While not eliminating transgender treatment for children, England’s National Health Service is at least tightening the rules regarding medical and social gender transitioning. The NHS is issuing new rules when it comes to the transgender process. The new guidelines focus on emotional health over a medical approach, place doctors in charge, and even state that gender dysphoria is often just a phase of life.
Children who were—or believed they were—experiencing gender dysphoria have been referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust operates two clinics in England where the child meets not with physicians but with an array of therapists and psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Depending on the findings, the child might undergo therapy and counseling, including family therapy, or be referred to the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service. Children may also be prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. The NHS site includes the statement that at the initial stages, the focus is on psychiatric treatment: “This is because in many cases gender variant behaviour or feelings disappear as children reach puberty.
But the NHS is tightening the reins on transgender treatments. Reuters notes that physicians have had harsh words for the process, which tends to rush children toward changing their genders. Families of children who wish to transition are reportedly upset that the process is becoming bogged down because of increased demand for treatment.
Reuters said that at first, the NHS stayed mum on much of what is in the new guidelines; the rules call for families and authorities to be notified in some cases in which minors obtain hormone drugs and puberty blockers through private means. The NHS process can take years, which incentivizes young people to find the drugs they want through avenues other than the government.
The Daily Mail reported that NHS is stating that the new guidance informs doctors that while they should be open to exploring all treatment options, they should also keep in mind that the child may be undergoing a “transient phase” and that “most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence.” Aside from medical treatment, the guidelines also state that social transitioning, which can include changing a child’s clothing, preferred pronouns, use of bathrooms, etc., should not be referred to as a “neutral act” since it will impact a child’s psychology. Notably, the guidance states:
The clinical approach has to be mindful of the risks of an inappropriate gender transition and the difficulties that the child may experience in returning to the original gender role upon entering puberty if the gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence,
The guidance also tells doctors that social transitioning should be used for older teens as a “last resort.” The piece quoted Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and the director of the campaign group Genspect as saying:
Professionals working with children need to reflect on that and make sure they aren’t inadvertently causing harm by providing short term relief that leads to long term distress.
“At Genspect we believe that children should be free to wear whatever clothes they want, boys should be free to run around waving fairy wands in princess dresses and girls should be free to act however they wish, yet we don’t think changing pronouns helps anyone — it creates more problems than it resolves.
According to the paper, the NHS is closing Tavistock and the current clinics this spring. The NHS determined that Tavistock had eschewed dealing with other mental issues, choosing instead to focus on gender identity. Some people have accused Tavistock of rushing children into hormone treatments and puberty blockers. The new service would be under four hospitals. While entities could refer children to the hospitals, physicians and healthcare professionals would supervise the treatments. The direct pipeline of therapist-to-drugs would be eliminated.
There will be some who will launch into low-earth orbit over this, furious that trans rights are allegedly being trampled upon by gender fascists. Others will say that while this represents a good first step, the NHS still has a way to go.
What is clear is that while the United States is wallowing in transgenderism—no matter the cost to young bodies, minds, and souls—much of the world is either rejecting such ideas or, in the case of the NHS, trying to rein it in. The United States is a very young country. We tend to forget that. While we have a history of expanding borders, we have never seen them contract, and it has been quite a long time since a serious war was fought on our soil. True national hardship and turmoil are not within recall of most people living today. We have had our share of riots and upheaval, but nothing on the scale of the Nazi blitz. In many ways, we have been in extended adolescence and have passed that on to a younger generation that knows nothing beyond its wants and, in some cases, selective rage. We have not seen this history that other nations have, and so the potential consequences of our actions have become more abstract and less concrete
That is not to say that other nations have not experienced the creeping rot that has infected the U.S. They most certainly have, but in Italy and now England, people can forecast the result of this rot. They have seen similar versions of this movie and know how it ends. We still have some lessons to learn.