The Trans Agenda #24

[15 April 2024]

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Publications known for taking an anti-trans stance are and will be referenced and linked. Often, these are the most comprehensive sources for these stories because of their obsession with trans people. I give a summary for those stories so you can make the choice if you want to click the link or seek out more information elsewhere.

As always, if you have any suggestions, I’m open to feedback and you can contact me using the links on this page near the bottom.

The Trans Agenda


Cass Review fight back angers bigots

  • The Cass Review continues to dominate all headlines in relation to trans people as the Gender Critical Sex Realist Cult continue their fight against reality. To them, this highly compromised and politicised report was supposed to bring them validation. They had, after all, worked very hard in ensuring it said exactly what they wanted it to say. CR was supposed to prove they were right. Their estranged families and friends were meant to come running back to them with open arms and tearful apologies. Mass arrests were meant to follow.

    Of course, none of that has happened because the report is so highly problematic that only people who hate trans people as much as the cult do embrace it, while everybody else can see the major problems with the selective and politicised study that drew predetermined conclusions. The Cass Review is the very opposite of science.

Amnesty International comments on Cass Review’s impact on trans rights in the UK [Amnesty International UK]

  • Amnesty International UK has released a statement expressing concerns that the Cass Review is being used by anti-trans groups to undermine the rights of transgender people in the UK.

NHS England vs. patient privacy: The battle over gender clinic data

  • A conflict is brewing between NHS England and patient privacy advocates over the proposed use of gender clinic patient data. The Cass Review was unable to get access to data they wanted from adult Gender Identity Clinics (GICs) who refused to release it. Dr. Hilary Cass, who promised a lot of things she didn’t deliver, had promised this data collection would respect privacy rights and cease after the review concluded, but NHS England seems intent on enforcing it. Patient data belongs to the patient, not healthcare providers or the government. Clinics were justified in protecting this data without express patient permission.

Wes Streeting regrets showing trans people basic respect [Pink News]

Yvette Cooper wants Cass Review implemented ‘as soon as possible’ [Sky News]

  • She also said that Labour will work with the Tories to implement the Cass Review. There is only one thing you can count on Labour to do consistently and that’s agree with the Tories.

SNP MP calls for ban on puberty blockers in Scotland following Cass Review [The Scotsman]

  • Joanna Cherry, the anti-trans SNP MP, has called for the banning of puberty blockers for minors in Scotland in light of the findings from the Cass Review. It would have been more surprising if she hadn’t, to be honest.

BMJ editor-in-chief comes out as anti-trans and anti-science [Kamran Abbasi]

  • Taking to Twitter, Kamran Abbasi, who is the editor-in-chief for the British Medical Journal and editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, said, “Critics of the methodology of the systematic reviews that form the basis of the Cass Review are displaying their limited understanding of research methods and evidence based medicine — but that’s what got us into this mess in the first place.” I’d argue it’s people like Abbasi, guided by ideology while egregiously misrepresenting how this ‘study’ was undertaken, is how we got into this ‘mess’.

Study finds trans women athletes at a disadvantage to cisgender women on average [British Journal of Sports Medicine]

  • The study aimed to compare the physical capabilities of transgender and cisgender athletes by measuring things like strength, lung function, and aerobic fitness. The study involved different groups: 19 cisgender men, 12 transgender men, 23 transgender women, and 21 cisgender women. They all went through various performance tests in a lab.

    Key findings:

    • Transgender women vs. Cisgender women:
      • Testosterone levels were quite similar between transgender women and cisgender women.
      • Transgender women had significantly higher levels of oestrogen.
      • Transgender women were stronger in grip strength but had lower lung function and jumping ability relative to their body weight.
      • They also showed lower aerobic capacity (V̇O2max), which measures the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during intense exercise.
    • Transgender men vs. Cisgender men:
      • Testosterone levels were a bit lower in transgender men compared to cisgender men, but still in a similar range.
      • Transgender men had lower grip strength and significantly lower aerobic capacity than cisgender men.

        The takeaway from this study is that while there are some differences in physical capacities between transgender and cisgender athletes, these differences are complex and vary depending on the specific physical trait being measured. More research is needed.

Charity Commission retweets anti-trans content

  • With Sex Matters recently granted charity status, it has long been suspected that the Charity Commission has been compromised. Never was this clearer than when their official Twitter account retweeted an anti-trans tweet. It was quickly undone, but questions still need to be answered. They won’t be, of course, yet had this been a pro-trans tweet the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Times would already be trying to ruin the person’s life.

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Keep an eye out for

  • The media ramping up personal attacks on professionals who have pointed out problems with the Cass Review.


Sonia Sodha returns [The Observer]

  • After a number of weeks of not recycling her one column for The Observer, Sonia Sodha returned this weekend with a piece on the Cass Review. Of course, Sodha, who was present at the anti-trans SEEN meeting held by Guardian journalists during Pride week last year in a bid to make The Guardian/Observer even more anti-trans, can’t stick just to the highly-criticised Cass report, but uses it to invalidate trans identities, something even Cass avoids doing. You can see her article below in the papers section.

BBC reports on European legal changes for transgender individuals [BBC]

  • A comprehensive BBC report details recent legal changes across Europe that affect trans people, including gender and name change procedures and the broader impact on trans rights.

Telegraph pay Graham Linehan to write about trans people [Telegraph]

  • Do I really need to add anything to this? You can see the article in the papers section below.

JK Rowling goes global

  • The ‘news’ that JK Rowling will not accept an apology, that hasn’t been offered by Daniel Radcliffe or Emma Watson, made news websites across the globe. There has also been an exponential rise in the number of columnists licking Rowling’s boots since the release of the Cass Review to the point where my searches for news impacting trans people were dominated by mentions of ‘JK Rowling’ more than ‘trans’.

The Trans Agenda by Lee Hurley is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

THE PAPERS – Friday 12 April 2024 – Monday 15 April 2024

We’ve got four days of papers featuring The Guardian, Observer, Times, Mail and Telegraph. At my count, there are 41 articles featuring columns from Julie Bindel, Jan Moir, Graham Linehan, Kathleen Stock, Kemi Badenoch, Andrew Neil and Sonia Sodha. The number of those articles featuring a trans person in a positive light? Two, which is higher than usual.

Friday 12 April

The Guardian

Skip to main contentSwitch To Accessibility Mode CATALOG FOR YOU MORE 12 Apr 2024 Gift Cards  Hotspot  Buttons.Search  Options Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa  My Publication  The Guardian 12 Apr 2024 Page View Text View REPORTERS user-pictures/d77a9724-87ea-4145-999e-10450ed9d87b Julian Borger user-pictures/56f81241-3c2a-4cf4-9fc9-f3ae36336926 Mark Sweney user-pictures/109cfb64-5072-49a5-93f3-519c7b9454fe Jessica Elgot user-pictures/a9c2b5fc-d6e4-4676-bff0-1e7287b4dfd5 Henry McDonald user-pictures/97e1872d-087e-44a5-a315-22788e66e64e Lauren Gambino (laurenegambino) user-pictures/059aff7a-500c-43c6-b2c8-9848b2726c84 Owen Bowcott user-pictures/db29bee3-a24d-4007-96ac-42a142bc0c81 Steven Morris user-pictures/bc9cbc71-3955-42d1-be64-53d83aceb7d3 Rebecca Smithers user-pictures/0cd98590-b4f3-4f46-a24a-dea93751b097 Jamie Grierson user-pictures/3f61392e-fe28-40a6-b985-fe0d4ee7009a Vikram Dodd user-pictures/7c77d671-aa60-4646-98f2-03b9a80521cb Stephanie Convery user-pictures/da1fbb17-3192-44cb-ab71-2d7eb94307e0 Heather Stewart user-pictures/ef0cc058-961a-44ae-a75f-1434a27e3378 Hannah EllisPetersen user-pictures/03ffc4bb-4a8a-432c-a4bc-5a86fb3ad647 Graham Ruddick user-pictures/23eb973f-6015-4100-996e-19379bdcd610 Larry Elliott user-pictures/f5e7bcb6-bb59-4988-a428-3bc2939eefd9 Robert Booth (The Guardian) user-pictures/02a3a898-4b0e-45c5-9a00-b38195c52d67 Louise Tickle user-pictures/8f6bbec9-7319-46b5-b099-0eec3c9ae70e Maev Kennedy user-pictures/a72749ca-360b-4917-991b-0f60b2989049 Sune Engel Rasmussen user-pictures/ea8bcb62-9234-4b96-9664-21187d7207a7 Harriet Sherwood user-pictures/e955111f-84eb-4be2-baa7-3dfc89081b7b Anushka Asthana user-pictures/99a33be4-926d-4ab2-9c3d-ff7514af947e Rowena Mason user-pictures/b8e37994-a71b-475a-9785-cfe3aaaa435d Angelique Chrisafis user-pictures/048b9870-0e1a-4cd1-bfed-7445746b95da Rupert Neate user-pictures/d3deb1db-f4e0-41fd-a76c-60e541868c16 Justin McCurry user-pictures/d13ec55a-e381-40a6-87d5-a726db4392a9 Frances Perraudin user-pictures/4e386dd9-1be1-47ee-8e59-ecd84c04f9dc Haroon Siddique user-pictures/25ce5ee7-aab5-49b4-8618-7de6f44c96f5 Sally Weale user-pictures/697d5ddd-d26c-409d-a5a6-85886d17dd6b Hilary Osborne user-pictures/5667ff93-1a37-4be7-bf40-df4c9fe84356 Simon Goodley More... 44431 Navigated  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский EnglishРусский  EnglishРусский  Regulator to act against private clinics defying NHS ban on puberty blockers The Guardian12 Apr 2024Denis Campbell Health policy editor England’s health regulator will take action against private clinics that prescribe puberty blockers to under-18s despite the NHS’s ban on the drugs.  The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will check that private providers of care to those who are questioning their gender identity are applying new guidance recommended by Dr Hilary Cass.  In a report this week Cass said puberty blockers had not been proven to reduce gender dysphoria or improve body satisfaction, may damage a teenager’s ability to think and reason and that the rationale for suppressing puberty at all “remains unclear”.  The former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health made clear her view, which NHS England adopted last month, that they should no longer be given to anyone under 18 on safety grounds.  The CQC plans to ensure Cass’s approach is followed by all clinics, not just the NHS, given concern from doctors and campaigners that private outfits may keep prescribing the drugs and create “two-tier” access dependent on wealth.  “A very dangerous loophole” could allow private clinics to cash in on the demand for puberty blockers, a doctor who backs Cass’s plan told the Guardian.  The regulator will check if licensed healthcare providers are taking into account the recommendations of the Cass review when it registers and inspects them. A private clinic found to be issuing puberty blockers to anyone under 18 could be disciplined if a prescription was found to breach their legal duty to provide “safe care and treatment”, based on the evidence analysed in the inquiry.  “If a private organisation registered with the CQC fails to meet the condition of its registration, then the regulator can take enforcement action,” a Whitehall source said.  The CQC has various powers at its disposal including, as a last resort, withdrawing the legal permission for a provider to operate.  Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, said yesterday that private providers would not be allowed to avoid adhering to the treatment approach Cass proposed. She wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “I am clear in my expectation that private providers must fall in line too [with the NHS’s new approach to puberty blockers].”  Some doubt remains as to whether NHS guidelines can be made mandatory for private clinics. “The CQC will expect all private providers to take into account the Cass recommendations. But they don’t have to. Private providers aren’t bound by Cass’s recommendations”, a source explained.  At present no CQC-registered private gender care clinic issues puberty blockers.  A CQC spokesperson said: “Best practice guidance for gender identity clinics will be considered by internal specialist advisers during registration and regulatory assessments.”  One clinic, Gender Plus, run by the clinical psychologist Dr Aidan Kelly, offers masculinising or feminising hormones to 16- to 18-year-olds but not puberty blockers. Doctors should exercise “extreme caution” before issuing such hormones, Cass said.  Sue Evans, a nurse who worked at the NHS trust that hosted the gender identity development service for children and young people with gender dysphoria, is challenging the legality of the CQC’s decision to recognise Gender Plus’s clinic as a provider of healthcare.  Article Name:Regulator to act against private clinics defying NHS ban on puberty blockers Publication:The Guardian Author:Denis Campbell Health policy editor Start Page:13 End Page:13
