Sanity at Last: Britain’s High Court Protects Young Children From Transgender Chemical Castration
On Tuesday, Britain’s High Court defended young children from the transgender movement’s rush to give kids experimental drugs that put them on a path to chemical castration. The court laid out a framework for considering whether minors under age 18 might be able to give informed consent to receive experimental so-called “puberty-blocking” drugs intended to treat gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with a gender opposite one’s biological sex).
In a groundbreaking ruling that should set the standard for such complex issues, Dame Victoria Sharp concluded that puberty-blockers are experimental, that their effects are not “reversible” as transgender activists claim, and that to consent to receive such drastic treatment, children must understand adult concepts that are almost certainly beyond their grasp.
The case involved Quincy Bell — a woman who received puberty-blocking drugs at 16 and then proceeded to get a mastectomy, only to reject her transgender identity as male — and the mother of an autistic daughter who appears to identify as male. The women brought a case against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Britain’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS).
GIDS set Bell on a path to puberty-blockers at age 16, and she started taking testosterone at 17. By age 20, she realized “the vision I had as a teenager of becoming male was strictly fantasy and that it was not possible. My biological make-up was still female, and it showed, no matter how much testosterone was in my system or how much I would go to the gym. … I felt like a fraud, and I began to feel more lost, isolated, and confused than I did when I was pre-transition.”
Bell claimed that she could not have consented to puberty-blockers at her age. Dame Sharp considered whether or not a 16-year-old child could be considered competent to consent to such an experimental “treatment” under the precedent of Gillick v. West Norfolk and Wisbech Health Authority (1986), in which the High Court ruled that minors could consent to receive contraception.
Puberty-blockers are an entirely different kind of “treatment” than contraception. As Sharp notes, puberty-blocking drugs can prevent precocious puberty in young children, such as 7-year-old girls or boys who begin to develop puberty far too early. In such cases, puberty-blockers do hold off the process of puberty until the child reaches a suitable age, at which point the blockers cease, with little long-term effect.
Yet, the use of puberty-blockers to treat gender dysphoria is experimental. In such cases, “the consequences of the treatment are profound, the benefits unclear and the long-term consequences to a material degree unknown.” In such cases, informed consent may be impossible, especially for children under age 16 who think of themselves as transgender.
Throughout her ruling, Dame Sharp reported that GIDS did not investigate the long-term impact of puberty-blockers. “We find it surprising that GIDS did not obtain data showing the proportion of those on puberty blockers who remain within GIDS and move on to cross-sex hormones,” she wrote.
In a particularly damning passage, the judge noted that GIDS had engaged in stealth editing after the legal proceeding had begun.
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