NHS Warns Most Trans-Identifying Children Going Through ‘Transient Phase’

The National Health Services (NHS) of England, the country’s publicly funded healthcare provider, has warned that most children who identify as transgender are experiencing a “transient phase.” The statement is reflective of “evidence that in most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence,” the NHS report states.

In light of the report, the NHS will adopt a more cautious approach to treating gender dysphoria in minors, banning the use of puberty blockers in patients under 18 but for strict clinical trials, the Telegraph reports.

The NHS’s new clinical approach comes on the heels of the shuttering of the Tavistock Centre, the only clinic dedicated to treating gender dysphoria in the U.K.. An internal investigation revealed that Tavistock failed on several accounts, including keeping “routine and consistent” data, pursuing an “unquestioning affirmative approach,” and disregarding other health issues.

The new regional clinics that will replace Tavistock will be run by medical doctors, rather than therapists, and existing mental health issues such as autism will be considered before treating gender dysphoric minors. This “watchful waiting” approach will take into account the potential harms elicited by an “inappropriate gender transition.”

“The clinical approach has to be mindful of the risks of an inappropriate gender transition and the difficulties that the child may experience in returning to the original gender role upon entering puberty if the gender incongruence does not persist,” the report states.

Public concerns about Tavistock’s approach were raised by a notable case involving Keira Bell, a teenage girl who transitioned, deeply regretted it, and then de-transitioned. “After a series of superficial conversations with social workers, I was put on puberty blockers at age 16. A year later, I was receiving testosterone shots. When 20, I had a double mastectomy,” Bell wrote in a blog post.

“But the further my transition went, the more I realized that I wasn’t a man, and never would be… As I matured, I recognized that gender dysphoria was a symptom of my overall misery, not its cause…The consequences of what happened to me have been profound: possible infertility, loss of my breasts and inability to breastfeed, atrophied genitals, a permanently changed voice, facial hair. When I was seen at the Tavistock clinic, I had so many issues that it was comforting to think I really had only one that needed solving: I was a male in a female body,” Bell wrote.

Bell eventually sued Tavistock, and initially won the case on the basis that minors could not give informed consent concerning puberty blockers. However, last year the decision was appealed and overturned.

There has been a spike in gender dysphoria referrals in the last decade growing from under 250 in 2011 to over 5,000 last year.

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