Up to 5,000 young people waiting for care The Guardian12 Apr 2024Amelia Gentleman PHOTOGRAPH: HOLLIE ADAMS/GETTY ▲ Demands for better transgender healthcare were made at last year’s London Trans+ Pride march Five thousand children and adolescents with gender-related distress are awaiting NHS treatment – yet a shortage of clinicians meant only 12 had been seen at a new London-based gender clinic by the start of this week.  Two newly opened gender centres, in London and Liverpool, are looking at “creative ways” of reducing waiting lists, such as running group sessions with therapists, according to Hilary Cass, the consultant paediatrician who has devised the new, more holistic treatment model for children and adolescents questioning their gender identity.  Only half the required 45 members of staff have been hired for the London unit. It does not yet have a building, leaving patients to be seen online, according to a spokesperson for Great Ormond Street hospital, which is responsible for setting it up.  The Cass review states that there have been “considerable challenges” in creating these clinics within a “highly emotive and politicised arena”.  Around 250 children and adolescents have been transferred to the care of the new London hub (to be called the Children and Young People’s Gender Service, London) and the second clinic in the north-west; just a handful of patients are understood to have been seen so far in Liverpool.  Cass acknowledged that it would “take a while to resolve” the long waiting list, but said child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) were screening children on the list to flag up “urgent problems and urgent risks”.  She said there was “no magic fix” for getting the waiting list down, other than investment in Camhs and recruiting more staff into mental health services. Waiting lists would eventually come down when more children and young people were seen by GPs locally, rather than being placed on a waiting list for specialist gender services, she said.  Clinicians’ nervousness about working in this area had made recruitment to the services very challenging, Cass said, describing how some healthcare staff were “fearful” of working in this field, partly because of uncertainties about the correct treatment model and partly because they feared “being called transphobic if you take a more cautious approach”.  NHS England said helping the new clinics to “overcome challenges around staff recruitment will be a top priority”.  The Great Ormond Street spokesperson said a consultant paediatrician and consultant psychologist were already leading the hub’s multidisciplinary team. No staff who were at the nowclosed Tavistock gender identity development service had been hired for the new clinics, he said.  The Cass review sets out that when the hubs are operating at full capacity they should be staffed by clinicians from mental health services, and from services for children and young people with autism and other neurodiverse presentations. There should also be support for looked-after children and children who have experienced trauma.  Cass’s model aims to move services away from a very specialist focus; she said no one in the team “should have a tunnel vision on gender” and that clinicians should continue to work in parallel in other parts of the NHS outside the gender hubs. “The more we can bring this back into normal adolescent care the better,” she said.  Access to endocrinology services and fertility services should be available for the minority of patients whom Cass expects to go on to seek a medical intervention.  Cass said she had had an encouraging conversation with the clinical lead for the new London hub last weekend who said a “very diverse range of young people” had been seen, and that the patients had been “very pleased” to have access to a broad range of services.  Great Ormond Street’s spokesperson said: “We are working swiftly on recruiting the right skill mix of people … We aim to settle into a permanent community base as soon as possible so we can provide the best service.”  He said the group sessions were not specifically designed to reduce waiting lists, adding that “group sessions and workshops have additional benefits in decreasing isolation and increasing a sense of social support for isolated young people and their families”.  He added: “Families we have spoken to have expressed their appreciation for this opportunity. These will not be the only interventions offered and will be part of a bespoke package of care tailored to the individual needs of young people and their families.”  The Cass review was critical of “the lack of any consensus on the purpose of the assessment process” for children who went into the old clinics, and said children referred to new NHS gender services should “receive a holistic assessment of their needs” including screening for neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder, and a mental health assessment.  The aim of the new services is “to help young people to thrive and achieve their life goals”, the Cass review states.  The mother of one teenager who referred herself on to the waiting list for care at the Tavistock clinic but never progressed far enough to get an appointment, said she thought her daughter would benefit from the new approach. She said: “This looks like normal healthcare. I just want her to receive standard NHS healthcare, with a strong mental health element.”  ‘The more we can bring this back into normal adolescent care the better’  Hilary Cass Review author  Article Name:Up to 5,000 young people waiting for care Publication:The Guardian Author:Amelia Gentleman Start Page:13 End Page:13

