Surge in girls switching gender Andrew Gilligan The Sunday Times 29.06.19
The original article is here.
Almost three-quarters of children seeking help to change their gender are girls, the highest proportion recorded, according to figures from England’s only child gender clinic.
The numbers, for the year to this April, also show marked rises in younger children seeking treatment. For the first time, the majority of patients referred to the clinic (54%) are aged 14 or under.
The number of 13-year-olds seeking treatment rose by 30% in a year to 331. Referrals of 14-year-olds went up by a quarter, to 511. The number of 11-year-olds is up by 28%. The youngest patients were three.
Across all ages, the entire year’s rise was accounted for by girls. The number of boys referred, 624, was the same as last year. The number of girls was 1,740, or 74% of patients at the service.
Polly Carmichael, director of the clinic in London, known as the Tavistock or the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids), said: “We are continuing to see a much higher proportion of assigned females at birth referred to the service. We are alive to this issue, and are exploring it.”
In 2010-11, 43% of patients were girls and five years ago 58% were. Last year the equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, ordered a review into the surge in girls seeking transition, but little has been heard of it since.
Gids said the age and sex figures were for English patients only and were like-for-like comparisons, taking account of a change in the way the numbers are calculated since last year’s age breakdown was published.
Carmichael said the overall rise in the number of youngsters seeking treatment, 6%, was a “levelling off” from the dramatic increases in previous years. She hoped waiting times would fall.
But the levelling off was almost entirely due to a steep drop in the number of 17-year-olds, many of whom, Tavistock sources admitted, were now bypassing Gids and referring themselves to adult services. The NHS allows 17-year-olds to be seen in adult gender clinics, and give their own consent to treatment.
Since 2009-10, on the new basis of calculation, there has been an increase of more than 3,200% in patients referred to Gids, from 77 that year to 2,590 in the year to April.
Transgender activists say the rise is due to increased public acceptance and awareness. Others say transition is promoted by activist groups and online as an all-purpose answer to loneliness, autism, abuse, not wanting to be gay, or the normal problems of adolescence.
In a leaked report earlier this year, David Bell, a former governor of Gids’s parent trust, said the clinic was exposing young patients to “long-term damage” because of its “inability to stand up to the pressure” from “highly politicised” campaigners and families demanding fast-track gender transition.
He said the true histories of “highly disturbed or complex” children were not being properly explored by doctors facing “huge and unmanageable caseloads” and afraid of being accused of transphobia if they questioned the “rehearsed” surface presentation.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of Transgender Trend, a group that questions the rise in the number of children identifying as transgender, said: “We need an inquiry into why there has been such an unprecedented increase in the number of teenage girls who are unhappy at being girls, and it should be understood within a context of adolescent girls’ mental health. In 2019 we are still waiting for news of Penny Mordaunt’s promised inquiry.”