A group of children who think they were born the wrong sex are to be given drugs by an NHS group to halt the onset of puberty while they decide if they want sex change surgery.
The drugs, which will be administered by monthly injections, will give the children a “window” in which to decide if they want to undergo operations and live as transsexuals.
Critics of sex change operations say that gender dysphoria is a psychiatric problem, not a physical one. They say radical physical intervention does more harm than good.
Of those children who suffer with gender dysphoria before puberty, 60 to 80 per cent actually go on to live in the sex in which they were born.
Writing in a national newspaper, Dr Carol Cooper said: “The history of medicine is littered with hormone manipulations that have had serious unintended after-effects.”
She added, “I will not be alone in having concerns and finding the whole matter disquieting.”
The controversial programme is being run at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and is going ahead only after an NHS research ethics body lifted its opposition.
In 2010 a man who underwent sex change surgery to look like a woman – then changed back – said the NHS should halt all sex change operations.
Charles Kane, who spent £100,000 on operations to make him look like a woman, said he needed counselling, not surgery.
“Based on my own experiences, I believe sex-change operations should not be allowed, and certainly not on the NHS”, he said.
Mr Kane commented: “People who think they are a woman trapped in a male body are, in my opinion, completely deluded. I certainly was.
“I needed counselling, not a sex-change operation.”