Over two thousand children were referred to the NHS’ gender identity clinic in the past year, prompting fresh concerns that more and more young people are being pushed into transsexualism.
New statistics from the Tavistock and Portman trust showed children as young as four continue to be referred to its Gender Identity Development Service – as well as nearly 600 16-year-olds.
The figures are a 25 per cent increase from the previous year, with girls outnumbering boys by more than two to one.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of parents’ group Transgender Trend, issued a warning over the new figures.
“Teenagers are being influenced by an online culture which celebrates medical transition as cool.
“Girls especially are being encouraged to identify as boys if they don’t fit a stereotype. All debate is shut down as transphobic.”
‘No single explanation’
In total 2,356 under 18-year olds were referred to the service. The largest age group consisted of teenagers between 14 and 17, although 157 children under ten were also encouraged to go.
Dr Polly Carmichael, Gender Identity Development Service Director, said there was “no single explanation” for the rise.
However, she acknowledged the increase in public discussion about transsexualism.
Currently in order to be legally recognised as the opposite sex, individuals must live as that sex for two years and be medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
But the Government is currently considering changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which could include ‘self-declaration’.
Earlier this month transsexual people spoke out against the idea, saying that allowing people to change sex with an “over-the-counter style self-declaration” blurs the distinction between those who have had surgery, and those who have no intention of doing so.
They said it was problematic when male-bodied people “demand the rights afforded to women as a protected sex, including access to their private spaces”.