As President Joe Biden and the U.S. government go all-in on touting transgender treatments for minors, the U.K. is reportedly retreating from such measures, with new guidance revealing a stunning evolution. A new Telegraph story details how England’s National Health Service (NHS) is embracing a radically different idea: childhood transgender identity generally doesn’t extend into adulthood. The outlet encouraged doctors in its draft guidance to recognize such ideology could simply be a “transient phase,” and young, pre-pubescent children should be treated based on “evidence that, in most cases, gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence.” The document also addressed concerns over puberty-blocking drugs, which critics allege have little to no research shedding light on potential ramifications. Based on the text, the U.K. will move to more closely monitor these drugs in research settings.
“In view of the uncertainties surrounding their use, consideration should be given to the rapid establishment of the necessary research infrastructure to prospectively enrol young people being considered for puberty-blocking drugs into a formal research programme, with adequate follow-up into adulthood,” the draft document reads. Even social transitioning seemed to be discouraged and more tightly controlled. This form of transitioning doesn’t involve drugs or surgeries, per se, but does include changing pronouns and clothing to align with the opposite gender. The draft guidance said social transitioning shouldn’t be seen as a “neutral act,” as it could have a profound impact on kids. “The interim service specification sets out more clearly that the clinical approach in regard to pre-pubertal children will reflect evidence that in most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence,” the document reads.
It continues, “for adolescents, social transition should only be considered where the approach is necessary for the alleviation or prevention of, clinically significant distress or significant impairment in social functioning and the young person is able to fully comprehend the implications of affirming a social transition.” So, contrary to the affirmation-only approach currently dominating American culture, doctors and medical personnel are encouraged to watch and see how young people change and develop. The NHS is making these changes after an independent review was commissioned in September 2020 to assess the state of transgender health care. Led by Dr. Hilary Cass, formerly president of Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, the review followed major evolutions and changes among people experiencing gender incongruence. One of the issues driving the investigation was the sharp rise in young people being referred for treatment to address transgender issues.
“In 2021/22 there were over 5,000 referrals into the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) run by Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust,” the NHS document reads. “This compares to just under 250 referrals in 2011/12.” Another issue is a lack of information to inform families on making decisions with life-long impact. These draft changes also coincide with the NHS’s earlier decision to close the controversial Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at Tavistock, where children received gender services. Investigators found the clinic, described as the “world’s largest pediatric gender clinic”, allowed transgender identity issues to overshadow other mental health ailments. Tavistock will close down in the spring, and other services will be launched under new guidelines. Cass said the treatments at the clinic put young people “at considerable risk” of mental distress.
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