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“The treatment urgently needs to change, so that it does not put young people on a torturous path that is permanent and life-changing”, former transgender patient and main claimant in the case says.
The mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl who is on the waiting list for hormone treatment; former psychiatric nurse Susan Evans, and 23-year-old former transgender patient, Keira Bell, have sued the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the UK’s only gender identity development service (Gids) for children.
This landmark case aims to stop Tavistock from prescribing “experimental” puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children who wish to undergo gender reassignment, and it has reached the High Court.
“TREATMENT IS GIVEN TO CHILDREN UNDER 12”
“That treatment is given to children under the age of 12, on the basis that those children themselves give fully informed consent, even though the nature of the treatment has side-effects which, we say, supported by the evidence, they cannot properly take into account”, Jeremy Hyam, the lawyer of the mother said at a hearing in London.
Although the case was originally brought on behalf of Susan Evans, who was previously employed by Tavistock, Hyam asked the court for permission to put Keira Bell as the main claimant in the case, because she “underwent the treatment that is in issue in the proceedings”.
“IT PUTS YOUNG PEOPLE ON A TORTUROUS PATH”
“Hormone-changing drugs and surgery does not work for everyone and it certainly should not be offered to someone under the age of 18 when they are emotionally and mentally vulnerable”, Bell pointed out in a statement after the hearing.
According to Bell, “the treatment urgently needs to change, so that it does not put young people, like me, on a torturous and unnecessary path that is permanent and life-changing”.
Meanwhile, the Tavistock spokesman underlined that “it is not appropriate for us to comment in detail in advance of any proposed legal proceedings”.
He explained that "the GIDS is one of the longest-established services of its type in the world, with an international reputation for being cautious and considered”.
“NHS England monitor our service very closely. The service has a high level of reported satisfaction and was rated good by the Care Quality Commission”, Tavistock spokesman concluded.