‘Girls who don’t like dolls being pushed to swap sex’, says top psychiatrist

A senior psychiatrist who served as a staff governor for an NHS gender identity clinic for children has accused it of adopting a “rigid” and “simplistic” approach to treatment.

Dr David Bell made the remarks during a conference organised by Genspect, an international campaign group concerned about the rapid medicalisation of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Dr Bell faced disciplinary proceedings at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust – which oversees the work of the children’s gender service – after he reported staff concerns over patient welfare in an internal report in 2018.


Dr Bell said that a focus on “very superficial surface phenomena”, accompanied by a “lack of probing”, was typical of clinical assessments made at the Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS).

Tavistock: a gateway to puberty blockers

He said that many young people who were “unwilling or unable” to “conform to gender stereotypes” were often “misunderstood as being transgender”.

This approach, he said, had a “caricaturistic quality”. For example, he continued, “if you don’t like pink ribbons and dollies you’re not really a girl”.

The experienced psychiatrist called the Tavistock clinic “a gateway to puberty blockers”, having already stated that 98 per cent of young people set on this particular pathway ended up taking sex-swap drugs.

Ideological capture

In his presentation, Dr Bell also told the conference that he believed the treatment ‘procedure’ followed by gender services had been captured by “trans ideological lobbies” like Stonewall and Mermaids.

Children with complex psychological problems were being unquestioningly supported in their “wish to change gender”, as clinicians aligned themselves with “affirmative lobbies”. Such an approach, he said, was “a perversion of clinical care”.

a perversion of clinical care

The consultant psychiatrist also said there was a tendency to “sanitise interventions” and to downplay their “lifelong implications”.

Safeguarding experiment

In September, Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust was ordered to pay £20,000 in damages to a staff member at GIDS who was unfairly treated after she raised concerns about patient welfare.

Lead safeguarding officer Sonia Appleby had highlighted staff concerns that “some young children are being actively encouraged to be transgender without effective scrutiny of their circumstances”.

Detransitioner Keira Bell started taking puberty blockers at 16 years of age after referral to the Trust and subsequently underwent irreversible surgery to appear male.

She is seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in her attempt to protect children from being prescribed the same experimental transgender drugs.

Also see:

Gender Identity Development Service

Top psychiatrist: ‘Political ideology seriously harmed children at trans clinic’

NHS gender clinic rated ‘Inadequate’ by Care Quality Commission

Concerns over children’s gender clinic raised 15 years ago

Former GIDS psychotherapist criticises clinic over trans treatments

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