The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), run by the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service (NHS) Trust in the UK is offering appointments, diagnosis, and even medication for children who are “transitioning” because they suffer from gender dysphoria. The children in question can be as young as three years old.
The Daily Mail reported, “last year 2,590 children were referred to the clinic, a rise of more than 400 per cent since 2013, leading to a two-year waiting list.” This waiting list is one of the reasons the clinic will now offer online treatment. “Ten of the children were aged three or four and dozens more were of primary-school age. The treatment includes giving the children hormone-blocking drugs.”
Puberty-blocking drugs are highly controversial and can lead to infertility and sterilization. A review of the scientific evidence for this procedure was done by Paul W. Hruz, Lawrence S. Mayer, and Paul R. McHugh and found that “the evidence for the safety and efficacy of puberty suppression is thin, based more on the subjective judgments of clinicians than on rigorous empirical evidence. It is, in this sense, still experimental — yet it is an experiment being conducted in an uncontrolled and unsystematic manner. In their detailed and meticulously-researched article, they raise troubling questions in regards to side-effects and consequences of using puberty-blocking drugs.
Though there is very little scientific evidence relating to the effects of puberty suppression on children with gender dysphoria — and there certainly have been no controlled clinical trials comparing the outcomes of puberty suppression to the outcomes of alternative therapeutic approaches — there are reasons to suspect that the treatments could have negative consequences for neurological development. Scientists at the University of Glasgow recently used puberty-suppressing treatments on sheep, and found that the spatial memory of male sheep was impaired by puberty suppression using GnRH analogues, and that adult sheep that were treated with GnRH analogues near puberty continued to show signs of impaired spatial memory.
Even as experts are sounding alarm bells about the safety of such drugs, the doctors of NHS are increasing the number of children they prescribe them to exponentially by adding “telemedical” appointments to their process.
A spokesman for the Tavistock and Portman Trust told The Daily Mail they are “using digital technologies to increase efficiency and to enhance patient experience where appropriate is an area of development across the NHS.” They went on to say, “The Trust is working to minimise waiting times and make clinical support easier to access, including eliminating travel time for young people and their families, which will also allow us to offer appointments earlier and later in the day.”
The clinic is offering this “sex change by Skype” in the middle of rising controversy from psychologists and other professionals who say these methods are rushing children towards irreversible consequences. Some experts are calling this method child abuse. PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil recently spoke to Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an edocrinologist, who says these drugs are giving children a disease.
“I call it a development blocker — it’s actually causing a disease,” Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an independent private practice endocrinologist in Rocklin, Calif. who consults with Sutter Roseville Medical Center, told PJ Media. The disease in question is hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. It occurs when the brain fails to send the right signal to the gonads to make the hormones necessary for development.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter