TikTok slammed for 'brainwashing' children with pro-trans content
Transgender influencers often take to social media to provide advice on transitioning and accessing hormone therapies
Material posted by transgender influencers on TikTok has been criticized by campaigners who have claimed that children are being ‘brainwashed’ by videos that promote changing sex as ‘cool’. Transgender influencers often take to social media to provide advice on transitioning and accessing hormone therapies. These videos are usually viewed by millions of users.
Over a quarter of British TikTok users are aged between 15 and 25. Further, children aged between four and 15 also spend an average of 69 minutes on the app every day, claims TikTok's own data. According to an analysis by the Daily Mail, videos with the hashtag #Trans have been viewed more than 26 billion times.
Earlier this year, TikTok signed a partnership with Stonewall -- the controversial lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights charity. The two have partnered to promote such material together. Transgender TikTok influencer Bella Fitzpatrick, 19, raised £20,000 from followers in less than three months in an attempt to fund private gender-reassignment surgery. Fitzpatrick took to the social media platform to tell her 7,00,000 followers about the process of transitioning, including her experience of bypassing NHS waiting lists.
Another popular TikToker called Alex Consani, 18, told followers they are ‘one oestrogen pill away from a glow up’. Consani went viral about five years ago when Cosmopolitan magazine featured her life as a trans model. A channel featuring influencer Jaison Jowett posted a video with the caption ‘Heal with me after top surgery!’ -- referring to a reconstructive chest operation. A video that begins with the words ‘I used to be a good Christian kid’ shows the transformation to a ‘trans, gay atheist who loves tattoos and chaos’.
Kate Harris of the LGB Alliance recently opposed Stonewall’s policies on transgender issues, saying, "Our major concern is that millions of impressionable children are watching these online influencers. It’s no coincidence that the growth of TikTok coincides exactly with the exponential growth of children presenting with gender dysphoria." She said that some of the videos were ‘deeply frightening’, and that 'the message is so often, “Don’t involve your parents.”' "What these videos would lead a generation of children to believe is that it is easy to change sex and that it is the answer to all of your problems," she said.
Stephanie Arai-Davies, from Transgender Trend which wants more evidence-based healthcare for children with gender dysphoria, said, "It’s hugely influential and it’s full of videos that portray medical transition as cool and edgy. Gender is seen as the new rebellion. These social media platforms that promote medical transition should be made to include a warning on such material."
A spokesman for TikTok said, "We are honoured that the LGBTQ+ community has embraced TikTok from our very early days, as a platform for self-expression, education, community-building and joy." "Our content allows young LGBTQ+ people to know that they are not alone in their experiences," a spokesman for Stonewall said.