Ann Widdecombe: 'Seven years old is far too young to be taught about gender diversity'

The former Conservative politician is not impressed with a new book which may become part of the UK primary school syllabus.

A controversial new book is being introduced into some UK primary schools as a resource for children, parents and teachers. “Can I tell you about gender Diversity?” claims to be the first book to explain “medical transitioning” to children as young as seven.

Columnist, and former Conservative Party politician in the UK Ann Widdecombe is decidedly unimpressed, and joined Ciara Kelly on High Noon today.

The book is written by LGBT activist CJ Atkinson. Speaking to the Guardian in their first ever interview, Atkinson condemned the media coverage as misleading, inaccurate and potentially harmful for young people who identify as transgender.

“We call it trans-panic,” said Atkinson, adding: “This mud-slinging has to stop. It causes active harm. When you have a group of transgender young people, one in two will consider suicide, one in three will attempt it.”

Under the headline “Stop calling them boys and girls!”, the Mail on Sunday told readers that the book advised that children as young as seven should be taught in schools to stop using the terms boys and girls in case they discriminate against transgender pupils.

Atkinson, a published poet but first-time author, denied advocating that school children should stop using the terms boys and girls as widely reported. “I would not go to a seven-year-old and say, ‘You can’t call yourself anything.’ "That’s not what I’ve written."