by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio for VT Italy
It was born to be a cutting-edge specialist center in the treatment of the so-called “gender dysphoria” for the minors from three years of age upwards. So it allowed them to become transgender, adapting their body to gender that most feel comfortable, trhough hormonal, pharmaceutical and surgical therapies.
But it is not a habit that can be changed at any whim: the choice must be made during the period between puberty and adolescence and inevitably affects adult life. Now the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust clinic in London is already under trial for the complaints of a girl who has become half male and repentant of her choice and for those of the mother of another 15-year-old teenager destined to undergo “curative treatments” despite being autistic.
It was decided by Sir Michael Alan Supperstone, in the UK simply Hon. Justice Supperstone, a judge from the High Court of England and Wales who upheld the progress of the case that will go live within the next month of July. Then the pandemic from Covid-19 virus suspended the trials and therefore it is not known when the case will return to the courtroom.
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About this London facility, the only one affiliated with the British National Health Service as Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), Gospa News had written in April 2019 highlighting the accusations made by various specialist doctors who resigned en masse (18 in three years) for the horrible discovery that hundreds of autistic children were also subjected to the “trangender” treatment, therefore minors without their full psychological balance.
Now, while a mother of one of those autistic girls and a girl who regrets having undergone hormonal treatment to become a man blow up the case in a courtroom, the dramatic circumstance emerges that even 35 psychologists have resigned in recent years and have not spared heavy controversy against the alleged superficiality of the assessments. Otherwise The Tavistock said it always took a cautious approach to treatment.
«Our fears are that young people are being over-diagnosed and then over-medicalized. We are extremely concerned about the consequences for young people… For those of us who previously worked in the service, we fear that we have had front row seats to a medical scandal».
He anonymously stated one of the 20 psychologists contacted by Sky News among those who have resigned from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Six of them expressed these concerns to the microphones of the network «the over-authorizing of hormone treatment to children with gender dysphoria and felt they couldn’t properly explore underlying psychological factors».
This was reported by a detailed article by Brandon Showalter published in recent days on the Christian Post which highlights that «Their resignations come at a time when the number of children referred to GIDS for gender dysphoria has increased from 77 in 2009-2010 to 2,590 last year, according to Sky News’s research».
As a result, the workload for health service doctors is “three times the average” at about 120-130 per junior clinician, a psychologist told Sky News. In addition, over 3,000 children are on the waiting list for GIDS so much so that those sent to the clinic will have to wait up to three years for an appointment, according to The Guardian..
THE COMPLAINTS OF THE MALE GIRL AND THE DESPERATE MOTHER
In the midst of this “emergency” of transgender wishes, the legal action of Keira Bell, the 23-year-old girl who at 16 began the transformation into a male and now fears that she has forever compromised her future fertility.
In addition to the cause, the British girl released a shocking interview with the BBC in which she actually confirms the complaints of doctors and psychologists about the excessive speed with which children and adolescents are sent to hormonal therapies for the mutation of sex in developmental age.
«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», said Jeremy Hyam, the lawyer of Susan Evans, the 15-year-old girl’s mother (psychiatric nurse) awaiting treatment during a hearing in London. The Evangelical Focus website reported.
Although the case was originally brought by the mother, previously a Tavistock employee, Hyam asked the court for permission to put Keira Bell as the main claimant in the case, because “she underwent the treatment that is under discussion in the proceedings.” And the judge he accepted the request, continuing the lawsuit that should have gone live in the summer before the Covid-19 emergency that seriously hit the United Kingdom.
Keira says she was a tomboy since childhood. But when asked how much she felt the need to change her gender identity, she replied that «it gradually built up as she found out more about transitioning online. Then as she went down the medical route, she said “one step led to another”» BBC reported.
She was sent to the Tavistock clinic at the age of 16. He said that after three hour-long appointments he was given puberty blocking drugs, which delay the development of sexual signs such as cycle or facial hair.
She sensed that there hadn’t been enough investigations or cares before reaching that level. «I should have been challenged on the proposals or the claims that I was making for myself – she said to British network in the interview – And I think that would have made a big difference as well. If I was just challenged on the things I was saying».
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Various drugs are used to interrupt his normal sexual evolution, among which the best known is Triptorelin, the subject of an investigation by the Health Commission of the Senate of the Italian Republic, after AIFA (Italian Medicines Agency) made the medicine not only prescribed with a normal recipe but also loanable, or at the expense of the National Health System. We reported on the first hearings of April 2019 in the previous article. Since then there have been meetings of the Commission but the contents are still not strangely available…
Alessandra D. Fisher, member of the SOD of Sexuality and Andrology Medicine of the Careggi University Hospital of Florence, the first center in Italy specializing in gender identity, explained its usefulness.
«Numerous scientific evidences show how the suspension of puberty induced by Triptorelin in selected and carefully followed cases of adolescents with Gender Dysphoria is able to significantly reduce behavioral and emotional problems and suicidal risk, as well as improve overall psychological functioning».
Dr. Fischer is also the Italian member of the Board of Directors of the NGO European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH) which since 2015 has pursued the policy of supporting transgenders and has among its testimonials the former Italian transsexual parliamentarian Vladimir Luxuria».
These hormonal drugs can block the development of the breast, menstruation, facial hair and altered voice in the child, and reduce the development of the same in the male child who wishes to become female.
This is intended to give them more time to evaluate their options before they go through the physical changes of puberty and to prepare them for any surgical procedures such as the one faced by Keira Bell who had her breasts removed.
