UK to Scrap Transgender Proposal Out of Fear of Harming Children Who Lack ‘Decision-Making Capabilities’

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: L.G.B.T. activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018 in New York City. The group gathered to speak out against the Trump administration's stance toward transgender people. Last week, The New …
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The United Kingdom is expected to drop planned changes to the Gender Recognition Act that would have made it easier for children to change their gender.

A government consultation launched by former prime minister Theresa May in 2018 that would have allowed people to change their gender by ‘identifying’ as another, has reportedly been scrapped over fears that it would negatively impact children who lack the “decision-making capabilities” to make such a transition for themselves.

“While we believe adults should be able to live their lives, and trans rights should be respected and protected, the government also has a role to play in protecting children,” a government source told The Times.

The report that the government is set to discard planned changes to the act flies in the face of the former prime mister who said in 2018: “What was very clear from our survey is that transgender people across the UK find the process of legally changing their gender overly bureaucratic and invasive. I want to see a process that is more streamlined and de-medicalised, because being trans should never be treated as an illness.”

Currently in the UK children can start gender transition therapy without the need for parental consent after just three sessions of psychological examination.  Though the average age for such treatment is 14, children as young as 12 can receive puberty blockers. The National Health Service (NHS) in England has ordered a review of the use of such drugs.

In December a report found that 35 psychologists from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust which runs the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), have resigned over the past three years. The report also found that the number of children treated by the service increased from 770 a decade ago to 2,590 last year.

The change of direction for the government follows a similar move in Sweden, which was moving strongly in the direction of lowering the minimum age for gender reassignment surgery before shelving the parliamentary debate last year, The Guardian reports. This was followed by controversy surrounding the evidence the Swedish government was basing its decisions on, questioning whether allowing younger children to have their sex surgically changed was actually beneficial and effective in preventing suicides.

Transgender rights have become a hot topic in the race to replace Jeremey Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party, with the heir apparent to head the far-left of the party, Rebecca Long-Bailey signing a pledge that called for the expulsion of “transphobic” people from the party.

One of her rivals in the leadership race, MP for Wigan Lisa Nandy recently said that biological males should be able to transfer into all-female prisons if they identify as a woman, including convicted rapists.

“I believe fundamentally in people’s right to self-ID. I believe the gender recognition act strikes the wrong balance in relation to that,” said Nandy, adding: “Crimes that are recorded should be recorded as that person wishes having gone through that process.”

“Trans women are women and trans men are men and should be accommodated in the prison of their choosing,” she concluded.

The proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act have been met with resistance in the UK from feminist groups who fear that the changes would negatively impact women’s rights in the country.

Maya Forstater, who lost her job at the Centre for Global Development for tweeting that “men cannot change into women,” said: “I do not believe male people can be women. If ‘trans rights’ means males in women’s single-sex spaces, sports [and] associations there is a conflict w[ith] women’s rights.”

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.