We recently submitted our response to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics call for evidence on their review of the “Care and treatment of children and adolescents in relation to their gender identity in the UK”.
In late 2019, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics held a series of exploratory meetings with people and representatives of people with experience of gender identity services, medical practitioners, academics, and researchers to understand the ethical challenges in the care and treatment of young people in relation to their gender identity. This exploratory work raised a number of ethical issues about how gender diverse and gender incongruent children and adolescents under the age of 18 should be cared for, which the Council believe warrant more discussion and consideration.
The aim of this project is to carry out a more in-depth review of some of those issues. The conclusions will inform practitioners and policy-makers and, ultimately, help improve the well-being of gender diverse and gender incongruent children and adolescents by ensuring they receive ethical, appropriate, and high-quality care.
About this call for evidence
This call for evidence is an open call for views on some of the issues the Council aims to explore in more detail, including:
- the nature of gender dysphoria and how this affects approaches to care and treatment;
- the social context within which gender dysphoria exists;
- whether there is adequate evidence on the safety and effectiveness of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to support treatment;
- current approaches to care and treatment, including the purpose of puberty blockers, the gender affirmative approach, and social transition;
- how to consider the benefits and harms of treatment and non-treatment in decision-making; and
- the ability of children and adolescents to consent to medical interventions for gender dysphoria.
Our response outlines our concerns about the current “affirmation-only” treatment promoted by Stonewall, Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence and other pro-trans lobby groups. We put forward our position that children suffering with gender dysphoria “should be treated with the utmost care and sensitivity. As a form of body dysmorphia, gender dysphoria needs to be carefully treated and certainly not affirmed. Young people who suffer from gender dysphoria need to be helped to accept the body and sex in which they were born. Just as those who suffer from anorexia should be sensitively helped to become more comfortable with their body so should those with gender dysphoria.”