The Times

Labour ‘tried to silence women on trans issues’ Steven Swinford - Political Editor Labour has spent the past decade trying to “shut women up” and creating an “atmosphere of intimidation” on trans issues, the health secretary has said.  Victoria Atkins said it was a “little bit rich of the Labour Party to be lecturing the rest of us” after the opposition welcomed Dr Hilary Cass’s report on NHS gender services.  Atkins told Sky News: “Labour has spent the last ten years trying to shut women up when it comes to this. They have been part of the ideology, the culture wars, creating an atmosphere of intimidation for anyone who dared to question this ideology.  “So it is a little bit rich of the Labour Party to be lecturing the rest of us now having been so forthright in their support for this ideology in the past.”  Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said on Wednesday that Stonewall, where he used to work, had been wrong to say that “trans women are women, get over it”.  He told The Sun’s politics show Never Mind the Ballots: “I say this with some self-criticism and reflection: if you’d asked me a few years ago, on this topic, I would have said trans men are men, trans women are women. Some people are trans, get over it. Let’s move on. This is all blown out of proportion. And now I sort of sit and reflect and think actually, there are lots of complexities.”  He added: “I take the criticism on the chin. And at the same time I also think that there’s been some absolutely ugly rhetoric directed towards trans people who are at the wrong end of all of statistics on hate crime, on self-harm, suicide, mental health.”  Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, said the use of the phase “get over it” was inappropriate and represented an attempt to “shut down the debate”.  She told Sky News: “Wes Streeting was right to hold his hand up and say he was wrong to use language like ‘get over it’. I don’t think that’s appropriate in any political discussion, particularly one where the issues are so sensitive and so potentially impactful. It’s absolutely right for him to apologise for using any language like that in an attempt to shut down debate. I don’t think that has been writ large in the Labour Party. There have been bad faith actors on all sides.”  Rosie Duffield, a Labour MP who has campaigned on trans issues, accused male leaders of taking “applause, praise and credit for simply listening to an expert”.  Duffield, who has previously compared being in the party to being in an “abusive relationship” because of her stance on trans issues, said many women had been “blanked, sidelined, dismissed by male leaders when speaking up and exposing this for years”.  Cass said in her report, released on Wednesday, that an entire field of medicine aimed at enabling children to change gender had been “built on shaky foundations”.  She found that there was no good evidence to support prescribing hormones to under-18s to halt puberty or transition to the opposite sex.  The review also disclosed that adult clinics had refused to support a study on about 9,000 young people who had moved over the years from the nowclosed gender and identity service at the Tavistock Trust in London to adult gender dysphoria clinics.  Cass said that it would have been a “world-leading opportunity” to add to the evidence base and described it as “hugely disappointing” that they had decided not to take part.  Six of the seven adult clinics declined to support the study, with reasons for not doing so including ethical considerations and concerns about funder motivation and political interference.  Atkins said she expected full participation from public and private healthcare, and wanted to block doctors working abroad from prescribing puberty blockers to children in Britain.  The recommendations in the report have prompted NHS England, which had already stopped puberty blockers being given to under-16s, to announce a review into the use of hormones.  It has also written to local NHS leaders to ask that they halt first appointments at adult gender clinics for people before their 18th birthday because it intends to investigate the services.
Cass review and the use of puberty blockers Sir, The recommendations in the report of the NHS review chaired by Dr Hilary Cass (“NHS rejects use of puberty blockers”, news, Apr 10) are excellent: I support all of them. What is missing from the report is an explanation for the unsatisfactory clinical service provided at the Tavistock Clinic. This must begin with an account of the development of gender identity, which normally occurs between two and four years. Rarely, the identity is opposite to that of the biological sex and this gives rise to gender dysphoria (discomfort).  Sound research findings from the 1990s onwards suggest medical treatment (including puberty blockers) for this tiny group is indicated after in-depth assessment and counselling. From about 2005 all over the developed world, a different group — teenagers — presented to clinics with gender dysphoria. These were mainly biological girls who had a male identity. In all probability these were drawn from that minority (about 10 per cent) of adolescents who suffer from identity confusion and who were further confused by what they read on social media. These probably accounted for the bulk of referrals to the Tavistock Clinic which, sadly, sometimes failed them diagnostically.  Philip Graham  Emeritus professor of child psychiatry, UCL; London NW5  Sir, I wonder how history will judge the appalling use of puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria. The lack of evidence is totally at odds with other branches of medical care, where evidence-based medicine is the gold standard. Doctors who raised concerns as long ago as 2005 were criticised, ignored or even sacked. As GPs, we can be asked to prescribe by gender clinics, including the Gender Identity Development Service. The only position to take is to follow NHS guidelines, which allow pubertyblocking hormones. To decline on personal grounds leaves one open to complaints or a claim of discrimination. The Cass report is a welcome breakthrough.  Doctors must have the freedom to express doubts about unproven, experimental treatments without the risk of attracting personal criticism and bullying. This degree of mass child abuse must not be allowed to happen again. However uncomfortable or politically sensitive an issue is, to prevent a future scandal we need open debate and evidence- based medicine.  Dr Fiona Cornish, GP  Cambridge  Sir, In light of the publication of the Cass report, I am concerned that the licensed use of puberty blockers for the treatment of precocious puberty in children — when puberty starts at an unusually early age, sometimes as young as two — may be misunderstood. These highly targeted drugs have been available for decades, have an excellent safety profile and are of huge benefit to the affected children and to their families. They revolutionised treatment and there is extensive published follow-up data. These children may have serious brain problems such as tumours or severe learning disability. After treatment, children with precocious puberty can continue into puberty at an appropriate age. It is important that we distinguish between the safety of the drugs and their unlicensed use in a situation where the long-term effect of puberty blockers and the use of transgender hormones are poorly understood. To regard this group of drugs as dangerous, as your leading article (Apr 10) appears to do, is misleading — it is the reason for using them that is the point.  Dr Tony Hulse  Former consultant paediatric endocrinologist, Evelina London Children’s Hospital; Hadlow, Kent  Sir, In my 40 years in senior positions in secondary and comprehensive schools I was closely involved in the pastoral care of thousands of young girls and boys. Not once did I encounter a pupil who wished to change their gender.  Noel Simpson  Midhurst, W Sussex

