In 2018 there was a lot going on at the Tavistock GIDS; the Trust had commissioned an internal review following serious concerns expressed by clinicians, documented in a report by consultant psychiatrist David Bell. The document we share in this post tells the story of the parents who challenged the Tavistock at the same time as all this was happening.
Hannah Barnes’ book Time to Think documents in detail the doubts and concerns expressed internally at the Trust at this time and the attempts made by whistleblowers, clinicians and governors to effect positive change in a service they were worried was harming children.
What is not known is that at the same time as facing internal complaints, the Trust was dealing with exactly the same concerns from outside the clinic, from parents of children who had developed a transgender identity during adolescence. One group of parents wrote a letter to Polly Carmichael, copied to the Chair, Chief Executive and governing body of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, outlining their worries that this group of children was being fast-tracked to adult services without adequate assessment. They also expressed their concerns about the 17-25 year-old age group who were being referred to adult gender clinics operating with little scrutiny.
Their letter was followed by a meeting with Paul Jenkins (CEO) and Sally Hodges (Children,Young Adults and Families Director), where the parents presented a 22 page dossier of evidence that illustrated their concerns. Frustrated by the lack of subsequent action, this group of parents then shared their initial letter with the Observer.
The parents’ experience at the Tavistock mirrored the experience of clinicians who had expressed concerns. The parents who challenged the Tavistock GIDS in 2018 felt that their concerns were not taken seriously and that the Trust was more concerned with protecting its reputation than safeguarding children.
While the lobby groups Mermaids, GIRES and Gendered Intelligence enjoyed real engagement with the Tavistock GIDS and had their demands acted upon, parents who did not believe in the gender identity ideology they promoted were frozen out. Bayswater Support are the latest parent group to experience this. At Transgender Trend we first expressed our concerns to the then Head of Psychology, Bernadette Wren, in March 2016.
Read our downloadable report of the parents who challenged the Tavistock GIDS here: