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‘Highly politicised’ transgender groups are putting children at risk, expert warns

‘Highly politicised’ transgender groups are putting children at risk and school chiefs and mental bosses are bowing to pressures over fears they’ll be branded transphobic, expert warns

  • Pro-trans groups put pressure on mental health experts, says Marcus Evans
  • Believes children with gender dysphoria, not being given objective treatment  
  • The psychologist said: ‘political agenda has encroached on clinical environment’

Children’s mental health service providers and school councillors are scared of being labelled transphobic by pro-trans groups, leading them to overlook the interests of the patient, says a gender psychotherapist.

Marcus Evans, psychotherapist and former governor at the NHS’s only trust with a Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), said that pressure from the ‘highly-politicised’ pro-trans groups is having an affect on the way mental health providers treat children.  

Fear of being labelled transphobic by pro-trans groups is leading experts providing counselling and transitioning services to lose objectivity when advising children with gender dysphoria, said Mr Evans.

Mr Evans writes: ‘A leaked internal report had branded the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at The Tavistock Centre, England’s only NHS youth gender clinic, ”not fit for purpose”

Speaking to The Observer Mr Evans said: ‘I believe the trans political agenda has encroached on the clinical environment surrounding and within the Gender Identity Development Service,’

Mr Evans, who governed at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in north London, added: ‘Young people need an independent clinical service that has the long-term interests of the patient at heart. 

The psychologist warns that children questioning their gender identity need to be equipped with the tools to stand up to pressure, whether its from their friends, family ‘social media networking pressures’ or ‘highly politicised pro-trans groups’.  

Marcus Evans of Beckenham Kent, the former governor of The Tavistock Centre

Marcus Evans of Beckenham Kent, the former governor of The Tavistock Centre

Use of Gender Identity Development Services in the UK is rising year on year with the number of children referred to The Tavistock Centre rising from 468 in 2013 to 2,519 in 2018, a rise of more than 400 per cent.

Writing in the Daily Mail Mr Evans states: ‘It goes without saying that the area of mental health — and particularly relating to gender dysphoria — is highly complex.

 ‘The service [Tavistock Centre] was accused of being too quick to give children and young people medical treatment (hormone-blocking drugs).

‘Treatment that has unknown far‑reaching consequences and that, without sufficient exploration as to the child’s feelings and motives, can have devastating life‑long effects on their identity and development.’

Adding: ‘Adolescence and childhood is a time when people are developing socially and biologically; when young people are identifying with different groups, and with male and female aspects of themselves.

‘There is pressure from the child who is in a distressed state, there is pressure from the family and the peer group and from the pro-trans lobbies — and all of this puts pressure on the clinician, who may want to help the individual to resolve their distressed state by going along with a quick solution.

‘There is a great deal at stake here, as these decisions have long-term consequences.’

What is the Tavistock Centre? 

The Tavistock centre, at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in north London, is the only NHS clinic to offer gender identity development services in the UK.

The centre treats children with gender dysphoria as young as 12 with counselling and transitioning drug therapies to prepare them for a sex change.  

Drug therapy treatment can halt the onset of puberty – preventing children from developing the sexual characteristics of the gender they were born if they wish to do so.

Youngsters referred to the Gender Identity Development Service run by The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London undergo around six sessions to assess whether or not they are trans.