The NHS has announced it is to close the Tavistock Centre, the UK’s only dedicated gender identity clinic for children and young people. Following this announcement, Dr Flora Renz, an expert in the legal regulation of (trans)gender identities and sexuality in society at Kent Law School, comments:
‘The ongoing Cass Review of the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) published an interim report on 28 July, which highlighted among other things that the current model of providing healthcare to children and young people exploring their gender identity through one nationwide provider is not providing adequate treatment quality. However, rather than saying that young people should not have access to such healthcare support, as some news sources have reported, the review actually recommends that this would be better delivered through a larger range of local clinics.
‘This is in part a response to the often years long waiting lists at the GIDS, which means young people are left without appropriate care for unacceptable periods of time, an issue which is also significantly impacting trans and non-binary adults in England and Wales.
‘Given the high rate of mental health issues and suicidality that is associated with a lack of suitable medical and social support for young people exploring their gender identity, it seems vital that, as the Cass review states, the NHS is able to provide such support in a timely manner and at a good level of quality.
‘Comments by politicians without medical or other expertise in this area that young people should not be able to access appropriate medical intervention are not supported by the Cass review and are also not based on medical and academic evidence and are embedded in the divisive debate playing out on social media, which has turned the issues facing trans people into a political football. It is also clearly out of step with the generally positive attitudes towards trans people represented by the wider British public.
‘More in Common has reported that the majority of the British public are accepting of trans people. Allowing young people to explore their gender identity without facing social, medical or political stigma or pressure is a vital step in building a more progressive and inclusive society.’
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