Oh oops really? That’s embarrassing.

The evidence for using puberty blocking drugs to treat young people struggling with their gender identity is “very low”, an official review has found.

Uh oh. So all those kids we’ve put on puberty blockers have messed up their brain development and bone density and whatnot to no purpose? Oops. Our bad!

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said existing studies of the drugs were small and “subject to bias and confounding”.

The NICE evidence review looked at what impact puberty blockers had on gender dysphoria, mental health – such as depression, anger and anxiety – and quality of life.

NICE, which provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care, said: “The quality of evidence for these outcomes was assessed as very low certainty.”

Ok fine so it turns out the puberty blockers were not treatment, they were an experiment. It’s fine to do experiments with tweaking the sexual development of teenagers by telling them the experiments are a treatment! Fine and ethical and very progressive.

NICE also reviewed the evidence base for gender-affirming hormones – sometimes known as cross-sex hormones. These can be given to young people with gender dysphoria from age 16 in the NHS.

Oestrogen may be given to people who are registered or assigned male at birth, and testosterone to females, to start the development of the physical sex characteristics of the gender with which they identify. The aim is to improve mental health, quality of life and body image.

The review found the evidence of clinical effectiveness and safety of gender-affirming hormones was also of “very low” quality. “Any potential benefits of gender-affirming hormones must be weighed against the largely unknown long-term safety profile of these treatments in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria,” NICE said.

First do no harm.

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