John Lewis magazine sparks outrage after sharing controversial trans tips for children

John Lewis magazine sparks outrage after sharing controversial trans tips for children

Esses has appeared on GB News before to debate trans issues

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 16/02/2024

- 11:20

Updated: 08/03/2024

- 11:21

‘I know where I won’t be shopping next week’, said one critic

John Lewis has been branded “abhorrent” after an in-house magazine promoting ‘chest binders’ for transgender children was circulated to employees.

The first issue of ‘Identity’, a magazine circulated to all 70,000 employees at the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), was created by an LGBT network at the firm to coincide with ‘LGBTQ+ History Month’ this February.

The 32-page magazine presented advice from controversial trans charity Mermaids, which is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission.

The mag included a story, “Raising Trans and Non-Binary Children”, with testimony from the mother of a transgender boy who had joined a Mermaids-run forum which offered videos and tips “for both parents and trans children” online.

John Lewis/pages of Identity magazine

The first issue of ‘Identity’ was circulated to all 70,000 employees at the John Lewis Partnership this month

John Lewis/James Esses

The article included advice for parents seeking to “educate themselves” and promoted the use of ‘chest binders’, undergarments which flatten wearers’ chests to disguise their breasts – but pose health risks like breathing difficulties and tissue damage.

In the story, the mother detailed her son’s experience with chest binders, which she said were “always safer than the alternatives” – which JLP said was a short, opinion-led comment.

Mermaids, which was recommended as one resource alongside other charities by JLP, had been offering to send breast binders to children without parental consent, a Telegraph investigation found.

One Mermaids trustee resigned in 2022 after it was revealed he had given at a presentation at a conference hosted by B4U-ACT (‘before you act’), an organisation which promotes resources to people “who are sexually attracted to children and desire such assistance.LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
Article in Identity magazine

This article goes on to say chest binders are “always safer than the alternatives”

James Esses

James Esses, in his blog article “The Trans Takeover of John Lewis”, described the article as a “dangerous overstep” by JLP, and said it – alongside other articles published in Identity – was “patronising”, with “abhorrent” messaging.

The magazine also published a six-point guide to “cisgender, straight” people called “How to be a Good Ally”, which said readers should confront their own bias, challenge “anti-LGBTQIA+ behaviour” and “learn from their mistakes” – which Esses said was “nothing more than a series of demands”.

Esses’ scathing critique of the magazine said it “pushes dangerous and divisive ideology on employees through a combination of falsehoods, scaremongering and peer pressure”, and called on readers to “push back against woke capitalism”.

“I know where I won’t be shopping next week”, he said.

Pages from Identity magazine

Further images from Identity magazine, including its cover and an 'LGBTQIA+' news section

James Esses

He drew attention to a two-page spread on “trans terms”, and noted a lack of acknowledgement of how they were “highly contentious”.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, the founder of Transgender Trend, an advocacy group for “evidence-based care of gender-dysphoric children”, said JLP was acting “outside its remit”.

A JLP spokesperson said: “We want the partnership to be a place where people can work or shop with confidence, irrespective of their backgrounds.

“Multiple studies – including those from the government – show that trans people are at higher risk of hate crimes and discrimination, and this magazine was created by our LGBTQIA+ network to champion understanding and support.

Pages from Identity magazine

Esses said the six-point guide was “nothing more than a series of demands”

James Esses

“It has been positively received by the huge majority of our partners.

“We’ve a number of networks across our business, which encourage open conversations. partners can share their own questions and experiences – even on topics where people have different views.”

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