First Do No Harm: the Ethics of Transgender Healthcare, House of Lords

Last week an event sponsored by Lord Moonie in the House of Lords for Standing for Women brought together a panel of medical experts and parent organisations from the UK and the US to speak on the subject of childhood transition. This is an issue which has been very much in the news over the past few months as details have emerged of the serious ethical concerns of clinicians and ex-clinicians at the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service.

Given the seriousness of the issue and the fact that it concerns children, you would expect this important event to have been well-attended by members of every political party. In fact only one Member of Parliament, David Davies MP, and one Member of the Lords, Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, came along. We are very grateful to them both for their attendance.

On the day before the event Lord Moonie resigned from the Labour Party after an investigation was launched into complaints of his alleged ‘transphobia.’ “I feel free to carry on campaigning for women” he tweeted.

Our gratitude goes to Lord Moonie for his integrity and courage in speaking out on behalf of women and children and for sponsoring an event of such vital importance. Our thanks also go to Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull and Venice Allan for their vision in organising this event and inviting us to speak.

Here we publish our talk in full, together with links to the talks from the distinguished speakers on the panel: Marcus Evans, former Consultant Adult Psychotherapist, Clinical Director of the Adult and Adolescent departments and ex-governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, Richard Byng, GP and Professor in Primary Care Research, University of Plymouth, Michael K. Laidlaw, MD, Board Certified Endocrinologist from the United States and Leila Leoncavallo, Legislative and Policy Consultant to the Kelsey Coalition.

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House of Lords 15 May 2019

The spread of an ideology and the targeting of children in UK schools

Over the past decade we have seen an exponential rise in the number of child and adolescent referrals to the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service. This must be viewed within the context of the current worldwide cultural obsession with ‘gender identity,’ driven by a global transgender activist movement. Labelling children ‘transgender’ politicises the child. Whereas a child with gender dysphoria may be helped and supported, the ‘transgender child’ becomes an emblem of a social justice movement and may be used to provide ‘proof’ of an ideology in order to further wider political goals.

The groups providing professional training for both the NHS and teachers, such as GIRES, Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence, are not clinical or educational professionals or child development experts, but lobby groups at the forefront of shaping public policy and government legislation for the whole of society. They are heavily funded by government departments and lottery grants and they advise and provide training for the police, the Home Office, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Prison and Probation service.  

These groups promote an extremist ideology through two key campaign aims: to replace biological sex with ‘gender identity’ as the cultural and legal distinction between men and women and to establish ‘affirmation’ and social transition as the only legitimate approach towards children with gender dysphoria. This goal involves the indoctrination of all children into the essentialist ideology of ‘brain gender’ that activists campaign to enforce throughout society.

From picture books in the Early Years classroom to CBBC documentaries targeting 6 – 12 year-olds, children are being taught that to be a boy or a girl is a choice and that their internally-held subjective feelings override their biological sex, which is merely ‘assigned’ to them at birth. Children are learning in school that they have an innate ‘gender identity’ which they need to explore in order to find out if they are a boy or a girl. They are taught that only they know who they are and nobody else has the right to ask, a message which is a staple of transgender political campaining. Transgender schools guidance enforces the collusion of teachers in the adoption of the affirmative approach and the denial of objective biological reality.

We see young people being groomed by activists on social media, encouraged to reject their families and join their new rainbow family where “we understand you.” We know children are being coached online on how to get hormones, to use the threat of suicide, and to condemn their parents as transphobic if they don’t immediately ‘affirm’ them. Schools guidance encourages teachers to promise confidentiality, facilitate a child’s transition behind their parents’ backs and direct the child towards transgender support groups. A child who identifies as transgender is placed outside safeguarding and outside parental protection, leaving them vulnerable to influence from external agencies.

The targeting of children by activists has had stark results. In 2009/10 there were 56 referrals of boys and 40 referrals of girls to the Tavistock clinic. In 2017/18 there were 713 boys and 1,806girls. This represents a 1,173% increase in referrals of boys, or over 11 times,  and a 4,415% increase in referrals of girls, or over 40 times. The male/female ratio reversal has happened worldwide and the group inflating these unprecedented referral figures is teenage girls.