«Although puberty blockers are described by the NHS as reversible, GIDS acknowledges that their impact on brain development and psychological health is not fully known» BBC highlighted in the Brithis girl’s story.
At 17, after a year of pharmaceutical therapy for puberty blockade, said she was prescribed the male hormone testosterone, which developed male characteristics like facial hair and a deep voice. Three years ago, she had an operation to remove her breasts.
«Initially I felt very relieved and happy about things, but I think as the years go on you start to feel less and less enthusiastic or even happy about things. You can continue and dig yourself deeper into this hole or you can choose to come out of it and have the weight lifted off your shoulders» stated a few weeks ago.
«I WAS ALLOWED TO RUN WITH MY TEENAGER FANTASY»
She decided to stop taking cross-sex hormones last year and said she was now accepting of her sex as a female. But she was also angry about what had happened to her in the last decade.
«I was allowed to run with this idea that I had, almost like a fantasy, as a teenager…. and it has affected me in the long run as an adult. I’m very young. I’ve only just stepped into adulthood and I have to deal with this kind of burden or radical difference – in comparison to others at least» adds the girl, now 23-year-old.
Keira’s lawyers will argue that children cannot weigh up the impact such a treatment might have on their future life, including for instance, on their fertility.
Former staff at the clinic have raised concerns that teenagers who want to transition to a different gender are being given puberty blockers without adequate assessment or psychological work. It has been claimed that children as young as 12 have received the drugs, which block the hormones that lead to puberty-related changes like periods or facial hair.
«I did say the same thing years ago when I went to the clinic. I would say it was saving me from suicidal ideation and depression in general and at the time I felt it relieved all those mental health issues I was feeling, alongside gender dysphoria» adds Keira admitting that he had far deeper social relationship problems.
She described her family life as difficult. She also believes if she had felt more accepted by society as she was then, she might not have wanted to change her gender. She added that she wouldn’t have wanted to listen to voices of caution when she was younger and 16yo only.
«And that’s the point of this case, when you are that young you don’t really want to listen. So I think it’s up to these institutions, like the Tavistock, to step in and make children reconsider what they are saying, because it is a life-altering path».
Dr Polly Carmichael is the consultant clinical psychologist who runs the Gender Identity Development Service. She praised Keira for speaking out, but insisted the clinic did have a thorough assessment process.
«This is a really complex area with strong feelings on all sides. And at its centre, the young people we work with – they come to us in often really great distress around their sense of themselves. We’re talking about identity here, their identity, and a feeling that their gender identity does not match that body» told to BBC.
«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.
Susie Green, executive director of Mermaids, foundation for the protection of gender identity and LGBTQ + communities, has defended the current process, which she said was based on years of research, and said she hoped the judicial review would “shine a light” on young people’s experiences.
She that research had suggested puberty blockers could help reduce rates of self-harm and suicide. And she said it was “not proportionate” to take away services because of “a very small number” of people who regretted undergoing medical intervention.
«In July, former GIDS staff psychologist Kirsty Enwistle penned an open letter to Carmichael arguing that a culture of evasive deception existed at the clinic and that medical treatments lacked a robust evidence base. Other clinicians with similar concerns have resigned in protest of the facilities practices» instead, reporter Brandon Showalter remembers on the Christian Post.
NHS England is an interested party in the legal case. It has already announced an independent review of its policies on the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.
TRANSGENDER MINORS IN ITALY
The phenomenon is growing all over the world and also in Italy. «In the last 13 years, from 2005 to May 2018 – explains Damiana Massara, coordinator of the Commission of minors of the ONIG – National Observatory on Gender Identity – 251 families have turned to specialist centers that deal with children and adolescents with Atypical Development of Gender Identity».
In 1998 the National Observatory on Gender Identity (NGO) was founded in Italy which, in connection with the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association inc. (HBIGDA), «aims to encourage the comparison and collaboration of all realities interested in the themes of transgenderism and transsexualism».
As a Vita.it article reports, many needed to understand how best to act in the well-being of their children, others to support them. Only a few came with an explicit request for gender-affirmation therapy.
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In 2017, 64 new jobs were taken over in the 8 Italian centers of the Onig (Turin, Trieste, Torre del Lago, Florence, Bologna, Rome, Naples and Milan, the latter center then closed), of which 20 only for the Service of Adjustment between Physical Identity and Psychic Identity of the S. Camillo-Forlanini hospital in Rome (Saifip).
In 2016, 48 were taken over, the year before 31. In Italy, the ascenders were prescribed at Ciadig del Careggi by the aforementioned Alessandra Fisher, among the leaders of the European transgender NGO Epath: «In the last 5 years we have taken charge of 55 gender variant minors (10 of whom are under 12 and 45 above in 12 years) – explains Fisher – but we have prescribed hypothalamic blockers only in three teenagers (two 17 years old, one 14 years old), after the approval of the Ethics Committee. Anytime the teenager decides to stop the treatment, puberty will resume in the direction of biological sex».
Very few if compared to the numbers of Tavistock and Portman, the largest specialist center in Europe, 2,519 took on young transgender people in the 0-18 age group. Numbers that represent only 0.007% of a population made up of 34 million children. Even in the United States, estimates report an equally modest percentage, below 1%.
«Given the lack of evidence, the off-label use of drugs (for outcomes not covered by the drug license) in the treatment of gender dysphoria largely means a live, unregulated experiment on children» he told to The Times, Carl Heneghan, director of the Center of Evidence-based Medicine of the University of Oxford, therefore crediting the hypothesis that at the present state of sexual knowledge those pre-adolescents are “guinea pigs” of sexual transitions.
Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
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