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October 26, 2022

England’s NHS Abandons ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ Method

It says correctly that most cases of gender dysphoria are transient.

The UK’s largest gender clinic for minors, called the Tavistock Centre, made headlines this summer because it was shutting its doors. After a review from an unaffiliated pediatrician for England’s National Health Service (NHS), it was concluded that the Tavistock Centre had several issues and needed a reversal in how it went about providing care.

This sentiment has now solidified into policy. The NHS is now recommending that doctors and other gender dysphoric healthcare providers use a “watchful approach” to children identifying as “transgender.” The NHS also advised that many children who declare they had gender dysphoria are most likely going through a phase.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. England has been providing gender identity services since the 1990s. Physicians have seen what even the least of these “gender affirming” interventions — social transitioning — has on the psyche of a child. Social transition is when a child declares a new name and his or her preferred pronouns and is allowed access to preferred gender bathrooms and locker rooms.

England has also documented the impact of too quickly socially transitioning a child claiming to have gender dysphoria. According to The Telegraph, “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.” NHS has concluded that even social transitioning should not be considered a “neutral act” but rather an extreme intervention if the child is having severe clinical repercussions.

The NHS — which is seeing children regret their ill-advised youth transitions once they reach adulthood — is also taking into account the testimonies of detransitioners. Kiera Bell was a former Tavistock Centre patient. She started transitioning in her teens, was given cross-sex hormones and, at age 20, had a double mastectomy — decisions that as an adult she regrets. Bell is one of several others who are suing the Tavistock Centre because it failed to protect her from herself. The doctors at Tavistock did not actually get to the root of Bell’s problems through talk therapy. Instead, she was allowed to make irreversible medical decisions as a minor and as a young adult. Her case is not unique. Sadly, other children who are suffering in other ways go down this path. Children with autism and those who have other underlying learning disabilities are uniquely attracted to the transgender ideology as a way to establish identity amongst their peers.

The NHS has good cause to call the dramatic increase in gender dysphoric youth a social contagion; it has the receipts. The NHS shows a well-documented increase in referrals to the Tavistock Centre within the past five years. From 2021 to 2022, there were more than 5,000 new patients and referrals for gender dysphoria care. That was a 112% increase from the previous year. Of that number, around 15 were children under the age of four. The numbers begin to explode starting around 2015. Before then, the number of annual referrals was under 500.

The NHS is wisely tempering the fad of transgenderism by cautioning medical professionals not to use the “gender affirmation” model any longer.

The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), a group of 100 clinicians and researchers, noted the highlight of NHS’s new plan. It reported, “With the new NHS guidance, England joins Finland and Sweden as the three European countries who have explicitly deviated from WPATH guidelines and devised treatment approaches that sharply curb gender transition of minors.”

With this change of approach, the UK has one-upped the United States.

On this side of the pond, our president is inviting transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney to the White House and denouncing states that are seeking to protect their children from surgical mutilation and other horrors associated with the “gender affirmation” approach. As the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo pointed out: “Biden’s closing argument for the midterms is to promote puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, mastectomies, and vaginoplasties for minors — a position that is opposed by 79% of voters. Bizarre move to make radical gender theory his final pitch.”

Under this current political and cultural climate, if one were to suggest the watchful waiting approach and encourage legitimate therapy to help confused children, one would be shot down. Watchful waiting is considered harmful “conversion therapy,” according to the powers that be (i.e., the American Academy of Pediatrics). It’s a sad statement of the depths of our nation’s moral decline.

The difference between the UK’s perspective on treating gender dysphoria for minors and the U.S. approach is stark. One is able to look at the facts and reverse course; the other doubles down on bad policy. Which one will ultimately have a more enduring culture? Probably the one that insists on not sterilizing and mutilating children.

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