GPs speak out amid pressure to affirm gender-confused children

Doctors in Scotland have raised concerns over the consequences for GPs who do not give in to pressure to affirm children who claim to be the opposite sex.

Writing in The Scotsman, GPs Dr Angus McKellar and Dr Antony Latham questioned whether they would be branded ‘transphobic’ for upholding the reality of biological sex and not referring a child to a gender clinic due to the risk of harm.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government tabled legislation to allow Scots as young as 16 years old to change their legal sex merely by self-declaration. The Scottish Parliament’s equalities committee’s call for views on the Bill runs until 16 May.

‘Experimental treatment’

Dr McKellar and Dr Latham said they have “serious concerns” over the rapid increase in children experiencing gender confusion. They said that most are prescribed puberty-blocking drugs, despite the fact many have significant mental health and social issues which should be addressed instead.

The GPs asked: “What is our duty of care if the biomedical treatment of children with gender dysphoria is believed to harm the children both physically and/or psychologically? Have such children the ability to make such life changing choices for what is still experimental treatment?

“What if a GP believes that biological sex is immutable? Are we obliged to prescribe puberty blockers? Are GPs at risk from the litigation that will surely occur?” 

They concluded: “It is time to have a measured debate on the role of GPs in helping children with gender dysphoria.”

They had written to their local health board on the issue, which claimed they should contact NHS Scotland for clarification. After a six month delay, NHS Scotland merely referred them back to the health board.


Currently, Scots wishing to ‘change sex’ must have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and live as if a member of their chosen sex for at least two years.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill proposes ditching the requirement for the approval of two doctors. If passed, it would also reduce the waiting time to just six months and lower the age that people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate from 18 to 16.

Earlier this month, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens was slammed for comparing those who uphold the reality of biological sex to racists.

Campaigners have criticised the Bill, which they say would put women and girls at risk, but in an interview with The Herald on Sunday, Lorna Slater said people who disagree with the proposals should not be permitted to air their views.

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