Picture: Arek Socha/Pixabay
London - A young woman has joined a landmark High Court fight to stop the NHS prescribing ‘powerful and experimental’ puberty blockers to children who want to change gender.
Keira Bell, 23, began hormone treatment to become a boy at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in London – but now "seriously regrets" the process.
The legal action has been brought against the trust – which runs Britain’s only gender identity development service (GIDS) for children – over concerns that youngsters, including those under 12, are being treated without proper assessment.
The case is being brought by a woman known only as Mrs. A, the mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl who is on the waiting list for treatment at the service. Mrs. A has spoken of her "deep concerns that my daughter will be subjected to an experimental treatment path that is not adequately regulated." The action was also brought by Susan Evans, 62, who previously worked at the Tavistock as a psychiatric nurse.
But at a court hearing in London yesterday barrister Jeremy Hyam QC asked for Mrs. Evans’s place as a claimant to be taken by Miss Bell.
Mr. Hyam said Miss Bell "underwent the treatment that is in issue in the proceedings’, adding: ‘She now very seriously regrets the process."
He described the service’s transgender treatment as a "serious intervention." "That treatment is given to children – not just under the age of 16, but under 12 – on the basis that those children themselves consent to the treatment," he added.
Mr. Justice Supperstone ruled that Miss Bell should be a claimant.
Miss Bell, from Cambridge, said afterward: "I do not believe children and young people can consent to the use of powerful and experimental hormone drugs like I did.
"The current affirmative system put in place by the Tavistock is inadequate as it does not allow for exploration of gender dysphoric feelings, nor does it seek to find the underlying causes of this condition.
"Hormone-changing drugs and surgery does not work for everyone and it certainly should not be offered to someone under the age of 18 when they are vulnerable."
In a statement after the claim was filed this month, a spokesman for the trust said: "Our clinical interventions are laid out in nationally-set service specifications.
"NHS England monitors our service very closely. The service has a high level of reported satisfaction and was rated good by the Care Quality Commission."
Matt Birnholz, MDPeer
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