Who are they?
Our Duty are an organisation which appeared online in 20191, and promoted widely by other anti-trans campaigns such as Transgender Trend2, and incorporated as a limited company under the name "Our Duty International Ltd"3 in December last year.
They have been promoted by Transgender Trend as a "support group" for parents of children they claim are affected by the pseudoscientific diagnosis ROGD, and present them as an "the evidence-based alternative to Mermaids etc. for family support". The "ROGD" diagnosis they promote through various events and public communications has no current clinical basis and is the subject of significant criticism among trans health experts owing to the poor research basis used to justify it4.
Although they have activists operating in both UK and the United States, their only public representative so far is Keith Jordan who is based in the UK. He was up until recently pseudonymously known on twitter as @DadRogd.
Our Duty's policy objectives are consistently at the more extreme end of the wider sphere of "Gender Critical" groups and individuals. From their formation up through the year 2020, their stated goals were:
- Extending the age of "adolescence" in healthcare to 25 years old.
- A ban on availability of medical transition support for under-25s.
- Lobbying NHS England to withdraw support for the UKCP Memo on Conversion Therapy
- Replacement of Gender Identity Development Services (GIDS) with talking therapies only.
- Setting of performance goals by clinics aiming at 100% desistance rate
Taken together, these amount to calling for adolescent NHS trans healthcare to be replaced with a system of conversion therapy clinics.
Following their allied group Transgender Trend absorbing many of these targets in 2021 (including a new goal of "focusing on the age group 17-25"5), Our Duty have stepped towards a more extreme goal writing to the Health Secretary of the the 15th January 2021 to call for a complete end to medical transition support on the NHS6:
We call on HM Government to impose an immediate moratorium on medical interventions designed to allow patients to imitate the opposite sex.
Our Duty boss Keith Jordan has a track record of using extreme and violent language regarding his intentions. For instance, among other things he has taken to twitter to express his violent fantasies about trans healthcare professionals.
He also defended the #SayYesToHate7 hash-tag started by anti-trans police group Fair Cop, and described his campaign as a "war", "like Dresden"8 which "needs stormtroopers". The goal of the #SayYesToHate social media campaign was to promote the legalisation of hate crime. This campaign was escalated significantly on International Transgender Day of Remembrance - the 20th of November - maximising controversy and publicity by targeting public engagement from police forces marking the event. Fair Cop leader Harry Miller who had spearheaded this campaign is known for his ties to recently formed British far right group Hearts of Oak9.
While Keith Jordan keeps the most explicit pro-hate material to his personal twitter, the Our Duty official account periodically gets used to promote Fair Cop's campaigns to legalise hate crimes and scrap hate crime guidance.
In conjunction with their stated goals of preventing transition support (including for adults) and promoting of discredited conversion therapy approaches, it is quite clear that Our Duty are in fact a hate group.
Promoting conspiracy theories, pseudoscientific diagnoses
Our Duty are strong boosters of the "Gender Ideology"10 conspiracy theory. This theory claims that a subversive and invasive ideology driven by "Queer Theory" has "ideologically captured" government and medical policy, as well as academic institutions. This can sometimes run along with other common conspiracy theory themes such as:
- The supposed influence of "Big Pharma"11,
- A fixation on wealthy Jewish philanthropists.
- Spurious claims of connection to paedophile conspiracies.
A key part of the "Gender Ideology" theory is that it is undermining the traditional sex-based gender binary, and ultimately threatening children with an infectious psychic epidemic12.
The finer details of this conspiracy theory often differ from country to country according to local cultural anxieties around children and gender roles, and in the UK this typically takes the form of a belief that this poorly defined "ideology"13 is making young people identify as the alternate sex. This conspiracy theory has strong echoes of previous anxieties about the "Homosexual Agenda", and that gay propaganda was confusing young people to adopt an "unhealthy lifestyle"14.
As with many others within the wider "Gender Ideology" conspiracy theory realm, Our Duty label this supposedly contagious transgender phenomenon "ROGD". As discussed earlier, while Our Duty present themselves as a body for "evidence based" policy and medicine, ROGD has no evidence basis beyond a controversial study of parents recruited from anti-trans forums involving zero contact with their supposed trans or trans-identifying children. The evidence is better understood as describing the beliefs and perceptions of this narrowly selected group of parents joined by their desire to prevent their children from being trans.
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!— Our Duty : parents challenging gender ideology (@OurDutyGrp) December 12, 2020
This is not a "blow to the rights of transgender children".
Amplifying that message demonstrates that you do not understand the subject - despite it being deeply psychological.
It helps protect children affected by gender ideology.
THINK. STUDY. LEARN.
A thorough timeline of the evolution of the Gender Ideology meme from an international coalition of Christian Right organisations through to parents groups and then later "Gender Critical" groups has been documented in Mallory Moore's Gender Ideology? Up Yours!. A further thorough timeline of the ROGD pseudo-diagnostic category can be found in Julia Serano's article Origins of "Social Contagion" and "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria" alongside further formal academic analysis listed at the end of this article4.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the main organising body of professionals dealing with trans healthcare has made the following statement on the subject:
The term “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD)” is not a medical entity recognized by any major professional association, nor is it listed as a subtype or classification in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Therefore, it constitutes nothing more than an acronym created to describe a proposed clinical phenomenon that may or may not warrant further peer-reviewed scientific investigation.
They further say:
WPATH also urges restraint from the use of any term—whether or not formally recognized as a medical entity—to instill fear about the possibility that an adolescent may or may not be transgender with the a priori goal of limiting consideration of all appropriate treatment options in accordance with the aforementioned standards of care and clinical guidelines
Promoting unorthodox medical expertise
Our Duty also promote and host content by medical "experts" connected with the Christian conservative conversion therapy movement such as Quentin Van Meter15, a board member of the anti-homosexuality and anti-trans conversion therapy organisation IFTCC16.
On their website they also promote endocrinologist Michael K Laidlaw17. Laidlaw is not a specialist in trans healthcare. He is however associated with American conservative Christian lobby group Heritage Foundation18 and has co-published letters with known conversion therapy advocates, and individuals who form part of a wider Christian conservative stable of anti-LGBT "expert" witnesses.19 He also co-signed an open letter in defence of conversion therapy for both sexual orientation and gender identity in California, alongside numerous senior board members of IFTCC.20
These are not the reference points of an impartial evidence based advocacy group, but of a deeply ideologically driven hate campaign.
Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria is a hypothesised trans-related diagnosis which arose out of so-called "Gender Critical" parents networks. So far the only research validating it was gathered without any attempt to interview the young people themselves, and as such data reflects the concerns of the parents surveyed rather than the mental health situation of the children themselves. For academic writing on this, see: A critical commentary on ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’.
The firebombing of Dresden controversially focused on civilian targets resulting in the deaths of around 25,000 people.
The "MadDad" pseudonymous account linked above, appears from the user's twitter output to be one of the Our Duty's USA activists, and frequently posts updates about billboards and protests the group has organised.
We previously wrote about the impact of such dubious experts on the Bell v Tavistock case in Trans Safety Network: Questionable Expertise at Bell v Tavistock
Response to California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 (ACR 99) by Assembly Member Low Which Seeks to Take Away the Freedom to Give or Receive Assistance for Sexual Attraction or Gender Identity Change