A veritable atomic bomb has gone off in the world of transgender medicine.
The UK’s National Health Service announced on Thursday that it is closing and radically rebuilding its youth gender identity clinic because it has “rushed children into life-changing treatments,” reports The Times of London.
The decision to decentralize and completely redesign the clinic is sure to send shockwaves in the United States, where significant numbers of young people of this generation have switched genders and embarked on a trajectory of lifelong treatment of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery.
Gender dysphoria — the distress felt when a person’s gender expression doesn’t match their identity, and often a medical diagnosis required to undergo gender confirmation procedures — was a rare diagnosis in the United States just a few decades ago, usually seen in very young boys .
Today, some 300,000 young Americans between the ages of 13 and 17 identify as transgender, according to a report from the Williams Institute of the UCLA College of Law.
The majority of those young patients are adolescent girls.
A nation steps back on ‘positive care’
The UK’s NHS decision to decentralize its London clinic to treat gender dysphoria in young people and replace it with regional centers in existing children’s hospitals across the country appears to be an attack on ‘positive care’, which had become the standard in both England and England. and the United States.
Affirmative care is a clinical approach to gender dysphoria in which the physician validates a patient’s expressed gender identity, regardless of age, and often proceeds quickly to drug therapy to halt puberty and later to initiate cross-sex hormones. Ultimately, treatment may include surgery, such as double mastectomy.
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Critics of positive care in the United States and Britain, including some of the leading voices in gender medicine who are transgender themselves, have begun to argue that positive care has misdiagnosed some young people as having gender dysphoria when, in fact, she is suffering. serious psychological problems that go untreated.
In England, the National Health Service will now move forward with regional clinics that provide more “holistic care with strong links to mental health services,” The Times reports.
dr. Hilary Cass, a pediatrician, who leads the assessment at the UK’s Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service or GIDS clinic, has found that children under 18 failed at the clinic. She has called for “a radical overhaul of the way the NHS treats young people who question their gender identity,” the Times reports.
The (UK) Guardian reports that decentralizing the London clinic will also tackle the problem of overworked staff and long waiting lists for patients who are up to two years behind.
The number of referrals to the service went from 138 in 2010-11 to 2,383 in 2020-21, The Guardian reports.
US must keep an eye on Britain
Americans would be wise to look at what is happening in Western Europe as it is likely a harbinger of what will happen in our country.
One of the difficulties in discussing the issue in the United States has been the fierce backlash from transgender activists, the medical community, academia and the mainstream media. They have all promoted and even celebrated gender transition among young people without asking the necessary hard questions.
Some have worked to quell dissent.
In 2018, Lisa Littman, a physician, researcher, and then assistant professor at Brown University’s School of Public Health, saw the surprising increase in young women identifying as transgender. She published a paper describing the phenomenon as “social contagion and contagion with peers,” which she called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” perhaps caused by “social influences, parent-child conflict, and maladaptive coping mechanisms.”
The pushback was fierce as “transgender ideologues tried to silence her,” The Wall Street Journal reported. She was forced to revise her published article, but noted in the revision that “the Results section is unchanged in the updated version of the article.”
In Britain, silencing dissent was oppressive. About 35 staff members have resigned from the Gender Identity Development Service due to a lack of “credible research,” feminist, author and investigative journalist Julie Bindel reported in the news commentary site Unherd.
One of those doctors told Bindel:
“As the demand for under-18s increased, it became clear that these young girls in particular had some very serious psychological problems, but it was confirmed almost immediately that they were ‘gender dysphoric’. That diagnosis is all it takes to get stamped for testosterone and subsequent surgery. Indeed, many of us who have resigned over this are very concerned about where it is leading.”
When clinicians raised these issues, they were accused of being “transphobic,” reports The Times of London.
Leading doctor says it went ‘too far’
In April, Erica Anderson, a psychologist who until recently headed the U.S. professional organization for gender medicine, told the Los Angeles Times that children’s transitions “has gone too far.”
Anderson, a transgender woman, said: “Now it’s time to have kids in clinics whose parents say, ‘This just doesn’t make sense.’
“To say outright that there can be no social influence whatsoever on gender identity formation is against reality,” she added. “Teenagers influence each other.”
Now that the NHS has dropped its bomb on its own transgender clinic, perhaps we can have a fairer discussion in America about why so many adolescent girls, against all historical trends, have suddenly turned to puberty blockers, sex hormones and double mastectomy.
We can start with the US media finally doing their job, asking tough questions of a burgeoning segment of US medicine that has thrived on the skyrocketing rise of gender dysphoria in mostly teenage girls.
Phil Boas is an editorial columnist for The Arizona Republic. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.