In response to pressure from transgender lobby groups

Lucy Bannerman reports that five specialists have quit the Tavistock for reasons of conscience over the past three years.

The clinic used to get about 50 referrals a year, mostly boys, but now thousands of girls are turning up wanting to change their sex.

Until now the specialists struggling to keep up with caseloads have stayed silent, but alarm over the number of adolescents being prescribed body-altering drugs, has prompted five former clinicians to speak out for the first time.

All five have resigned from the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in the past three years as a matter of conscience.

“This experimental treatment is being done not only on children, but very vulnerable children, who have experienced mental health difficulties, abuse, family trauma, but sometimes those [other factors] just get whitewashed,” one female clinician said. “If someone was suggesting plastic surgery or any other permanent change we’d be saying, hang on a minute.”

And plastic surgery is pretty trivial in comparison to trying to trade in your sex.

Clinical psychologists used to be able to spend months evaluating the children, but now they can be referred for hormone therapy after only three hour-long sessions.

They believe that physically healthy children are being medicated in response to pressure from transgender lobby groups and parental anxieties.

So many potentially gay children were being sent down the pathway to change gender, two of the clinicians said there was a dark joke among staff that “there would be no gay people left”.

“It feels like conversion therapy for gay children,” one male clinician said. “I frequently had cases where people started identifying as trans after months of horrendous bullying for being gay,” he told The Times.

“Young lesbians considered at the bottom of the heap suddenly found they were really popular when they said they were trans.”

And what better reason can there be to alter your body in drastic ways than the chance to be more popular as a teenager? When one of the first things you realize as you become an adult is that the teenage years are just that: they’re a short period that ends, not a template for your whole life.

Several clinicians suspected that some of the “transgender” adolescents were reacting to homophobia at home.

“For some families, it was easier to say, this is a medical problem, ‘here’s my child, please fix them!’ than dealing with a young, gay kid,” the third female clinician said. At the service’s “family days”, a parent was allegedly heard saying that they did not want their child to have gay friends because they “didn’t want them mixed up in that hedonistic lifestyle”. “It is converting people into heterosexuals,” one of the clinicians said. “We had so many families who would talk about not wanting their daughters to be lesbian.” Young people “repeatedly” confided their own “disgust” that they may be gay, according to the clinician.

Again: this is something that can end; it can be a transient thing that becomes insignificant over time; “It Gets Better.” It’s not a reason to make drastic changes to your healthy body.

Another clinician described how youngsters entered his room enthusing about Alex Bertie, a transgender YouTuber, and My Life: I Am Leo, a documentary about a transgender teen broadcast in a teatime slot on CBBC.

“These are very simplified stories about how easy it would be to transition into being trans. . . that transition is a solution to feeling shit. That is very appealing to lots of teenagers,” the first male clinician said.

Aw yeah, that’s a great reason to make irreversible changes to your healthy body: a cool kid on YouTube did it.

What began in 1989 as a specialist clinic for gender issues is now under intense scrutiny. A report by David Bell, a former governor at the trust, revealed ethical concerns over “woefully inadequate care”. Staff were furious with the GIDS executive’s response to the report, which stated that its own review found no safeguarding concerns.

The whole service should have been halted when the number of “transgender” cases first exploded, one of the clinicians said. “That’s the point we should have stopped because we didn’t know what we were doing. Are we a service for kids with gender dysphoria, a medical disorder? Or are we a service for ‘transgender kids’?”

A GIDS spokesman said: “We are aware of tensions between different perspectives. These differences are inevitable in such complex work.”

One clinician said it was understandable if her former employer was defensive, saying: “If they are getting it wrong, you have to ask, are they making kids infertile by mistake? Because if they are to truly acknowledge [our concerns], then they will have to ask themselves, what the fuck have we done to thousands of children?”

Oops.

7 Responses to “In response to pressure from transgender lobby groups”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting