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Celebrities, safeguarding and lesbian girls


NSPCC, Munroe Begdorf, Childline, Safe Schools Alliance UK, Peter Wanless, open letter, sexualising children, porn, young lesbians, trans kids, ‘We call upon the NSPCC to continue to safeguard our children in a thoughtful and considered way’.

The Safe Schools Alliance UK recently sent an open letter to Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, outlining their concerns about Munroe Bergdorf being an LGBT+ Ambassador for Childline.

Several issues were raised by the announcement of the Bergdorf/Childline link last week. One of which was that girls are under so much pressure in today’s pornified and sexualised culture, why such a glamorous celebrity to set an example of how they should be?

And it was also unclear how Burgdorf’s involvement with the NSPCC would support lesbian children, who – like their gay male counterparts – are being pushed towards transitioning rather than being accepted – and encouraged to flourish – just as they are.

The letter ran:

Dear Mr Wanless

We are Safe Schools Alliance UK, a group of concerned parents, grandparents, teachers, governors, health professionals and education professionals who have come together to help schools meet the safeguarding needs of all students, whilst taking into account the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.

One of the things that we are particularly concerned about is the social pressure on girls to look and act in a certain, sexualised way, whether this be by wearing clothes that limit their ability to be active, or engaging in sexualised activity at a young age, such as sexting and via webcams in their bedrooms. Young girls are under enormous pressure due to the prevalence of misogynistic and degrading porn that is freely available to any child with a smartphone. This pornification of children’s experience of childhood has meant that schoolgirls are now subject to an unprecedented level of sexual harassment and assault, whether inside or outside of school.

Girls need to understand that they have a right to feel comfortable in their own bodies, and we should be telling all girls that they do not have to participate in porn culture in order to be happy and accepted for who they are.

With this in mind, we were surprised and disappointed to read that the NSPCC has appointed Munroe Bergdorf to be Childline’s first LGBT+ Ambassador.

We would agree that the NSPCC needs to support all children, including gender-questioning and transgender children. However Munroe Bergdorf presents as a highly sexualised, porn-influenced image of what it means to be a ‘woman’, sending harmful messages to children (both boys and girls) that this is what women should look like. There are numerous, readily available images of Munroe Bergdorf on the internet in provocative, sexualised poses and clothing.

Bergdorf has had plastic surgery to address body dysphoria. This is of course the prerogative of any adult, but as an ambassador of a children’s charity, it sends unhealthy messages to children about how to deal with teenage feelings of discomfort with their bodies.

Bergdorf encourages children to make contact privately on the internet, which goes against child safeguarding principles, and can create mistrust between parents and their children. With the rise in rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) among girls, which has reached such alarming levels that the government has called for an inquiry, it is important that parents are able to guard against the possibility of social contagion, and advocate for their children.

Bergdorf is supportive of children dressing as “drag queens”, an inherently sexual form of dressing and dancing: Children such as Desmond Napoles, who has been recorded as dancing for money in gay bars while dressed in drag.

Bergdorf also had to step down from a role in the Labour Party after offensive homophobic and lesbophobic comments were discovered. This leads us to wonder why the NSPCC has not thought to appoint a lesbian or gay Ambassador. It would seem that this would be more relevant and needed by larger numbers of children.

Many of our children have heard about Childline from their schools. Schools rely on organisations like the NSPCC to work with them to help ensure childrens’ safety and wellbeing. We remain supportive of the excellent work that the NSPCC have done in protecting and supporting all children.

We call upon the NSPCC to reverse the decision to appoint Munroe Bergdorf, and continue to safeguard our children in a thoughtful and considered way.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Safe Schools Alliance UK

The NSPCC then released a statement saying: ‘Munroe Bergdorf has supported the most recent phase of Childline’s campaign which aims to support children with LGBTQ+ concerns.

‘Munroe has been referred to as a Childline Ambassador. At no point has she been an Ambassador for the Charity. She will have no ongoing relationship with Childline or the NSPCC.

‘The NSPCC does not support, endorse or authorise any personal statements made by any celebrities who contribute to campaigns. Childline is available to children without condition to provide support whatever the nature of their concerns.’

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