October 26, 2022 - 1:00pm

You might not have heard the name Dylan Mulvaney, but your children might have. This 25-year-old social media influencer has 8.4 million followers on TikTok, and is currently documenting a transition to “girlhood”.

On “Day 222 of being a girl”, Mulvaney interviewed Joe Biden. Transgender-identification seemingly invokes privilege that mere muggles can only dream about, but that is not my point. Mulvaney is on a mission.

The egregious patter is self-absorbed rather than self-aware, but one focus is “trans kids”. In Mulvaney’s words: “I’m ready to step up and show that trans people are not going anywhere and that trans kids deserve a fighting chance to be their true selves.”

On this side of the Atlantic, NHS England takes a rather different view to Mulvaney. Instead of encouraging transition, medics in England are now told to take a “watchful approach” to see how a young person’s conditions develop. Quite right. Yet Biden chooses to listen to a TikTok video-maker who on “Day 74 of being a girl” dressed in tight, revealing shorts and announced that “women can have bulges and that’s okay”.

The 79-year-old US President appears to have been captured. On camera, he told Mulvaney: “I don’t think any state or anybody should have the right to [ban gender affirming healthcare].” He added, “You should have every single solitary right including the use of your gender identity bathrooms.”

In the real world — that is, not TikTok — he presumably means that single-sex facilities should be provided not according to biological sex, but to so-called gender identity. Those defending the rights of women and the safeguarding of children are on the back foot in the United States when the President dismisses any concern with statements such as “People fear what they don’t know.”

Well, Mr Biden, I and many others do know. If you weaken safeguarding measures, then you will attract those on the lookout for safeguarding weaknesses. That stands to reason. The problem seems to be that Biden does not know any of this. 

Those of us in the UK must not dismiss this as mere foreign news, something for the ‘only in America’ file. The UK-US free trade agreement that we heard so much about post-Brexit is still under negotiation. With deals come concessions. The Good Friday Agreement is one area where America seeks to influence UK policy, but could trans rights be another? The US-Canada-Mexico trade deal named gender identity as a protected characteristic. That was inserted by Canada rather than the Trump administration but it exemplifies the issue. If the UK wants trade deals, will NHS England first need to reconsider its line on the medication of children who identify as transgender?

But TikTok already transcends our borders. If, like me, you are a middle-aged parent, then maybe you should find out if your children are being influenced by the same characters who are influencing Joe Biden.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner.