The announcement that the Tavistock Clinic will close next year has been widely welcomed


By Simon Calvert, Deputy Director (Public Affairs)

The announcement that the Tavistock Clinic will close next year has been widely welcomed.

After years of being insulated from criticism by flinging around the false accusation that only ‘transphobic’ people would question their approach, the clinic is finally being held to account for wrecking the lives of young people.

As many commentators have said, the devastating impact on young bodies of the puberty blockers they prescribed to thousands of children is only now being acknowledged. Tavistock put some young people on these experimental drugs – the same drugs used to chemically castrate sexual offenders – after only one consultation.

Some of those young people went on to have mutilating surgeries. Consultant Psychiatrist David Bell, a whistleblower at the clinic, said “as one girl put it to me, I don’t have the body of a man, I’ve got the body of a mutilated woman and that’s what I have to live with”.[1]

One of the great frustrations for many of us is that we’ve been warning about this for years. The Christian Institute has been opposing trans ideology since 2003 when Parliament was considering what became the Gender Recognition Act, which allows a man to get a birth certificate declaring that he was born female.

Trans ideology became fashionable almost overnight in 2015 when Bruce Jenner appeared as “Caitlyn” on the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine. For years after that, not many seemed willing to publicly speak out against it. We were one of the few organisations journalists could approach for informed comment.

The CI’s Ciarán Kelly wrote an opinion piece for The Times (Scotland) on 28 July 2017 highlighting a 500% rise in referrals of Scottish children for gender confusion, and lamenting the lack of attention paid to the voices of detransitioners.

Days later, I was quoted in the same newspaper criticising a call for children as young as eight to be able to self-ID their gender:

“A lot of people are very anxious about the impact on children of encouraging them to question something as basic as whether they are male or female. There is still a lot of controversy about what is the best medical advice for families of children who present with gender dysphoria, and there is too much of a rush to embrace political fashion and too little concern to dispassionately judge what is actually best for children and their families.”

Later in 2017, I told The Scotsman newspaper:

“The more trans politics grips our culture, the more young people are being rushed into damaging hormone therapy and mutilating surgery by people motivated more by political posturing than the best interests of children.”

In 2019, The CI was quoted in an American magazine pointing out:

“the huge jump in child referrals is linked to the political push for trans rights, which has blown away the normal standards of objectivity in medicine, education, and news reporting”.

We have said many times that, one day, we would look back in horror at what we had unleashed on our young people.

Few things are more obvious than the fact that a man cannot become a woman or vice versa. However, as Romans 1 tells us, we suppress such obvious truths in a battle to be our own gods.

The reason the trans movement is so aggressive is because, like the little boy pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, it only takes one voice to puncture an obvious pretence. So all such voices must be silenced or else the trans edifice will come crashing down.

Thankfully, that moment seems to have arrived. But at huge personal cost for its victims. Chiefly, they are the young people whose lives and bodies have been wrecked. But also there are the brave activists (mainly women) who have spoken out against the ideology – and often been mercilessly attacked. The names of Keira Bell, Maya Forstater, JK Rowling and Stephanie Davies-Arai will go down in history.

Paul Conrathe, Keira Bell’s lawyer, also deserves a mention (as Maya Forstater herself pointed out at the weekend). As a Christian, he has come under attack for his faith from those who would say anything to try to discredit their opponents.

From March 2023, the work of Tavistock is to be divided between existing NHS hospitals where, it is hoped, normal standards of medicine will be applied. This is not a given. The battle to protect young people from a resurgence of Tavistock’s damaging dogma will come down to the choice of who oversees this new work. We must pray that much wiser heads prevail.

The next step in dismantling the broader trans edifice will involve medical negligence claims being brought by those who have suffered at the hands of the NHS as it fell under the influence of this ideology. Once the taxpayer has to start paying out millions to the victims, few doctors will be willing to carry on chemically and surgically castrating young people.

But for now, we can give thanks that the tide is turning. And we must remember too that the truth is true and we must not give up on it. Within the church, there have been siren voices telling us to go with the flow of trans ideology, or at least, not to oppose it. Those voices were wrong. We do not show our love for God by hiding his truth. And we do not show our love for our neighbours by allowing them to be deceived or mutilated.

[1] Daily Telegraph, 30 July 2022