Image of butterflyAs I was watching the excellent drama on ITV “Butterfly” about a fictional transgender child, I became angrier and angrier about the way that transgender adolescents are treated in this country.

I know this is fictional drama, but it is based on what actually happens in real life. This unnecessarily cruel way of assessing young adolescents has to be reviewed in light of the now recommended treatment pathways which advocates for supporting and listening to your child. The current regime at GIDS will only increase the chances of self-harming behaviour, depression and possibly suicide attempts as their “watch and wait approach” is harming adolescents.

If they want to do watchful waiting, at the very least do so whilst the child is given puberty blockers to prevent the worst ravages of puberty. These would prevent extremely painful and costly treatments at a later date – eg electrolysis, Adams Apple reduction, facial feminisation surgery, extensive voice training (or surgical intervention), transplants (for thinning hair). Also things like height, rib cage size, hand and foot size which can never be reversed. All because they want to “wait and see”. So their “watchful waiting” is doing a TREMENDOUS amount of harm. Trans boys and non-binary people will also have to face their own puberty nightmares if not given timely intervention.

Words really fail me at the crass stupidity which is being shown by GIDS when the necessary help is available for these young people. This help which is fully reversible if the young person decides that this is not the route for them.

There is absolutely no hesitation in giving GnRH analogues to children (some as young as 5 years old) who suffer from precocious puberty – and they are on them for far longer than trans youth are.

Liz Duck-Chong wrote an opinion piece in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper “Australia now has clinical guidelines which state that ‘withholding of gender-affirming treatment is not considered a neutral option’ as it may exacerbate distress, depression, anxiety or suicidality.” With transgender and queer youth already at incredibly high risk of depression, anxiety and suicidality, to deny treatment due to an ideological war is inexcusable.

Another researcher, Simona Giordano a bioethicist at the University of Manchester has stated “Not treating adolescents is not being neutral,it means exposing children to a lot of harm.”

Time for a rethink for these children – they have suffered enough!


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