This post is about an evolving political situation in the UK around gender identity ideology, the capture of institutions and the harm being done to children and teens. If you want to why know this matters to New Zealand, it’s because we don’t know to what extent this is also happening in NZ.
We don’t know because of No Debate, a long term strategy that calls anyone trying to talk about these issues a bigot, seeks to deplatform them, and causes people that speak up strongly to risk their jobs and careers.
This has meant that progressive media in the UK for a long time wouldn’t cover the stories. It’s also meant that not enough research has been done (internationally) because researchers feared for their funding as well as being branded a transphobe and socially shamed.
In the UK No Debate still holds a repressive sway, but there have been key tipping points that have blown the debate open. Multiple court cases and people, usually women, risking their jobs and careers to speak out (as well as being subjected to some of the worst misogynistic targeting online) mean that MSM media coverage has improved, and legislative and policy institutions are examining the issues.
In New Zealand this hasn’t happened yet, we are still in the No Debate stage.
The Times in the UK reported yesterday,
Tavistock gender clinic forced to shut over safety fears
The NHS is shutting down its gender identity clinic for children after a damning review found that it failed vulnerable under-18s.
Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) clinic has been accused of rushing children into life-altering treatment on puberty blockers.
The paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, who is leading a review of the service, has today issued a series of recommendations for a radical overhaul of how the NHS treats young people who are questioning their gender identity.
She found that the Tavistock clinic was “not a safe or viable long-term option” and that other mental health issues were “overshadowed” when gender was raised by children referred to the clinic.
The Tavistock is to be replaced with a number of regional services and an “appropriate multi-professional workforce to enable them to provide an integrated model of care that manages the holistic needs of this population”. This demonstrates that this closure of GIDS isn’t driven by transphobia, but instead seeks to replace a dysfunctional service with one that will serve the needs of distressed gender non conforming children including but not limited to trans kids.
One of the most damning aspects of the GIDS case has been the discovery that they weren’t keeping adequate records.
Cass said these [new] clinics must have “established academic and education functions” to monitor evidence on children who are put on hormone therapy. The Tavistock clinic failed to collect sufficient data on the impact of puberty blockers in under-16s.
She said there was currently “insufficient evidence” for her to make any firm recommendations around their routine use.
Cass told the NHS to “enrol young people being considered for hormone treatment into a formal research protocol with adequate follow up into adulthood, with a more immediate focus on the questions regarding puberty blockers”.
The closure is the result of a decade long process of whistleblowing by staff and activism by detrans people and gender critical feminists. The decision follows the establishment by the NHS of the Cass Review, an ongoing independent investigation into the Tavistock and gender identity services for children and teens in the UK.
In 2009–10, 97 patients were referred to GIDS.
By 2015–16, this had increased fourteen-fold to 1419 and in 2017–18 to 2,519.
In that time there was a major shift in demographics, from referred children being predominantly boys to overwhelmingly girls. Girls with gender dysphoria account for much of the fourteen fold increase in patients. Many of these girls are lesbian, who end up being transitioned into trans men, including with hormones and surgery. Many children also autistic, autism often goes hand in hand with gender non-conformity.
GII (gender identity ideology) posits this is a result of better treatment and access to services. The affirmation-only approach with children is that if girl says they are a boy then you should accept that and treat them as if they are. Girls coming into the Tavistock are met with the medical and affirmation only models that fast track them to puberty blockers and open the pathway to cross sex hormones and surgery (which most going on to do).
Gender critical feminists say that the increase is due to,
Gender critical positions also say that affirmation-only is a form of conversion therapy whereby lebsians are transitioned into trans men. If you want to know why there has been opposition from progressives to conversion therapy bans, this is why.
Affirmation-only has meant that other issues the child may be dealing with have been ignored or inadequately addressed eg sexual or physical abuse, eating disorders, depression, mental illness, the physical and emotional distress of puberty, and the increasing societal pressures to be gender conforming .
Instead of looking at the whole child and their environment, affirmation only narrows treatment options to the single path of transition: social transition, hormonal treatments (puberty blockers, and later cross sex hormones), and eventual surgery.
In the past few years detrans people have organised and been speaking out. GII says they’re rare, or that they’re only detransitioning because they didn’t haven’t had good support to be trans, or that they weren’t really trans to begin with. All marginalising arguments that have combined with No Debate to suppress detrans voices.
If conservatives had been pushing GII, the left would be in an outrage. Overmedicalisation of children, forcing them into opposite but fixed gender roles, suppressing the voices of marginalised children and youth. These are all things we should have been challenging, and we’ve failed hugely.
Think this is all bigoted overstating? Gender identity ideology, including where adopted into medical institutions like the NZ MoH, has been claiming that puberty blockers are “safe and fully reversible”. Hilary Cass in her letter to the NHS last week (PDF),
A further concern is that adolescent sex hormone surges may trigger the opening of a critical period for experience-dependent rewiring of neural circuits underlying executive function (i.e. maturation of the part of the brain concerned with planning, decision making and judgement).
If this is the case, brain maturation may be temporarily or permanently disrupted by puberty blockers, which could have significant impact on the ability to make complex risk-laden decisions, as well as possible longer-term neuropsychological consequences. To date, there has been very limited research on the short-, medium- or longer-term impact of puberty- blockers on neurocognitive development.
Meanwhile in the US, this is happening. Below is a video of 17 year old destransitioner Chloe Cole describing her transition in clear terms to the California State Assembly.
She was medically transitioned from ages 13 to 16, the doctor affirming her gender identity as male and brushing off her parents’ concerns about medical and surgical treatment. They were told that she would kill herself without transition (a common narrative).
Cole was put on puberty blockers after a few appointments. At 15 she wanted to remove her breasts and took part in a breast removal group for girls.
Around twelve girls that thought they were men. Most my age or younger. None of us were going to be men, we were fleeing from the uncomfortable feeling of becoming women. I was unknowingly cutting off my true self from my body, irreversibly and painfully.
Our trans identities were not questioned. I went through with the surgery.
Cole later detransitioned. She talks about not being capable of making what should have been informed consent decisions. She has no breasts, blood clots in her urine, an inability to fully empty her bladder. She doesn’t know if she can bear children, the doctors who put her on puberty blockers and testosterone don’t know either.
I remain unconvinced that children distressed about their sex and struggling with mental health issues, can consent to this medicalisation or know what the long term social and emotional consequences are. They are being lied to about the physical consequences are, including ongoing dysfunction and pain.
Anyone with a political opinion about the sex/gender wars, or gender identity, should be listening to detrans people.
I could go on. My twitter timeline is flooded with stories in the past day, it’s not possible to keep up. I’m hoping that people will add more detail in the comments below.
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