Needing time and considered thought

Reading a Spectator blog post about a Labour MP who equates analysis of trans ideology to “hate material” I pause over a passage about the advocacy group Mermaids:

Despite its influence, it is worth noting what Mermaids is not. It is not a research body. Its activities are support (for families) and advocacy: based on its contacts with those families, it argues for what it sees are better policies and practices by the NHS and others. It does not carry out or commission clinical or academic research. Its most recent annual report lists among its charitable activities “campaigning and advocacy” and says: “Mermaids has also become more active in lobbying”.

There is regular dialogue between Mermaids and the GIDS, but the two sides do not always agree. An example is on the time the GIDS team take to give referred children the hormone-blocking drugs that stop their bodies developing the physical characteristics associated with their birth sex.

In evidence to another Commons inquiry in 2015, Mermaids argued that GIDS should make such drugs available much more quickly. The GIDS team has generally resisted that call, more than once saying that “any decision around hormone treatment needs time and considered thought.”

And in evidence to that earlier committee, Dr Bernadette Wren of the GIDS said this:

“I know that Susie and Mermaids would like a fast track so that young people who are already well into puberty and feel that they know that they want to move forward into physical intervention would bypass our assessment process and move straight into physical intervention. We feel that is not an ethical way to practise.”

I’m just impressed all over again by how bonkers it is to think it’s clear and obvious and progressive to mandate a rush into physical intervention on the basis of…the feelings about gender of young people who are already well into puberty. Young people who are already well into puberty are probably the last people on earth anyone should consult on the subject of sex and gender, because they’re in the midst of the transition and they don’t know yet. They don’t know. They don’t know how they’re going to feel in a couple of years and five and ten. They know that less than they ever will again, because puberty is confusing and because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. Those two things together make a Niagara Falls of reasons not to take their current feelings as reliable about their future feelings. Making drastic permanent physical changes on that basis is, indeed, not an ethical way to practice.

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