Transgender activist organizations wielded influence over doctors’ medical decisions at the Tavistock gender clinic before the U.K. government shut the clinic down over child safety concerns, according to a clinical nurse who worked there.
Mermaids, a transgender patient-advocacy group, was influencing doctors and in some cases determining the expectations of patient care at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) of the London Tavistock Clinic, even as mental health professionals questioned whether the treatments they demanded were appropriate, Sue Evans wrote in the Common Sense Substack.
“Instead of being a clinical, research-focused service where we were learning and developing ideas, it felt like it was a fait accompli that we had to go along with what Mermaids and patients wanted—even if we, the mental-health-care professionals, had legitimate questions about the appropriateness of the treatments that patients and patient advocates were demanding,” she wrote.
— Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust (@TaviAndPort) July 28, 2022
Evans began working at Tavistock in the early 2000s, when the gender clinic was seeing fewer than 100 annual referrals, most of whom were male, and walking them through a slow process centered on counseling and mental health evaluations, according to Evans. But doctors began prescribing puberty blockers to young patients after minimal counseling, and there was increasing pressure on health care workers — some of it from transgender activist groups — to stop treating gender dysphoria as a mental illness. (RELATED: ‘They Wanna Castrate These Young Boys’: DeSantis Says Doctors Should Be Sued For Child Sex Change Surgeries)
“I was surprised to hear that my coworker was recommending drugs when, in my view, no meaningful understanding of his internal world could have been reached,” Evans wrote. “I knew from my experience in working with adolescents that any diagnostic assessment arrived at after such a short time span would have been superficial.”
Online groups popped up that coached children on what to say to their doctors in order to get cross-sex medical interventions, and gender clinic referral numbers shot up to 3,000 per year, Evans said. The profile of people seeking care changed drastically, with a surge in teenage girls who wanted to be boys as they went through puberty and became uncomfortable with their bodies.
With so many children seeking services at Tavistock, the pressure to fast-track them through biomedical interventions increased. Evans, along with numerous other whistleblowers, sparked investigations into the clinic which ultimately persuaded the government that the clinic was unsafe for children.
The U.K. National Health Service announced in July that it would shut down GIDS by spring 2023 and replace it with regional centers that take a more holistic approach and focus more on mental health.
Mermaids and Tavistock did not respond to the Daily Caller New Foundation’s requests for comment.
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