Friday, November 27, 2020
Home News NHS tells the truth – when will trans charities do the same?

NHS tells the truth – when will trans charities do the same?

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IN April, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, set out her priorities for the Government Equalities Office. These included a consideration of issues relating to ‘gender identity’: a term which encompasses the ‘progressive’ notion that individuals have an inner gender identity, separate from their biological sex, and that people ought to be able to live and present according to either.

While reiterating the need to ensure that transgender adults live without fear of persecution, Truss outlined two protections for the many not in accord with this notion which need to be in place. In the first place she promised to ensure that women’s single-sex spaces remain protected. In the second she stated that under-18s should be ‘protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future’. 

Truss raised this second concern because of the exponential increase in the number of teens presenting at NHS clinics which deal with gender dysphoria. When Penny Mordaunt held Truss’s role she promised an inquiry into this dramatic increase, but nothing materialised. Seeing how more effective, responsive, and serious Truss is proving to be is very welcome. In January this year, after she took office, the NHS finally announced that it would undertake a review into the use of puberty suppressants and cross-sex hormones with gender dysphoric teens.

This review has apparently produced some early results. James Kirkup recently revealed in the Spectator that the NHS has quietly changed its trans guidance to reflect reality. 

Until a few days ago, if concerned parents of children who decided that they had been born in the wrong body (perhaps influenced by social media, or by the BBC which teaches schoolchildren that there are 100 genders, or by a Stonewall toolkit used in their primary school) turned to the NHS for guidance, they would have been led to the option of puberty suppression for gender dysphoric children and teens. This what they would have read:

Hormone therapy

If your child has gender dysphoria and they’ve reached puberty, they could be treated with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues. These are synthetic (man-made) hormones that suppress the hormones naturally produced by the body.

Some of the changes that take place during puberty are driven by hormones. For example, the hormone testosterone, which is produced by the testes in boys, helps stimulate penis growth.

GnRH analogues suppress the hormones produced by your child’s body. They also suppress puberty and can help delay potentially distressing physical changes caused by their body becoming even more like that of their biological sex, until they’re old enough for the treatment options discussed below.

GnRH analogues will only be considered for your child if assessments have found they’re experiencing clear distress and have a strong desire to live as their gender identity.

The effects of treatment with GnRH analogues are considered to be fully reversible, so treatment can usually be stopped at any time after a discussion between you, your child and your MDT 
[multi-disciplinary team].’

These are our italics – you can read the original here:

It sounds perhaps not too risky. This assertion has now been moved and this is what you now read:

Hormone therapy in children and young people:


Some young people with lasting signs of gender dysphoria and who meet strict criteria may be referred to a hormone specialist (consultant endocrinologist) to see if they can take hormone blockers as they reach puberty. This is in addition to psychological support.

These hormone blockers (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues) pause the physical changes of puberty, such as breast development or facial hair.

Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria.

Although the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be.

It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations.

From the age of 16, teenagers who’ve been on hormone blockers for at least 12 months may be given cross-sex hormones, also known as gender-affirming hormones.

These hormones cause some irreversible changes, such as:

breast development (caused by taking oestrogen)
breaking or deepening of the voice (caused by taking testosterone)
Long-term cross-sex hormone treatment may cause temporary or even permanent infertility . . .

There is some uncertainty about the risks of long-term cross-sex hormone treatment.

The NHS in England is currently reviewing the evidence on the use of cross-sex hormones by the Gender Identity Development Service.
  

These are our italics again – you can read the original here

It is quite a dramatic change. As Kirkup says: ‘What are the children and parents who were reassured by those earlier NHS words supposed to think now that the same service that issued those treatments is now admitting it doesn’t know what their long-term effects will be?’

The question now is whether the charities and other bodies across the UK that seem to rather cheerfully promote ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender change’ to young people now update their guidance? It is urgent that they do so.

For example, the Mermaidscharity says this: ‘Medical transition in young people usually consists of taking hormone blockers after the initial stages of puberty. Hormone blockers stop the young person’s body changing in ways they don’t want it to at that time, in the hope it will alleviate any distress those changes may be causing them. Blockers simply give time for them to reflect; they can stop at any point and a puberty typically associated with the gender they were assigned at birth will resume’. Mermaids also says: ‘We do not offer advice on medical choices and defer to NHS advice in all cases.’ 

We look forward to seeing a rapid update to its website

Likewise, the charity Gendered Intelligence says: ‘Hormone blockers are sometimes prescribed to young trans people before or during puberty. The purpose of hormone blockers is to temporarily halt the effects of puberty, until the trans person has either met the criteria for a cross-sex hormones prescription, or decides to resume “natural” puberty. The effects of hormone blockers are temporary, and therefore puberty will resume when they are stopped if no other intervention is chosen.’ This should also now be updated as per the NHS’s new guidance.

Who else is touting this dangerous advice? This matters. The Government has a responsibility to pursue this, especially concerning organisations with charitable status.

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Caroline ffiske
Caroline ffiske is a former adviser to the New Zealand Government, served two terms as a Conservative councillor in Hammersmith & Fulham and is currently a full-time mother. She tweets as @carolinefff

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