A father has launched legal action against the NHS to protect his 21-year-old autistic son from undergoing irreversible ‘sex-change’ surgery later this week.
The man, known as ‘Parent A’, said his son was prescribed puberty blockers at 16 and referred for genital surgery aged 19, but child and adult gender services never thoroughly explored his history of mental health issues or autism.
The father, along with detransitioner Ritchie Herron, is bringing a judicial review against service specifications that determine how patients are treated.
Parent A said: “It is structurally unfair to people like my son, whose autism makes him more likely to seek the answer to his problems in this radical treatment. He needs more protection not less.”
He highlighted that even though his son is 21 years old, due to developmental delay, “he’s probably acting like he’s 16 or 17”.
Solicitor Paul Conrathe, who is supporting Parent A, stated: “It is deeply concerning that there is such limited protection for young adults – and especially those on the autistic spectrum. Vulnerable young people are steered down a pathway of infertility and lifelong irreversible change.
“Clinicians who dare challenge the journey risk professional discipline for conversion therapy. The system is profoundly and dangerously broken. This judicial review will shine a light on a deeply concerning medical practice that has evaded scrutiny.”
Detransitioner Ritchie Herron claimed that if he was assessed and treated for conditions such as autism and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) he would never have undergone ‘sex-change’ surgery at 30 years of age.
Herron, who was diagnosed with autism earlier this year, reflected: “I refused the surgery several times. All the professionals were all saying I am an ideal candidate, they’re all saying that I am a transsexual. I didn’t believe surgery was the solution until they implanted that idea.
“But when you’re obsessive, autistic, depressed and anxious surely you’re not an ideal candidate for surgery. You cannot just operate on mentally ill people. It’s not ethical.”
He emphasised: “It is a matter of urgency that the treatment offered by adult services is reviewed and that safeguards are put in place.”
Last month, documents revealed that Mermaids enjoyed a ‘special relationship’ with NHS England’s notorious Gender Identity Development Service for children.
The Tavistock clinic found the ‘missing dossier’ after the Information Commissioner’s Office threatened it with possible court action for failing to disclose correspondence it had with the scandal-hit Mermaids group.
Among more than 300 pages of correspondence are email exchanges between former head of Mermaids Susie Green and the clinic’s director Dr Polly Carmichael.