It feels like conversion therapy for gay children, say clinicians: Ex-NHS staff fear that homophobia is driving a surge in 'transgender' young people, writes Lucy Bannerman
Bannerman, Lucy. The Times; London (UK) [London (UK)]08 Apr 2019: 20.
Inside the clinic rooms of the Tavistock, the private heartache of a new generation of "transgender" youngsters is being laid bare. There used to be about 50 referrals a year, mainly males with a history of gender issues.
Now there are thousands of young females reporting a sudden gender crisis for the first time. Many are convinced that transition — and the powerful drugs that make it happen — will be the solution to their problems.
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."
The clinicians have warned that complex histories and adolescent confusion over possible homosexuality are being ignored in the rush to accept and celebrate every young person's new transgender identity.
Clinical psychologists carry out each initial assessment at the Tavistock. They are the gatekeepers who decide whether to refer transgender youngsters to the endocrine clinic for the next stage of treatment. Therapists once had months to work through underlying issues before making decisions on medical intervention, but the clinicians claim that young people are now routinely referred for hormone therapy after as few as 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".