Experts have launched an investigation into the use of hormone blockers on young children.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has commissioned its Ethics and the Law Advisory Committee to study the rapid increase in hormone blockers being given to under 16-year-olds.
The NHS’s only specialised gender clinic for children has recently been accused of hiding bad results about its use of the experimental drugs on teenagers.
‘Paucity of evidence’
Puberty blockers are often advertised by transgender lobby groups such as Mermaids as a ‘pause button’ for children considering changing their sex.
However, doctors have repeatedly said there is no evidence on their long-term safety.
Director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, Carl Heneghan, said there was a “paucity of evidence” for using the drugs in cases of apparent gender confusion.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) conducted a trial of puberty blockers for young teenagers with gender dysphoria several years ago.
Informed by the trial, GIDS has doled out puberty blockers to over a thousand teens – including hundreds under the age of 14.
However, the research actually showed that after a year of using the drugs there was “a significant increase” in the number of adolescents who said they “deliberately try to hurt or kill themselves”.
But when concerns were raised, GIDS said that no “meaningful conclusion” could be drawn, because the data was from a “small sample”.
The news comes as a former Governor at Tavistock said that the “trans political agenda” is putting children at risk.
Marcus Evans said counsellors and other mental health providers fear being labelled transphobic if they do not affirm children’s beliefs that they are the wrong sex.
Evans resigned in protest at GIDS’s poor response to concerns that it was not doing enough to protect children.
He said that since resigning he has become increasingly worried that debate about transsexualism is being shut down by a vocal minority.
Evans’ fears are mirrored by other former employees.
It was also recently reported that two former GIDS clinicians raised serious issues about what was going on at GIDS with The Guardian newspaper in 2017.
Earlier this month, Dr Kirsty Entwistle, a former psychologist at the clinic’s Leeds site, accused GIDS of rushing to affirm patients’ gender confusion without proper investigation, for fear of being labelled transphobic.
In an open letter to Dr Polly Carmichael, Director of GIDS, Dr Entwistle said that the many public concerns raised by GIDS workers about the clinic’s practices “do not appear to have sunk in”.