New research shows that more than a third of the youngsters treated at Britain’s infamous Tavistock child gender clinic with puberty blockers experienced adverse psychological effects.
A reexamination of a study from 2011 by the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and the Tavistock Centre’s Gender Identity Development Service, the lone gender transition clinic for children in the UK that is closing due to safeguarding failures, found that 34% of children whose puberty was suppressed by medication experienced a “reliably deterioration” in mental health, 37% saw no difference, and 29% saw an improvement.
The latest findings are at odds with a 2011 study that looked at 44 kids between the ages of 12 and 15 and found that giving them puberty blockers caused “no alterations in psychological function.”
The new conclusions were based on individual outcomes rather than the group averages used in the initial investigation.
An interim independent review by Dr. Hillary Cass concluded that the protocols offered by the Tavistock Centre and its controversial Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) were unsafe and weren’t a viable long-term option” for children, so the NHS ordered the closure of both last year. The GIDS will not be closed until March of next year.
Dr. David Bell, the former governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, has been one of the most vocal critics of the gender clinic after he uncovered that clinicians at the clinic would decide whether to put children on hormones based on questionable pretenses, such as when young girls showed no interest in “pink ribbons and dollies.”
According to the complete study, Dr. Hillary Cass’s team will incorporate the most recent findings into its final report, which is scheduled for release before the end of the year. Significant changes have been made to treating supposedly transgender children due to the interim report, such as the NHS banning puberty blockers in children except in clinical trials.
A spokesman from Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said in response to the new findings that they are grateful to all of the clinicians and academics who have contributed to this study over the years and look forward to the latest peer-reviewed analyses.
Independent specialists in medical statistics devised the study’s analysis plan, and the raw data was made public so that other researchers could analyze it.