England’s only gender clinic for minors has been criticized as needing a “fundamentally different service model” and being “not a safe or viable long-term option” for children, in a recent report by a retired pediatrician, Hilary Cass. The report was commissioned by Britain’s National Health Service after staff members repeatedly raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of the clinic’s gender-transition treatments for minors.
Cass noted the clinic’s “affirmative, non-exploratory approach, often driven by child and parent expectations and the extent of social transition.” She also highlighted the “limited evidence of mental health or neurodevelopmental assessments being routinely documented, or of a discipline of formal diagnostic or psychological formulation.”
Cass considered the wider context of the lack of “longer-term follow-up data” on children who have been transitioned. While there has been plenty of research on “the short-term mental health outcomes and physical side effects of puberty blockers,” there has been “very limited research on the sexual, cognitive or broader developmental outcomes.” Indeed, we know from top gender-transition providers that the results may be seriously damaging.
These are similar to the concerns raised by England’s independent regulator of health and social care, the Care Quality Commission, which also inspected the clinic in a report released last October. The commission found “significant concerns,” which led to an overall rating of “inadequate.”
One of the clinic’s whistleblowers was a former governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust (which oversees the clinic), Dr. David Bell. Bell warned that clinicians were “fast-tracking” young people into irreversible gender transitions and were suspectable to the “influence of powerful political lobbies.”
We need similar scrutiny and independent reviews of the hundred or so gender youth clinics here in the United States.
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