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In England, a call for caution regarding transgender identity among young people

Photo: Justin Tallis Archives Agence France-Presse Young people demonstrate in London, January 21, 2023, to defend the rights of trans people.

Caroline Taix – Agence France-Presse in London

April 10, 2024

  • Europe

Highly anticipated, a report concerning transidentity represents a turning point in England. A pediatrician called on Wednesday for a change in approach to the care given to young transgender people, advocating the greatest caution, notably due to a lack of “reliable data” on hormonal treatments.

The study was commissioned by the public health system, the NHS, in 2020 in the face of a sharp increase in the number of children and young people questioning their gender and presenting to care services seeking help. .

The phenomenon has given rise in recent years to highly publicized legal battles and the decision to close the only specialized public establishment, after overwhelming testimonies reporting caregivers under pressure and rushed treatment. It must be replaced by regional centers.

The subject of transidentity is very divisive in the United Kingdom. The author of the report, pediatrician Hilary Cass, deplores “an exceptional toxicity of the debate”.

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“There are few other areas in healthcare where professionals are so afraid to openly discuss their opinions, where people are vilified on social media, and where name-calling echoes the worst behavior of 'intimidation. This must stop,” she wrote.

In her 400-page report, this former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health presented 32 recommendations on Wednesday, which should shape new NHS services in England for children and young people questioning their gender identity or experiencing gender dysphoria.

Disappointment for young people

The document calls for a comprehensive approach that must “include screening for neurodevelopmental status, including autism spectrum disorders, and mental health assessment.”

Health services are urged by the report to exercise “extreme caution” when prescribing hormones. There “should be a clear clinical rationale for providing hormones” before the age of majority.

For 17-25 year olds, according to the report, each regional center should have a follow-up service “to ensure continuity of care and support [for young people] at a potentially vulnerable stage of their journey.”

For children, prepubescent, an “even more cautious” approach must be taken. Those who change their pronoun or first name from a young age could feel even more stress with the arrival of puberty, and therefore the urgency of taking hormonal treatments.

At the basis of the debate, Hilary Cass is concerned about “the poor quality of published studies” and the absence of “reliable data” on transidentity among young people: “Research has given up” young people.

A former manager of the public specialist Tavistock, which closed, told Times Radio that children were sometimes prescribed puberty blockers “after one or two appointments”. The team “fell seduced by transgender ideology,” criticized David Bell.

Last month, the NHS in England announced that it would no longer prescribe puberty blockers to minors who wish to change their gender.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the report: “We need to be extremely careful… because we don't know the impact” of puberty blockers or hormone treatments.

The report made headlines in the media, and particularly pleased the conservative press. “Finally the voice of reason on trans dogma,” rejoiced the Daily Mail.

The government and conservative media are very critical of the demands of transgender defense associations. The authorities also recently recommended safeguards for schools faced with children asking to be identified as a gender different from their biological sex.

London blocked a project adopted in Scotland which aimed to make it easier to recognize gender change from the age of 16.

Hilary Cass addresses, in the introduction to the report, the young people she met and who asked to have access, as quickly as possible, to puberty blockers and hormones.

“I realize you must be disappointed,” she wrote. But “you cannot make life-changing decisions without being able to weigh the risks and benefits they present now and in the long term.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116