The care of gender-confused young people in the US is being driven by political ideology not evidence, a group of international experts have warned.
Writing to the Wall Street Journal, 21 clinicians and researchers from nine countries said ‘gender-affirming care’ in the States was “exaggerating the benefits and minimising the risks” of sex-swap drugs and surgery.
Numbered among the signatories to the letter are psychiatrists, paediatricians and medical practitioners – including the University of Plymouth’s Professor Richard Byng and London-based clinical psychologist Dr Anna Hutchinson.
The letter debunked a claim put forward in the same newspaper by America’s Endocrine Society that scientific research showed medical interventions improved the well-being of gender-confused people.
the risks are significant and include sterility, lifelong dependence on medication and the anguish of regret
Expressing surprise at the Society’s position, the group of experienced professionals stated: “This claim is not supported by the best available evidence.
“Every systematic review of evidence to date, including one published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, has found the evidence for mental-health benefits of hormonal interventions for minors to be of low or very low certainty.
“By contrast, the risks are significant and include sterility, lifelong dependence on medication and the anguish of regret.”
“For this reason,” the letter continued, “more and more European countries and international professional organizations” prioritise talking therapies over “hormones and surgeries”.
It described the “politicization” of healthcare in the US for people confused about their gender as “unfortunate”.
And concluded: “The way to combat it is for medical societies to align their recommendations with the best available evidence”.
In June, NHS England announced its intention not to ‘routinely commission’ puberty-blocking drugs for gender-confused children and young people.
The announcement came following consideration of the Cass Review on clinical practice at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service.
The controversial Tavistock clinic is due to close next year and be replaced by two regional hubs which will operate under interim guidance informed by findings from the Cass Review.
Under interim specifications, NHS England said that the “primary intervention” for gender-confused children and young people under the new service is to be through “psychological” support.