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It is clinically established that at least 70% of gender dypshoric children, if given love and support, but left alone, will be entirely happy with their birth sex at puberty. However, in 2019, 1,946 children were referred to the NHS gender identity referral service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, England’s specialist clinic for gender dysphoric children. The majority were prescribed puberty blockers – to delay development of characteristics they may find distressing, and to make future surgery easier. Despite what was once claimed, it is now acknowledged by the NHS that these drugs may have serious side effects, including, amongst other things, risk of osteoporosis and stunted brain development (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gender-dysphoria/treatment/).
97% of children receiving puberty blockers progress to life-changing and irreversible cross sex hormone treatment, which for many will be followed by surgery. Though exact numbers are currently unavailable from the NHS, it is known that increasing numbers of children who receive such treatment will subsequently seek to detransition.
In April 2020, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss said that “children under the age of 18 should be protected from making irreversible decisions about their bodies that they could possibly regret in the future” (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/transgender-law-will-change-to-protect-under-18s-truss-signals-8pjtv9crn). This is to be welcomed, but since that time the Government has announced that they have, “… no plans to restrict access to current health care treatment for people under 18 displaying gender dysphoria and wishing to transition to a non-natal sex.” https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/318025
It is vital children are protected from the consequences of irreversible and life-changing treatments that for many are wholly inappropriate.
We warned in 2018 of the dangers of giving life-changing treatment to children under the age of 18, and the Government – in an open response on their website – rejected our call for postponement of treatment (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/voice-for-justice-uks-campaign-about-gender-reassignment ). But, as the NHS now acknowledges, we were right!
We call again for a ban on all medical intervention and treatment for children under the age of 18, at which time they can more properly assess the implications of their decision. We call for children to be protected from an agenda that seeks to normalise and embed ideology, without regard to their best interests and welfare.
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