NHS has warned doctors not to encourage children to change their names and pronouns because most children who believe they’re transgender are just going through a ‘phase.’
According to The Telegraph, NHS England is planning on tightening controls on gender transitioning treatment for children under the age of 18 years, including a ban on prescribing puberty blockers outside of strict clinical trials.
The plans, which involve the introduction of an interim service for children with gender dysphoria, will replace the infamous Tavistock clinic and will be led by medical doctors, rather than therapists, who will consider the impact of other conditions, such as autism and mental health issues.
The proposal is said to “reflect evidence that in most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence,” and accordingly, doctors should be mindful of a “transient phase.”
In the move away from the highly-criticised “affirmative approach,” doctors will adopt a “watchful approach” to observe whether the condition develops.
According to NHS England, “transition” will only be considered if doctors judge it necessary for preventing “clinically significant distress” and when the child is “able to fully comprehend the implications of affirming a social transition.”
In cases where a child has already “transitioned,” “the clinical approach has to be mindful of the risks of an inappropriate gender transition and the difficulties that the child may experience in returning to the original gender role upon entering puberty if the gender incongruence does not persist.”
The Telegraph noted that the proposal comes in light of a sharp increase in referrals to gender identity services, from just 250 in 2011-12 to over 5,000 last year.
But the warning signs have been there all along. In 2019, UK Deed Poll Services noted a record number of children under the age of 16 were identifying as transgender.
According to the name change service, over a five-year period, there was a surge of parents seeking to change their child’s title from Miss to Master and vice versa. The rise now averages at least one transgender child making the switch every single day.
Louis Bowers, a senior deed poll officer, said, “We used to issue a couple every couple of months. Now it’s seven to ten a week.”
Two years earlier, in 2017, reports revealed that the number of children being referred to gender identity clinics had quadrupled in the five years prior to 2016. Overall, there was a total of 2,016 referrals for children aged between 3 and 18. Over six times more than the 314 referrals in 2011.