Supreme Court appeal sought in landmark case against gender clinic

Keira Bell will seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in her attempt to protect children from being prescribed experimental transgender drugs.

Bell, who had been given the drugs as a teenager, made the announcement on Friday after the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that children were unlikely to have the capacity to consent to puberty-blocking drugs.

It said the High Court “was not in a position to generalise about the capability of persons of different ages to understand what is necessary for them to be competent to consent to the administration of puberty blockers”.

‘Pathway to sterilisation’

Bell was prescribed puberty blockers at 16 years-of-age by The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which runs England’s only NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). She subsequently underwent irreversible surgery to appear male.

She believes the case has already served as “a catalyst for change” by shining “a light into the dark corners of a medical scandal”.

In a written statement, Bell responded: “I am obviously disappointed with the ruling of the Court today and especially that it did not grapple with the significant risk of harm that children are exposed to by being given powerful experimental drugs.”

shining a light into the dark corners of a medical scandal

She also expressed surprise “that the Court was not concerned that children as young as 10 have been put on a pathway to sterilisation”.

Protections removed

Bell’s lawyer Paul Conrathe said the ruling had removed “a sensible, necessary and proportionate protection for vulnerable young children”.

He went on to describe the treatment offered by GIDS as “poorly evidenced” with “lifelong irreversible consequences”.

Earlier this year, Bell called on the medical profession to help young people struggling with gender dysphoria, rather than driving them towards irreversible surgery “as the only possible answer”.

The 24-year-old said: “A lot of girls are transitioning because they’re in pain, whether it’s from mental health disorders, or life trauma, or other reasons. I know what it’s like to get caught up in dreaming that transitioning will fix all of this.”

Also see:

Gender Identity Development Service

Safeguarding officer sidelined by trans clinic for raising safety concerns

Children usually go on from puberty blockers to sex-swap drugs, study finds

Ex-trans: ‘NHS should have challenged me over belief I was a boy’

NHS announces ‘immediate suspension’ of trans hormone referrals for under-16s

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