May 28, 2024

UK medicos at loggerheads over transgender treatment for children

Is a civil war between English doctors looming over transgender treatment for children and adolescents? 

On the one hand the Cass Review commissioned by England’s National Health Service recommended that the country’s leading gender clinic be closed. A couple of weeks ago, the UK banned routine prescription of puberty blockers to teenagers. It said that “we have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of [puberty blockers] to make the treatment routinely available at this time.” 

On the other hand, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has just published a scathing attack on a conservative approach to gender dysphoria. In a comment on a document from the Department of Education, Professor Andrew Rowland questions whether parents should be consulted about how to deal with a gender-questioning or gender dysphoric child. 

We are particularly concerned by the provisions set out for primary school age children. Studies show that most people who experience gender dysphoria first experience this between the ages of 3 and 7 years. The guidance’s suggestion that ‘primary school aged children should not have different pronouns to their sex-based pronouns used about them’ removes an opportunity for primary schools to manage distress in young children who are gender questioning or with gender incongruence. 

He believes that English education bureaucrats should take a leaf from their counterparts in Scotland, whose stand is very different. 

The RCPCH’s stand is sure to be controversial. One critic, the Family Education Trust, tweeted that “It is hugely concerning to see that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health thinks that parents are a risk to their children and that 4-11 year olds should be allowed to socially transition at primary school”.