A voice of reason speaks on transgenderism
Sexuality | A U.K. High Court move to rein in cross-sex experiments on children could have wide-reaching effects
by Mary Jackson
Posted 12/04/20, 02:35 pm
Depression, anxiety, and disdain for her body plagued Keira Bell’s early teen years. But instead of addressing her mental health or gender dysphoria, a London gender clinic fast-tracked her at age 16 into taking puberty blocking drugs.
Bell went on to take cross-sex hormones and undergo a double mastectomy. Her de-transition, regret, and the visible marks she bears on her body of irreversible treatments shed light on the scores of gender-dysphoric children given hormone-altering drugs at the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust—the U.K.’s only “gender identity development” center—and at gender clinics worldwide.
On Tuesday, the U.K. High Court issued a landmark ruling that now requires doctors to seek a court order before administering puberty blockers to children under 16.
Speaking with a deep, masculine voice, Bell, a claimant in the lawsuit against the state-run Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at Tavistock, thanked the judges for exposing a harmful experiment on vulnerable children and young people.
“These drugs harmed me in more ways than one, and they have harmed many more … particularly girls and young women,” she said. “This judgment … exposes a complacent and dangerous culture at the heart of the national center responsible for treating children and young people with gender dysphoria.”
In the 38-page ruling, the court deemed medical treatment by GIDS for gender dysphoria “experimental” and lacking adequate scientific basis. Judges said doctors neglected to properly explain the known long-term effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to teens. They questioned the capability of underage youth to give informed consent to damaging their fertility and sexual function.
On multiple occasions, the judges noted the service’s surprising lack of record-keeping, including the number of referrals of autistic youth, the proportion of patients who go on to take cross-sex hormones, and the age distribution of children prescribed puberty blockers since 2011, the year the U.K. began administering the drugs to minors.
GIDS treated 161 children with puberty blockers in 2019-20, including 26 patients younger than 13. The number of referrals to the Tavistock center jumped from 97 children in 2009 to 2,519 in 2018. In 2011, the numbers of male and female patients were about even, but in 2019, 76 percent of referrals were girls—a fact the center could not explain.
“The combination here of lifelong and life-changing treatment being given to children, with very limited knowledge of the degree to which it will or will not benefit them, is one that gives significant grounds for concern,” the ruling said.
Puberty-blocking drugs carry known risks to normal brain and bone development, sexual functions, fertility, and memory. They also put gender-dysphoric youth on a “virtually inexorable path” to cross-sex hormones, the judges said, which carry further irreversible effects.
“What is so significant about the ruling is that all the evidence was presented. … The Tavistock had a chance to prove its case,” said Stephanie Davies-Arai, a British mother of four and founder of the U.K.-based Transgender Trend, an advocacy group that questions transgender ideology. “The ruling exposes the fact that claims coming from the transgender lobbyist groups are really propaganda and not backed up with evidence.”
Davies-Arai said relieved parents have inundated her group with calls since the ruling. Keith Jordan, co-founder of the U.K.-based parent group Our Duty, said the judgment represents a clear step toward common sense and safeguarding.
“The implications of this ruling will have reverberations around the world,” tweeted the group Parents of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria Kids. “Floodgates of litigation to follow—not only in the U.K., but USA, Canada & beyond.”
Meanwhile, Bell called on professionals and clinicians to create better mental health services and models to help children with gender dysphoria reconcile with their sex instead of pushing them into puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex-change surgeries.
Our Duty praised Bell for her courage and determination, saying, “Young people think they want to medically transition because they have been sold an impossible dream.”
Mary is a book reviewer and reporter for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area. Follow her on Twitter @mbjackson77.