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24 Oct, 2022 19:48

NHS says most trans kids are going through a ‘phase’ – media

Gender incongruence doesn’t typically persist into adolescence, says new draft guidance by England’s National Health Service
NHS says most trans kids are going through a ‘phase’ – media

England’s National Health Service (NHS) has warned doctors about the risks of “an inappropriate gender transition” and said that “in most cases” self-association with another sex is just a “transient phase” in child development. 

In new draft guidance, released last week and seen by the Daily Mail, the NHS urges medical professionals to consider the risks of so-called “social transitioning” – in which a child lives as a gender other than their biological sex but without taking puberty blockers or hormones. This should be a “last resort” even for older children, it says.

“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 into adolescence,” the guidance says, as quoted by the media outlet.

The guidance, according to the newspaper, was released as part of the NHS’ plan to close the controversial Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s clinic – the only children’s gender identity clinic in the UK. 

The draft advice emphasizes that “social transitioning” should not be viewed as a “neutral act” because it might have serious implications for a child’s psychology.

Social transition should only be considered where the approach is necessary for the alleviation of, or prevention of, clinically significant distress or significant impairment in social functioning and the young person is able to fully comprehend the implications of affirming a social transition,” the guidance reportedly says.

Earlier this month, Reuters, also referring to the NHS’ proposals, revealed that the new guidelines for treating trans-identifying youth impose stricter rules when it comes to puberty blockers such as prescription drugs, which suppress the body’s release of hormones and which are sometimes issued to children experiencing gender dysphoria. Children buying these controversial drugs via private clinics may become subject to “safeguarding protocols,” Reuters said.

The guidance did not provide details on these protocols but, Reuters notes, NHS’ “safeguarding teams” include representatives of the police, medical and social services.

Referrals to the Tavistock clinic have skyrocketed from just 210 a decade ago to more than 5,000 patients in the most recent financial year. The wait time to see gender care professionals is now about three years, Reuters said.

Given the “urgent need” for gender identity services, NHS pledged to finalize its guidance and set up a new care system for transgender children as soon as possible.

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