Rapid onset of gender dysphoria in adolescent girls, with no history of gender dysphoria in childhood, is a previously unheard-of presentation; it is a newly-created phenomenon for this generation.

Historically, adult transsexuals were predominantly male, comprised of two distinct groups which have been scientifically well studied for decades. Autogynephilia (to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of oneself as a female) is the most common motivation for sex reassignment treatment. The rare condition of childhood-onset gender dysphoria was mostly experienced only by a much smaller group of homosexual transsexuals. Treated with a cautious ‘watch and wait’ approach, only around 15 – 20% of this group persist to become transsexual as adults. The far more likely outcome is that these children will grow up to be gay.

If we apply the past 15 – 20% persistence rate to the 96 children referred to the Tavistock in 2009/10 we can estimate that less than twenty persisted to become transgender as adults.

In 2017/18 from a total referral number of 2,519 and a rate of 45% of over-twelves going forward to the clinic, the eventual persistence rate will have increased exponentially. We know now that taking puberty blockers virtually guarantees progression to cross-sex hormones. Puberty blockers were introduced specifically to treat a particular group of children whose gender dysphoric feelings had persisted since early childhood, and prior to 2010 were not given before the age of 16 in the UK. Teenagers developing gender dysphoria at the onset of adolescence have not ‘persisted’ in any sense, which means that puberty blockers are now being given to a cohort who do not fulfill the original criteria for this treatment.

Lobby groups claim that past desistance rates have been debunked; that those children who desisted were not really trans anyway, they were only gender non-conforming. This does not explain the decrease in the number of children who turn out to be simply gender non-conforming and the vast increase in the number of children who turn out to be ‘transgender’ over the past decade. Gendered Intelligence have been going into schools since 2008 and over the ensuing decade more and more lobby groups have joined them in planting the idea in the heads of impressionable children that gender non-conformity = trans.

Through teaching this new model of understanding to children in schools, together with a policy of affirmation, social transition and puberty blockers, we are now creating psychologically and medically manufactured persistence rates.

Unquestioning affirmation is not a neutral act of kindness, but an intervention that actively shapes and changes a child’s development. Social transition by trusted adults forms or reinforces a child’s sense of themselves and their perception of reality. The child’s brain is impacted by life experience and environmental factors. Living, and being affirmed daily as the opposite sex will affect and change neural pathways, creating a self-fulfilled prophesy of persistence.

Social transition has already been found to be the most powerful predictor of persistence in a 2013 research study by Dr Thomas Steensma from the Netherlands.

The lobby groups who aggressively campaign for the affirmative approach are the same groups who lobby the NHS for earlier and earlier medical intervention for children. Young women who regret the serious and permanent changes to their bodies after taking testosterone ask “why did no-one tell me I could never actually be a boy?”

The body-hatred and disassociation not uncommon in adolescent girls has found a new conceptual framework. Mind/body disassociation, previously recognised as a symptom of trauma, has been recast as heroic expression of the ‘authentic self.’

Validation of inner feelings as reality, casting the body as an inconvenient mistake, means that the body may then be treated with contempt. When we fail to protect the child’s body, children are put at risk. As a result, we are seeing irreversible harms done to young, healthy bodies; predominantly female bodies, lesbian bodies,  the bodies of young people with autism, mental health problems, and troubled backgrounds or trauma, including past sexual abuse.

These are our most vulnerable young people. I have witnessed the appalling damage this wreaks on families who find their child mechanically repeating dogma, and bear witness to their worsening mental health after they ‘come out’ as trans.

It is time to stop using children as test subjects for gender identity and queer theory. Serious concerns have recently been raised by clinicians in the UK, Denmark and Sweden. Let the UK take the lead in recognising the status of childhood, in protecting children from ideology masquerading as fact, and in stopping this medical experiment on children’s bodies and psychological experiment on children’s minds.

