Woman’s Hour On Teenage Girls At Tavistock Clinic

Originally posted at Transgender Trend

1,398 children and adolescents have been referred to the Tavistock Clinic this year (compared to 697 last year) and of that number almost 1,000 are girls. Girls have been over-represented at the clinic for the past five years, with the disparity between boys and girls increasing year on year.

Throughout their interview, both Polly Carmichael and Bernadette Wren from the Tavistock clinic referenced the “social revolution” and the rapidly changing context within which teenage girls are making the decision to transition. Various points were made, such as the fact that people are much more accepting now and we live in a world where people surgically alter their bodies, a possibility which did not previously exist. Dr Wren’s view: “I don’t think we should necessarily take a negative view of this” was echoed in her neutral stance on the “phenomenal unexpected increase” in the number of girls referred to the Tavistock this year: “it’s not for us to approve or disapprove.”

Although it was reassuring to hear that the clinicians see their job in terms of “holding” these girls, enabling them to “get on with their lives without necessarily jumping into the physical interventions,” we feel there does need to be an ethical debate about whether this is a positive or negative development, given that we are talking about medically unnecessary invasive interference with healthy bodies, with some irreversible effects and a lack of research on the long-term health effects. This is not something about which we can afford to be neutral. Use of terms like “social revolution” make it very clear that the recent transgender phenomenon is sold as a social justice cause rather than a medical one, but those adolescents caught up in it will nevertheless be medical patients for life as long as they identify as transgender.

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