Home Office chiefs have sparked anger by sending out an email reminding staff to celebrate Transgender Parents Day.
Shocked workers were informed that November 7 was the day ‘we celebrate all parents of transgender children’ – an event first marked in 2009 in the US as an alternative to the traditional Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
The lengthy email, sent across the Government department’s computer system on November 5, also included a personal account by a mother whose son transitioned from male to female at 22.
It was sent by Caroline Wild, co-deputy chairwoman of the Home Office’s Spectrum Committee, which was set up to support the department’s LGBT+ staff. She is both transgender and a parent.
She told staff: ‘Whilst Transgender Parents Day remains today as a non-official date in the LGBTI+ calendar, the fact that it is becoming known gives parents who are trans and the parents of trans children an opportunity on a personal level to celebrate that the bond of family endures the transitioning of one of its members.’
But one Home Office employee, struggling with the challenge of parenting a teenager who says they are transgender, criticised the email as ‘highly inappropriate’.
She said: ‘It bore no relevance to the work we do and nothing to do with the work of any branch of the Home Office.
‘This is a very subjective issue and it’s not an issue that everyone is going to be on board with.
‘Also, at the moment it’s an area that’s very political. So emails like this make you feel as if someone is pushing a particular agenda. We’ve had a few of these types of emails recently. We were sent something previously on “Asexual Day”.’
The worker said she was particularly incensed by the ‘celebratory’ nature of the email, adding: ‘Anyone who’s got any sense realises that these situations exist, but within the work arena at the Home Office it’s not the place to be dealing with issues that parents and families are struggling with.
‘It was quite triggering for me, especially because the whole spirit of the email is that we should be celebrating families going through this, when there are lots of families battling with issues such as children being encouraged to take puberty blockers. When we get emails telling us we should be happy about this sort of thing, that just sticks in the craw.’
The backlash came as it emerged the Home Office is one of the Government departments still signed up to Stonewall’s controversial diversity scheme for employers.
The programme has sparked widespread criticism that it fosters workplace cultures where employees who disagree with transgender ideology fear being silenced or even sacked.
Several high-profile public bodies have quit the scheme over the furore, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the BBC. Government departments covering health, education, work and pensions and the Treasury are also reviewing their links.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘To mark this internationally recognised day, an immigration enforcement officer outlined the support available from a number of organisations for young trans people and their families.’