Stephanie Davies-Arai

Talk by Marcus Evans

Talk by Richard Byng

Talk by Kelsey Coalition

Published letter to the Endocrine Society by Michael Laidlaw et al

An excellent report of this event was written by Lily Maynard and published at this link: http://lilymaynard.com/first-do-no-harm-the-ethics-of-transgender-healthcare/

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Laila namdarkhan

    We see transgender /queer ideology creeping into
    everyday life bitterly eroding women/children’s rights, changing language and erasing the rights of the child to be a child!

  2. charles lewis

    Thank goodness for the work of transgendertrend such as the above strongly worded persuasive rebuttal to the mad tenets of the transgender cult. The toxic efforts of the TG activists have been extraordinarily successful across the Atlantic and in Scotland, enabled by cretinous ‘progressive’ politicians and cowardly psychologists. Let us hope we her can escape that fate. Everyone concerned with this hugely divisive area of therapy should read, mark and inwardly digest what you have written, especially the last paragraph, where you say stop using children as test subjects for gender identity and queer theory and start recognising the status of childhood, by protecting children from ideology masquerading as fact, and stopping this medical experiment on children’s bodies and this psychological experiment on children’s minds.

  3. Elisabeth Brook

    I am heartened by reading the texts of this gathering, even though the subject matter is grim. I also know that we are doing our children a great deal of harm when we allow a groups political agenda to take over the care of our children. I am so glad there are others who understand how vital it is that we treat each precious child as an individual, and not lump them together in an effort to create a stronger cult mentality. I think we will look back on this time in our history with feelings of shame and regret for having given up on the true needs of our children and experimented medically and psychologically on them.

  4. Joan Appleton

    No child should be exposed to what is an exploitation of their vulnerability towards being the biological human person they are.
    What does require exploring is the existing social structures composed of gender sterotypes; what and who makes a woman/ male. I argue that there would be no need for any child or person of either sex to alter their body to suit a trumped up and deeply entrenched system of division,causing confusion, pain and doubt.
    I wonder if ,within the medical echelons, these fixed and rigid stereotypes are brought up to be explored within therapy or counselling. To do so is of fundamental importance to a young person presenting with ‘dysphoria’, where affirmation of the biology they are born with is absolutely ok.
    Girls, boys are equally capable of attaining an equally positive life within their biological truth.
    In other words, their bodies are just fine the way they are.
    There are many good role models especially for girls,steering then away from the ‘men are stronger,bigger, better ‘ myth.
    This is what needs promoting more than ever now.

  5. Daidri Vejil

    God bless you for what you are doing. My 18 year old BiPolar daughter (who showed zero signs of any gender dysphoria )came home 7 months ago and declared she had decided she was a boy ! She then promptly went to a clinic where they prescribed her testosterone after a 5 minute conversation. I know this because I joined her at the appointment. I was outraged and disgusted. As far as im concerned its medical malpractice! She has been in and out of psyc wards for the last 5 years. This information was in her medical record and presented no concern for this “doctor”.

  6. Philip McBean

    As parents of a 16 year old girl, has been and is still going through her own rapid gendre identity crises during the last 2 years. Who had no previous years evidence, signs of being of being like a boy, or expressing feelings for wanting to be a boy. The words in this article and contributions from these distinguished people, give my wife and myself hope that people are starting to see through the on line ideology of transgendre in teenagers. Teenagers who are naturally feeling self conscious during puberty years. These views need to be said louder by politicians, doctors, health care workers and CAHMS, for our families sake.

  7. sly fawkes

    I am quite sure if I were growing up now rather than in the 70’s, I would have ended up transitioning and regretted it.
    I realized early on that girls were treated as inferior, and it enraged me.
    I didn’t want to be treated like a girl. I wanted the same opportunities and respect that was given to the boys.
    I was always fine with being female. I just didn’t like the way girls were talked down to and not allowed to take the cool classes like metal shop. We had to take freaking home ec. I knew how to cook! Learning to weld would have been interesting to me, but I was not allowed on the basis of having ovaries.
    So, of course, rather than eradicating crap gender roles which pigeonhole people into certain behaviors, I must have actually been a boy and should have been given puberty blockers.
    Which would not have messed me up even more than I already was. (sarcasm)
    SMDH.

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