Liz Truss, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Women and Equalities, gave a conference call speech where she indicated that the government would move to protect gender dysphoric children from body- and life-altering procedures.
While discussing the country’s “Gender Recognition Act,” she said a basic principle was “making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future.”
PinkNews, a UK-based LGBT-activist news outlet, called the plans to safeguard minors “shocking” and an “attack on equality.” The organization quoted the mother of a gender-confused child who said, “My child has just as much right to body autonomy as a teenager seeking contraception, or an abortion, or rejecting vaccination… all of which can have irreversible consequences.”
Truss, who also serves as the U.K.’s International Trade Secretary, said in her speech, “I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions.”
“Of course some of these policies have been delayed,” she added, “by the specific issues around Covid but I can assure you that alongside the Covid work, our officials continue to do those things to make them happen.”
In addition to protecting children, Truss said that protecting single-sex spaces was “extremely important,” and a guiding principle for the current administration.
The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) has one “gender identity” clinic, based in London at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The Tavistock has come under increasing scrutiny and condemnation for its treatment of gender confused minors.
Critics began noting the huge increase in children with gender dysphoria being referred to the Tavistock and undergoing treatment. In 2009-10, 97 children were referred to the clinic. Less than a decade later, in 2017-18, 2,519 were being treated. The number of girls referred for such treatment increased from 40 to 1,806 during that time period, a 4,400% increase.
This was such a large rise that Penny Mordaunt, then Minister for Women and Equalities, called for an inquiry. While the results of that investigation have not yet been released,
Reporting on Truss’ statement, The Times of London said:
At present children can start treatment with the gender identity development service after at least three therapy sessions and can go ahead without their parents’ consent. Treatments include hormone blockers to suppress puberty and, for children in their mid-teens, cross-sex hormones. The average age at which children start such treatment is 14 but some start at 12.
In addition to the government investigation, the Tavistock also faces a legal challenge, reported on earlier by The Daily Citizen. A psychiatric nurse who worked at the clinic filed the lawsuit along with the mother of an autistic, gender-confused 15-year old girl. The teenager is on the wait list for treatment.
The pair have been joined by a young woman who was treated at the Tavistock with so-called “gender affirming treatment.” As The Times also reported, Keira Bell “was in her mid-teens when she was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones” at the Tavistock. The paper reports that Bell “found the experience so traumatic that she has since de-transitioned.”
The 23-year old read a statement at the steps of the Court of Justice in January, announcing she would be part of the court case. She said:
I have become a claimant in this case because I do not believe that children and young people can consent to the use of powerful and experimental hormone drugs like I did. I believe that the current affirmative system put in place by the Tavistock is inadequate as it does not allow for exploration of these gender dysphoric feelings nor does it seek to find the underlying causes of this condition. Hormone changing drugs and surgery does not work for everyone and it certainly should not be offered to someone under the age of 18 when they are emotionally and mentally vulnerable. The treatment urgently needs to change so that it does not put young people, like me, on a torturous and unnecessary path that is permanent and life changing.”
The Tavistock has also faced internal dissent. At least 18 of its clinical staff have resigned in recent years, including five clinicians who were involved in deciding which young people would be given puberty blockers.
One clinician said, “This experimental treatment is being done on not only children, but very vulnerable children.” Staff felt pressured to refer young people for treatment, and they agreed that transgender activist groups were “promoting transition as a cure-all solution for confused adolescents.”
The U.K. is taking stock of treatment of these vulnerable children and adolescents and stepping back from encouraging them in their gender confusion with experimental and body-altering puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries. Let’s hope they follow through – and that doctors, clinicians and politicians in the U.S. pay attention and begin following that same course of action.
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