Three quarters of UK medical schools have endorsed an LGBT charter calling for a broad ‘conversion therapy’ ban.
The charter, created by the Association of LGBTQ+ Doctors and Dentists (GLADD), Lancaster University Medical School, and other “queer medical activists”, also states that signatories must “affirm” a patient’s self-declared gender-identity.
On Monday, the document’s lead author Dr Joseph Hartland boasted that only 9 of the UK’s 44 medical schools have still to be persuaded to sign GLADD’s Conversion Therapy Charter.
According to the charter, ‘conversion therapy’ embraces “a therapeutic approach, or any model or individual viewpoint that demonstrates an assumption that any sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently preferable to any other”.
It explains that the term ‘conversion’ can “imply a moral judgement, the conversion from a sinful situation of wrong behaviour to an accepted situation of good behaviour”.
Medical schools which sign the statement not only commit to supporting the ban, but also agree to “include authentic and joyful representation” of LGBT people in the curricula.
The stated aim of the charter is to ensure that trainee doctors and dentists are “free from any agenda that favours one gender identity or sexual orientation as preferable over other gender and sexual diversities”.
GLADD’s requirement that medical students be taught that those with gender-confusion, including children, should be ‘unquestioningly affirmed’, and “gender identity change efforts” be banned, has been criticised.
Psychotherapist Bob Withers said such an approach risked gender-confused individuals being encouraged “down the path to medical treatment, making permanent changes to their body that they may later come to regret”.
And Transgender Trend’s Jane Galloway warned: “This means doctors will not be able to properly explore if a child has gender dysphoria, autism or something else.”
Earlier this year, NHS England announced that the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for children will close, after the Cass Review’s interim report found it was not a “safe or viable long-term option”.
In draft guidelines open for public consultation until December, NHS England has set out proposals for an interim service to replace GIDS.
The document states that clinicians should be aware that gender-confusion “may be a transient phase, particularly for pre-pubertal children, and that there will be a range of pathways to support these children and young people and a range of outcomes”.
Law firm Pogust Goodhead is pursuing group legal action against GIDS for failing in its duty of care by pursuing an “unquestioning, affirmative approach” towards gender-confused children and prescribing experimental puberty-blocking drugs.