On top of the legal battles and personal agony at a career gone haywire is the significant social media abuse he receives for his belief that sex is unchanging and he cannot risk his partner or family being publicly linked to him for fear they will be subjected to the same. He is currently working in the public sector but won't give specifics about his role, as he has already had some issues with activists from the other side.

James Esses - Rii Schroer

Although this has come as a personal cost to me, the stakes are simply too high and he has no regrets. He has been flooded with messages from anguished parents who found correspondence from a charity promising to send breast binders to their child. Mermaids didn't respond to requests for comment. They have been in touch to show their support for the de-transitioners who have taken puberty-blocking medication and been left infertile.

It seems ridiculous that someone could be thrown out of therapy training for questioning how best to help vulnerable children, yet still be able to get messages from peers who share his views. The topic is the issue of our time and theaffirmation mindset has taken hold of it.

He has heard of cases where children at a very young age are taught that sex was assigned at birth, which is incorrect. In which people can find confirmation bias in corners of the internet, social media plays a part. He thinks that the language used by organizations that tell children that family isn't blood is alienating. If children are left to develop, most of them will settle into themselves and not bother with anything else.

He believes that gender reassignment surgery is a reasonable last resort for adults who have exhausted all the other options. He thinks that the push for transitioning is a product of a society that can only compute stereotypes, rather than understanding the fact that not every man or woman needs to conform to gender expectations. It is unclear to him why surgery has become a widely accepted solution to a mental disorder.

The Queen's Speech came as a relief to Esses and his peers, as legislation banning conversion therapy will not extend to gender identity, which would have risked criminalising beneficial explorative therapy for vulnerable children with gender dysphoria.

He is hopeful that by the time he has a family, the issue will become less fraught. That is like the rest of his future.

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