Trans Specialists Blame ‘Toxic Media’ for Creating ‘Culture of Fear’ Around Child Gender Services

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 06: Reveller with a daughter riding on a scooter take part i
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A group of ‘gender identity specialists’ in Britain have complained that the “toxic media” has fostered a “climate of fear” surrounding transgender medicine being provided to children following the announced closure of the infamous Tavistock centre over safety concerns.

An open letter signed by trans medicine practitioners, half of whom are currently or were previously employed by the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust in London. In July, NHS England ordered that the Tavistock Centre close after the independent review from Dr Cass found that the treatments offered were “not a safe or viable long-term option” for children.

The co-organisers of the letter, Dr Laura Charlton, and Dr Aidan Kelly, who both previously worked for Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service told the Guardian newspaper that they felt the clinic was being misrepresented in the media and by the reviews.

“We acknowledge that there were some valid concerns about the GIDS service, not least the significant waiting times, but we take issue with how it is now being portrayed. This is the first time that so many specialists working within UK gender services have come together to speak out about their portrayal, often by people who do not share our specialist knowledge.”

“We know that colleagues are especially keen to underline that, if they left GIDS, it was often because of the toxic media and political environment surrounding the service rather than because they disagreed with practice there,” they added.

The letter itself went on to object to a statement from the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK (ACP-UK) which seconded the independent review from Dr Hillary Cass that found that the centre was implementing an “affirmative” approach to allegedly transgender children, with whistleblowers claiming that the “specialists” at the clinic had used questionable means of testing whether children were worthy of being placed on hormone-altering drugs, such as if girls failed to show interest in “pink ribbons and dollies“.

The ACP-UK said last month that the decision to close the clinic was “precipitated by a number of systemic failings” such as the clinic taking an “approach that was predominantly affirmative, rather than exploratory”.

In response, the group of gender identity specialists said: “We are disappointed that a false binary continues to be perpetuated between ‘affirmative’ practice and exploration and curiosity.”

They claimed that taking an “affirmative” approach to supposedly transgender children is “often misrepresented” as being the “preferred outcome” of the healthcare staff, claiming that the Tavistock Centre did not operate in a manner in which a “particular path or identity is privileged over any other, and gender diversity is viewed as a part of ordinary human diversity.”

The use of the so-called affirmative approach to children questioning their gender has become a point of controversy, given the steep rise in children being diagnosed with gender dysphoria at the Tavistock Center, with the number of girls being diagnosed increasing by 5,000 per cent over the past decade.

A whistleblower from the clinic, nurse Susan Evans, claimed that there were political motivations behind the rise in children being prescribed hormone-blocking drugs, saying: “The treatment pathway of children with gender dysphoria [was] becoming ever more politicised, and moving away from high standards of clinical mental healthcare with good assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment.”

The letter went on to criticise the use of terms such as “gender dysphoria” and “gender incongruence”, arguing that more “neutral” terms such as “gender questioning” or “gender diverse” should be used instead. They went on to also criticise the use of the words “male” and “female”, calling for them to be replaced with their Newspeak alternatives: “assigned (assumed) male at birth (AMAB)” or “assigned (assumed) female at birth (AFAB)”.

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