My daughter was ‘radicalised’ by Scottish LGBT club in school

Holly joined the 'allies' group as she was fascinated with flags
Holly joined the 'allies' group as she was fascinated with flags

Holly* was drawn to her local school’s LGBT “allies” club by her fascination with flags.

When she began attending classes in March 2021, after her school in East Lothian, Scotland, reopened from lockdown, she found noticeboards and classrooms plastered with Pride and trans colours.

Teachers even displayed their pronouns on rainbow-coloured signs on their classroom doors.

The then 12-year-old, who is autistic and also enjoyed making lists, was soon enthusiastically reciting the wide array of genders and sexual orientations at the family dinner table, which she had discovered through her membership in the school’s lunchtime LGBT club.

Holly’s mother Joanne, 53, initially had no issue. She says she considered herself a member of the “wokerati” and an “LGBT ally” and was relieved that her daughter, who struggled socially, was making new friends.

However, less than a year later, she says she was forced to pull Holly out of the local state school, and now sends her to a private school in northern England.

She claims Holly was “radicalised” by her school, which, like all other secondaries in the area, is signed up to a charter scheme run by the SNP Government-funded charity LGBT Youth Scotland.

The Telegraph revealed on Thursday that, as part of a controversial scheme, schools including primaries were appointing children “LGBT champions” and being urged to question pupils about their sexual orientation and gender.

Schools who signed up, for a fee normally of at least £850, were ranked on how well they catered for LGBTQ+ pupils and were given guides to best achieve this.

It is backed by the Scottish Government and more than half of the country’s secondary schools, and at least 40 of its primary schools, are signed up.

The SNP Government has faced calls to withdraw its school guidance, which tells teachers to “be affirming” if a child says they are trans, in light of the Cass Review.

The expert report, published last week, warned of the potential dangers of “social transition”, including in schools, saying it could lead to children pursuing a “medical pathway” in an attempt to resolve gender issues, which may not be in a child’s best interests.

Social transitioning is when someone begins to live as their preferred gender in public, for example, changing pronouns, wearing different clothing and going by a different name.

‘A wall of secrecy’

Within months of joining the LGBT club, Holly, who her mother says had never shown any hint of being uncomfortable as a girl, announced in a Christmas card to her parents that she had become their “trans son”, signing it with her new male name.

“We thought we were the first ones to know, but it turned out we were last,” Joanne said.

“It turned out she was on to her second male name, and she had been using boys’ names at the school for months. We had been left completely in the dark.

“I even went along with the new name for a while. But as soon as I started to ask questions about what was going on at the school, I was met with a wall of secrecy.”

Joanne says she asked the school and LGBT Youth Scotland to send her the “charter” the school was implementing, as part of its push to win accreditation from LGBT Youth Scotland.

She says both entities sent her the same one-page poster with no details about the actual requirements.

Documents obtained by the Telegraph, released through Freedom of Information laws, show the school was in fact operating a policy stating that parents should not be told if their child had transitioned without their explicit permission.

The setting-up of an LGBT club and the prominent displaying of flags was another condition set out by the charity to receive charter status.

At the time, the school had a bronze award but was working towards silver status.

Down the rabbit hole

“When she joined the LGBT club I emailed the school to explain she was fascinated with flags and lists,” Joanne said. “Because she was desperate to fit in so I suspected where it might end up.

“They said they would keep an eye on her and told me there was nothing to worry about. So, when we eventually found out she had been using a male name, I began to ask questions about what had been going on.

“I just got silence so I went down a bit of a rabbit hole.”

Joanne says she began checking her daughter’s phone and emails and found highly concerning material being shared between students in the LGBT club.

Regular themes included self-harm and anime-style imagery with a sexual element.

She also uncovered messages from the teacher who was part of the “allies” group regarding an upcoming celebration of “National Coming Out Day”, which LGBT Youth Scotland tells its charter members to promote.

The same teacher, in another message, berated pupils for not making enough suggestions for the school’s “pride week” and bemoaned the fact the group was being run largely by adult staff rather than led by the students.

The teacher told pupils: “I am very aware that currently the LGBT+ Allies group seems to be run by staff and I think the charter is not something the school should be awarded if this is the case.

“I’m sorry this seems like a rant but I’m passionate about LGBT inclusion and I can’t do it alone. As a school initiative, it needs to be driven by pupils’ leadership.”

Joanne believes the school was effectively encouraging pupils to “come out” as trans, to the acclamation of their peers.

After finding the material on Holly’s phone, she pulled her child out of the school but discovered that all others in the area had also signed up for the LGBT Youth Scotland scheme.

One, Dunbar Grammar, organised a Happy Fest event in 2020 including two drag acts, with one called Auntie Climax.

It also endorses notions to children that there are genders such as “gender-fluid”, meaning to “identify as different genders at different times”.

“I consider myself a Lefty, I firmly believe in state education,” Joanne said.

“We can’t afford it at all. In many ways, it has screwed up our lives financially and because of all the travelling. But sending her to a private school in England was the only way to get my daughter away from LGBT Youth Scotland.

“She now has no issues whatsoever with her gender. But had she stayed in that school, it was so encouraged and deeply embedded within her friendship group that there is no way she would have turned away from that.

“There’s every possibility that she would have ended up on a medical pathway.

‘State-funded radicalisation of children’

“I’m still very angry about it. My child was vulnerable and I feel they exploited that. They isolated her from her family, told her to keep secrets from us and filled her head with extreme ideas. That is exactly what cults do and I honestly feel that this scheme is a state-funded radicalisation of children.”

LGBT Youth Scotland claims its charter scheme is being followed by more than 200 Scottish secondaries, a majority of the nationwide total. It set a target for 75 per cent to be signed up by this year.

Despite describing itself as Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQ+ people aged 13-25, it has expanded into primary schools, with at least 40 signed up.

It is largely taxpayer-funded, receiving £447,000 from the Scottish Government, £345,000 from Scottish councils and £154,000 from the NHS in 2023.

Of its total income of £1.4 million, it spent £1.3 million on staffing costs, employing 48 project managers and staff.

Miriam Cates, co-chairman of the New Conservatives group of MPs, said she was concerned about the influence of the charity.

She said: “LGBT Youth Scotland’s advice to schools to ask young children about sexual feelings and expose them to contested ideas breaks all safeguarding protocols.

“Yet, the charity appears to be funded to the tune of well over £1m a year with the vast majority of this income spent on salaries. It’s deeply concerning that the British taxpayer is funding political activists to indoctrinate children.”

LGBT Youth Scotland did not respond to a request for comment.

East Lothian council has said its policies are in line with guidance issued by the SNP government.

*Name has been changed to protect identity of child