Daily Mail

Minister: Labour fuelled the intimidation on trans issues Streeting ‘tried to silence those who dared to raise the alarm’ Daily Mail12 Apr 2024By Alex Ward and Martin Beckford LABOUR spent years ‘trying to shut anyone up’ who voiced fears over trans issues, the Health Secretary claimed yesterday.  Singling out her Opposition counterpart Wes Streeting for criticism, Victoria Atkins accused his party of fuelling an ‘intimidation’.  She called on Mr Streeting, who worked for LGBT rights group Stonewall, to apologise over comments he endorsed in the past that ‘trans women are women’.  Her intervention came as the Labour frontbencher admitted a major review published this week had made him realise ‘there are lots of complexities’.  Hilary Cass’s survey of NHS england gender identity services concluded trans children had been put on the path to irreversible change based on ‘remarkably weak evidence’. The report prompted NHS england to announce a ‘Cass part two’ review of adult gender services.  Ms Atkins said Labour had sought to downplay its rhetoric of the past decade by agreeing with Dr Cass’s final recommendations. She told LBC: ‘It’s all very well for Labour now to say that . . . they’re  ‘Atmosphere of intimidation’  agreeing with the report. If only they hadn’t spent the last decade trying to shut anyone up who dared to ask questions or voice concerns.’  She later posted on X: ‘For too long an atmosphere of intimidation has been used to silence those who raised the alarm. Wes Streeting said we should just get over it. Where’s the explanation and apology?’  Mr Streeting has been vocal among Labour figures to endorse the Cass Review. Asked on The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots show whether he still agreed with Stonewall that ‘trans women are women, get over it’, he said that on reflection ‘there are lots of complexities’.  He added: ‘I take the criticism on the chin. I also think there’s been some absolutely ugly rhetoric directed towards trans people who are at the wrong end of all statistics on hate crime, self-harm, suicide, mental health.’  After Dr Cass’s report said ‘the toxicity of the debate is exceptional’, it emerged six NHS adult gender services had effectively blocked the review’s research. In a letter to NHS england’s chief executive, Ms Atkins said there could be ‘no further delay’ on understanding the experience of 9,000 young patients of the now-shut gender service at the Tavistock Trust in London.  The adult gender dysphoria clinics to which Tavistock patients moved refused to take part in a study on the outcomes of treatment, which Ms Atkins described as ‘disgraceful’. NHS england has written to the trusts demanding the data is handed over and it has instructed an end to appointments for under-18s.  Mr Streeting was also criticised by sources close to equalities minister Kemi Badenoch. They said: ‘Wes Streeting’s mea culpa is too little too late. Kemi has been campaigning on these issues for years – long before some of the johnnycome-latelys currently trying to suck up the credit – and she took some horrendous abuse.’  Article Name:Minister: Labour fuelled the intimidation on trans issues Publication:Daily Mail Author:By Alex Ward and Martin Beckford Start Page:11 End Page:11
Why JK Rowling shouldn’t forgive those weaselly little bandwagon jumpers she made rich and famous Daily Mail12 Apr 2024 J.K. Rowling has said she won ’ t forgive Harry P otter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and R upert Grint, who criticised her and ‘cosied up to a move - ment intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights’ during the early stages of the toxic trans debates.  Nor will she accept any apology they might be willing to make, now that the Cass Review has been published — which vindicates her views on what she calls ‘the catastrophe of child transition’.  Good for J .K. — why the hell should she make nice with these mini-tyrants, forever desperate to polish their woke credentials at her expense?  ‘There are all kinds of courage,’ as P rofessor Dumbledore once said. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our ene - mies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.’  Radcliffe and Watson and even Rupert Grint owe their entire careers to J.K. Rowling’s creative brilliance. You might have hoped this would earn her if not their undying gratitude, then at least a bit of respect. But not a bit of it.  The weaselly bandwagon jump - ers didn’t hesitate to kick Rowling to the kerb when she aired her beliefs — widely held by the Brit - ish public — that sex is real and has lived consequences, not least that women’s lives are fundamentally shaped by being female.  We can all respect and be supportive of trans people living lives that feel authentic and comfortable to them, was her general feeling. However, not to the point where more is lost than gained. When children’s wellbeing, women’s safety, women’s rights, the sanctity of female sports and all- women safe spaces are threatened and eroded by noisy pressure groups insisting upon trans rights above all rights. Then and now, Rowling’s beliefs were popular, thoughtful, non-transphobic and admirable. Surely she deserved support from her former proteges?  Are you kidding? Radcliffe released a statement (‘transgen - der women are women ’) and piously apologised to any Harry Potter fans who felt that ‘their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished’ by her stance. How utterly enraging of the little pipsqueak.  THEN Hermione Granger actress Emma W atson was equally dismissive of Rowling’s views. ‘Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,’ she cheeped on her Twitter account.  Ron Weasley actor Rupert Grint followed along. ‘I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. T rans women are women. T rans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.’  But who was really being judgy here? It’s not that these influen - tial young actors are not entitled to their express their opinions — of course they are. But why feel they had to weigh in — uninvited! — on the beliefs of the woman who gave them their careers? The publication of the Cass Report this week has changed everything — and thank God for that.  The review , which primarily looked at gender identity services for under-18s, found that children in the UK have been let down by a lack of research and ‘remarkably weak’ evidence on medical inter - ventions in gender care.  We all know what that means; the terrible, bleak reality of too many ruined young bodies, too many troubled lives blighted by parents, adults, teachers, mis - guided Harry P otter celebrities, nutcases and numerous people in organisations such as the BBC and the Guardian newspaper who supported this flawed ideology with all their hearts.  And by doing so, insidiously supported the transitioning of minors, encouraging young women to cut off their breasts and young boys to take pubertyblocking hormones. Children who were too young to drink , smoke or vote were encouraged to make far -reaching, irreversible decisions about their sexuality and physical appearance. It was a kind of madness.  And it is far from over , despite the screech of U-turns being heard from the progressive Left.  Look at Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting, who is thrashing about in the post- Cass sheep dip of his very personal conversion therapy.  Quicker than you can say ‘forth - coming election’ Mr Streeting has dramatically tried to disinfect himself from his formerly hardline stance on gender, admitting it was a mistake to insist ‘all trans women are women’.  YET his greasy mea culpa doesn’t make it all right. It doesn’t make him or his brutish views all right, nor does it ameliorate those who used their platforms to cheer on gender treatments that wrecked lives for ever.  Several transgender people were invited to comment on the news. BBC Radio 4’s PM programme had Amelia Hansford, a trans - gender journalist for PinkNews. ‘It is not going to stop the trans people who really need this care,’ she said — and I hope that it doesn’t.  But only when they are adults, old enough to make an informed decision themselves or at the very least pass stringent psychological assessments in paediatric gender clinics. BBC News had Hallie Clarke, who said that she knew she was trans from a young age because she had ‘a Hannah Mon - tana cake and a blonde wig’. And now she feels ‘underminded’ by the Cass Review.  Outspoken trans woman India Willoughby tweeted herself into a fury, expounding a belief that the Cass Review is an ‘ideologicallydriven’ report that ignores evidence and is trying to ‘ ban transitioning’.  I don’t think that is true. And I don’t think that is what anyone wants, on all sides of the argument. But I am growing tired of the militant trans lobby propounding the belief that ‘psychologically’ believing you are a woman auto - matically makes you a woman.  For being a woman is not just a thought — and it is offensive to many of us that biological males who think that wearing a wig , having breasts and a Hannah Montana birthday cake is all it takes, argument over.  The reality is much more complex, of course, but at least the Cass Review is a vindication of J.K. Rowling and common sense at last. No apology needed.  Article Name:Why JK Rowling shouldn’t forgive those weaselly little bandwagon jumpers she made rich and famous Publication:Daily Mail Start Page:25 End Page:25

Daily Telegraph

Leading trans doctor snubbed Cass review Dr Derek Glidden, the NHS’S leading adviser on gender dysphoria, ignored calls to share patient data The Daily Telegraph12 Apr 2024By Michael Searles and Laura Donnelly  Dr Derek Glidden is clinical director of the Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health The NHS’S most senior adviser on transgender health refused to share data about his clinic’s patients with the Cass review. Dr Hilary Cass said efforts to track about 9,000 children who went on to be seen by adult services were “thwarted” by the refusal of clinics to provide evidence. it has now emerged that Derek Glidden, clinical director of the Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health, refused to comply despite being NHS England’s gender dysphoria national speciality adviser.  THE NHS’S most senior adviser on transgender health refused to share data about his clinic’s patients with the Cass Review.  Dr Hilary Cass said efforts to track the journeys of about 9,000 children who went on to be seen by adult services were “thwarted” by the refusal of clinics to provide evidence. Researchers were trying to establish the long-term consequences of medical interventions by seeking data from adult clinics, which take patients from the age of 16.  Six of the seven clinics which run adult gender services refused to comply with the request.  They include the Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health, one of the leading centres in the country.  Dr Derek Glidden, its clinical director, refused to comply despite being NHS England’s gender dysphoria national speciality adviser.  He chairs the NHS England clinical Reference Group on gender dysphoria, while another of its five members, Dr  Laura Charlton, the clinical lead at Leeds Gender Identity Clinic, also refused to participate in the research.  The Nottingham clinic has been key to the rollout of a wave of experimental trans services. It has links to the Indigo Gender Service in Manchester, which describes itself as “trans and non-binary led”, and to a recent scheme in Sussex that has put GPS in charge.  Campaigners have raised concerns about the pilot schemes, with one likening them to “the Wild West”, saying responsibility for life-changing decisions was being handed to those with inadequate specialist knowledge.  As chair of the NHS Clinical Reference Group on gender dysphoria, Dr Glidden advises its national programme board, which commissioned the rollout.  Dr Charlton, a clinical psychologist, worked at the controversial and now shut down Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) from 2014 to 2020 and has defended the clinic.  In 2022, she was one of the coordinators of a joint letter which took issue with how the GIDS service was being portrayed.  The clinical leads of the NHS Gender Identity Clinics in Northampton, Newcastle and Sheffield also refused to cooperate with the Cass Review, as did the discredited clinic at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.  Just one of the seven units – the Laurels Gender Identity Clinic in Exeter – agreed to supply any evidence.  On the eve of the Cass Review, NHS England’s national director of specialised commissioning wrote to NHS hospital leaders operating adult clinics, telling them that “mandatory action” would be taken if clinics did not comply.  The letter, seen by The Telegraph, says clinical leads at the clinics failed to co-operate with researchers.  It said: “Despite the best efforts of the research team, the necessary cooperation from the clinical leads within the Gender Dysphoria Clinics was not forthcoming, despite – and contrary to – positive assurances from CMOS [chief medical officers].”  Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, yesterday said the failure of the clinics to comply was “disgraceful”.  NHS England said it has now issued instructions to all clinics to take part in the research.  Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health, Dr Glidden and Dr Charlton were approached for comment.  Article Name:Leading trans doctor snubbed Cass review Publication:The Daily Telegraph Author:By Michael Searles and Laura Donnelly Start Page:9 End Page:9
Rayner refuses to back down over attack on gender critical group The Daily Telegraph12 Apr 2024By Daniel Martin Deputy political editor ANGELA RAYNER has declined to apologise for endorsing a charter that described feminist organisations who had raised fears about the treatment of trans children as “hate groups”.  When Ms Rayner stood to be Labour deputy leader in 2020 she backed a trans rights charter which described bodies including Women’s Place UK – which campaigns for single-sex rape refuges for women – as “trans-exclusionist hate groups”.  In the wake of the Cass review, Ms Rayner has faced calls to renounce the comments.  A string of high-profile Labour figures have previously made remarks endorsing the views of trans activists, including leader Sir Keir Starmer, who in 2022 said “trans women are women”.  Yesterday, Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, accused Labour of having fuelled an “atmosphere or intimidation” on trans issues.  Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, admitted on Wednesday night that he had been wrong to say in the past that “trans women are women, get over it”.  However, Ms Rayner’s spokesman declined to apologise.  A Labour spokesman said: “We all have a responsibility to ensure discussion of sensitive issues is conducted in a respectful way. That is how the Labour Party will always operate.”  Sir Keir’s spokesman declined yesterday to withdraw his remark that “trans women are women”.  However, he said: “Of course sex and gender are different, and legally different for good reason.”  The group LGB Alliance, which is critical of gender ideology, was also listed as a hate group by the Labour trans campaign, and last year it was turned down when it applied to host a stand at the Labour conference.  Speaking to The Telegraph, the charity’s chief executive Kate Barker said: “We hope Angela Rayner will reflect on the Cass review and reconsider her opinion of LGB Alliance.  “It is not ‘hateful’ for an LGB charity to warn about ideologically-driven, unevidenced medical experiments on young people – most of whom are lesbian, gay or bisexual.  “There’s a much more profound issue at play, however, which is a culture where even senior politicians condemn their opponents as ‘hateful’ with zero evidence – and zero engagement. It’s also one of the chief reasons this unprecedented medical scandal has been allowed to continue for so long.  “This year, LGB Alliance will once again apply to exhibit at Labour conference; we hope, in the light of Cass, we will finally be granted the opportunity to attend and engage in civilised and rational discussion.”  A spokeswoman for Women’s Place UK said: “We welcome the change in direction by UK Labour and the comments made by several senior Labour figures in response to the Cass Review. We hope this is reflected across the Labour Party and in the manifesto.”  Ms Atkins told Sky News: “Labour has spent the last 10 years trying to shut women up when it comes to this.  “They have been … creating an atmosphere of intimidation for anyone who dared to question this ideology.  “So it is a little bit rich of the Labour Party to be lecturing the rest of us now having been so forthright in their support for this ideology in the past.”  Article Name:Rayner refuses to back down over attack on gender critical group Publication:The Daily Telegraph Author:By Daniel Martin Deputy political editor Start Page:9 End Page:9
JK Rowling just says what we all secretly think, claims Johnson The Daily Telegraph12 Apr 2024By Daily Telegraph Reporter J K ROWLING just says what most people “secretly think” about gender, Boris Johnson has said.  Speaking at a Conservative conference in Ottawa, Mr Johnson on Wednesday hailed the author as a “modern saint” for her stance on transgender women and claimed that her views on gender are “what 95 per cent of the population secretly think”.  The former prime minister said people “don’t have the guts” to say what the Harry Potter author voices publicly “because they’re worried that they will offend somebody”.  Rowling has been at the centre of a gender row since new hate crime laws came into force in Scotland last week.  She challenged police to arrest her in a social media post in which she called a series of high-profile trans women men. Police in Scotland ruled that no offence had been committed.  Rowling has criticised trans women being allowed to use women’s bathrooms and insisted that it is not possible for surgeries or hormones to “literally turn a person into the opposite sex”.  Mr Johnson defended the author, saying her battle was part of a wider fight for free speech in Britain. He said it was “unbelievable” what Rowling’s critics were saying about her.  He added: “She’s probably done more to encourage young people to read around the world than any other person I can think of.”  “And by the way, what’s so crazy, is what she says about gender is, of course, what 95 per cent of the population secretly think.”  Mr Johnson also used the event to attack his successor, Rishi Sunak, over his support for a ban on cigars.  The Prime Minister last year announced a phased ban on tobacco products under which the age of sale would rise by one year every year from 2027. Mr Johnson criticised the ban, saying some of Mr Sunak’s policies that are “being done in the name of conservatism” are “absolutely, absolutely nuts”.  He said: “I see my beloved party... are banning cigars. And what is the point? The party of Winston Churchill wants a ban. I mean, donnez-moi un break as they say in Quebec. It’s just mad.”  Johnson’s defence of Rowling came as the author hinted she would not forgive Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as she criticised celebrities who “cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hardwon rights”.  Writing on social media after the publication of the Cass report, Rowling said it was a “watershed” moment.  When someone claimed that Radcliffe and Watson owe her “a very public apology... safe in the knowledge that you will forgive them”, Rowling responded by saying: “Not safe, I’m afraid.”  Article Name:JK Rowling just says what we all secretly think, claims Johnson Publication:The Daily Telegraph Author:By Daily Telegraph Reporter Start Page:10 End Page:10
Sack those who conspired against children We will only close this dark chapter in our history if we punish trans extremists for the harm they have caused The Daily Telegraph12 Apr 2024JULIE BINDEL  There is no doubt that the Cass report, four years in the making, represents a watershed moment. The emperor has been stripped of every item of clothing, and the house of cards has tumbled. No longer can politicians, clinicians and others say with any authority that prescribing puberty blockers for gender-confused children is either harmless or irreversible.  We know that a damaging medical experiment has been performed on our most vulnerable children at Gids. But how do we ensure real and lasting change? Serious consequences are a must, and will, in turn, act as a deterrent for anyone thinking they can ride roughshod over the report’s recommendations or the duty of care owed to children by teachers, social workers and clinicians.  Already, some politicians – who don’t appear to have even read the report – have stated that they will soon be consulting gender ideologues about next steps. They should be kicked out of their political party, triggering by-elections in order that their constituents – many of whom will be trying to support their genderconfused children – can kick them out of Parliament. Only one Labour MP has consistently and tirelessly spoken out against the misogyny inherent to gender ideology, and the colleagues who have bullied and defamed her should be investigated and face disciplinary action: to date, the party has neither protected her from harassment, bullying and defamatory allegations, nor taken the perpetrators to task.  Clinicians who, at private clinics, handed out puberty blockers without adequate tests or examinations ought to be investigated. Class actions need to be taken against psychiatrists and doctors who set children on an irreversible pathway.  Teachers who have allowed (or even encouraged) children to socially transition should lose their jobs – especially when they have also failed to inform parents that their child is presenting as the opposite sex. These young people will be irreversibly harmed by trusted adults feeding them the fiction that they can change sex.  Trans charities should be stripped of all public funding, as should any other organisation pushing the fiction that puberty blockers are harmless. Therapists claiming children denied access to puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones are at risk of suicide should have the sword of Damocles over their heads. Their professional body should remove their licences. Any doctor administering those drugs to children (NHS or private) should be struck off.  This is not about vengeance. It is the only way to protect children, because some of these gender ideologues follow the mantra as though it is a fundamentalist religion. They see themselves as do-gooder freedom fighters. They will not countenance dissent, or ever believe that their actions are morally wrong.  We need to stop using benign terminology, such as “gender affirmation” and call it what it is. Children cannot change sex. We need to go back to the early principles of feminism, which held that children should be able to play with whatever toys they wish without being labelled as “gender nonconforming”. Parents who transition their own children should be investigated by police, and social services need to be retrained out of the ideology, enabling them to do a better job of protecting children from parents that do this. At the same time, we must ensure that parents who don’t subscribe to the gender dogma are not smeared as transphobic and deliberately isolated from their children.  If this all sounds harsh, so it should. In all other areas there are, rightly, serious penalties for harming children. Across British society, many others have been complicit in the trans conspiracy against our young. Some have used their fame to peddle this dangerous ideology. They ought to apologise, admit their wrongdoing, and help set us back on a path to reason.  In 2022, it was reported that a thousand families are set to sue Gids. These families allege that their children were rushed into taking life-changing puberty blocking drugs. Many of those kids ended up on cross-sex hormones. This amounts to serious medical negligence, and those responsible should face financial penalties. The NHS and all public bodies must now denounce anyone involved in this medicalisation of children. It is child abuse, and it needs to be stopped. Young people’s lives depend on it.  Article Name:Sack those who conspired against children Publication:The Daily Telegraph Author:JULIE BINDEL Start Page:14 End Page:14
The Harry Potter stars don’t deserve JK Rowling’s pardon The Daily Telegraph12 Apr 2024 Well done to JK Rowling for her implacable stance when it comes to those who have wronged her. The author has said she will never forgive the performers who shot to fame thanks to their starring roles in the Harry Potter film franchise then disowned and effectively vilified her for not subscribing to transgender extremism.  Writing on X in the wake of the Cass review, which condemned the way young people had been encouraged to undergo drastic treatment on the weakest of evidence, Rowling described it as a “watershed” moment that “lays bare the tragedy” of allowing children to transition.  When someone then tweeted that actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson owed her “a very public apology... safe in the knowledge that you will forgive them”, Rowling responded by saying, with magnificent understatement: “Not safe, I’m afraid.” She continued: “Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single-sex spaces.”  I can’t see that happening anytime soon. Frankly, if I knew how to cancel someone, I’d cancel everyone who believes you can assert any old nonsense about sex and gender, no matter how preposterous.  As Rowling has demonstrated with great dignity, you can’t victimise someone who has the backing of every right-thinking person on the planet. And you certainly can’t bully someone who is prepared to put her money where other people’s mouths are and challenge Scotland’s laughable new hate law, which was only introduced to curry favour with self-righteous teenagers so they will vote to leave the union once Indyref2 rears its ugly head.  Sometimes sorry just isn’t enough. In my book, forgiveness is not always a corollary. It’s fine to accept an apology but that is not the same as forgiving or forgetting. There is no obligation to do either.  Bearing a grudge is supposed to be corrosive and generally gets a bad rap but nobody ever talks about the pleasure it can bring as you plan how to settle old scores.  Of course, the prevailing consensus is that forgiveness is all to do with love and by forgiving you set yourself free, but I think that is more about wars, invasions, criminality and so forth.  My grudges are invariably petty. Minor betrayals; the noisy neighbour who reported me to the police; that time a colleague said “I thought you weren’t allowed to wear short skirts after the age of 30”. Like a lot of people, I can only forgive if I forget. When abuse hurled at decent people is preserved online for posterity, how can anyone even begin to heal?  Article Name:The Harry Potter stars don’t deserve JK Rowling’s pardon Publication:The Daily Telegraph Start Page:7 End Page:7
By Judith Woods

Saturday 13 April

The Guardian

Streeting: ‘Watershed moment’ for gender identity The Guardian13 Apr 2024Pippa Crerar Wes Streeting said yesterday he wanted the Cass review to be a “watershed moment” in the provision of health services for young people questioning their gender identity, but he understood why some trans people may feel “frightened”.  He said that children and young people particularly, but trans people more generally, had been “utterly failed” by the current state of healthcare available but that “we’ve got to get this right” for them.  He said the Cass review had created an opportunity to move beyond “some of the toxicity” around the issue to a “more thoughtful, careful and considered” approach.  “I’ve gone out of my way, particularly in the wake of the Cass review, not to throw rocks at the Tory party and to see if we can try to build a more positive consensus,” he said. “But that will rely on the Conservative party being more like David Cameron and less like Suella Braverman.”  He said the country needed a more “thoughtful and inclusive” conversation about trans rights, and regretted some of the language he had used in the past.  “I understand why trans people are frightened,” Streeting said. “There has been an utterly toxic political backdrop in our country that has seen a rise in trans hate crime and has made the job of the Cass review more challenging.  “Trans activists have been questioning the motivation [of the report] and fearing whether or not this is going to be a watershed moment that makes things better, or makes things worse.  “It has got to be a watershed moment that makes things better for trans people and for young people who may be questioning their gender identity.”  Article Name:Streeting: ‘Watershed moment’ for gender identity Publication:The Guardian Author:Pippa Crerar Start Page:10 End Page:10
Hopes Cass report will end ‘culture of fear’ in gender research The Guardian13 Apr 2024Hannah Devlin Ian Sample PHOTOGRAPH: GUY BELL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK ▼ A Trans Pride march in London. Many experts on gender are worried about the lack of quality research Critical thinking and open debate are pillars of scientific and medical research. Yet experienced professionals are increasingly scared to openly discuss their views on the treatment of children questioning their gender identity.  This was the conclusion drawn by Hilary Cass in her landmark review this week, which said a toxic debate had resulted in a culture of fear. Her conclusion was echoed by doctors, academic researchers and scientists, who have told the Guardian this has had a chilling effect on research in an area in desperate need of better evidence.  Some said they had been deterred from pursuing what they believed to be crucial studies, saying merely entering the arena would put their reputation at risk. Others spoke of abuse on social media, academic conferences being shut down, biases in publishing and the personal cost of speaking out.  “In most areas of health, medical researchers have freedom to answer questions to problems without fear of judgment,” said Dr Channa Jayasena, a consultant in reproductive endocrinology at Imperial College London. “I’ve never quite known a field where the risks are also in how you’re seen and your beliefs. You have to be careful about what you say both in and out of the workplace.”  Sallie Baxendale, a professor of clinical neuropsychology at UCL’s Institute of Neurology, received abuse after publishing a systematic review of studies that investigated the impact of puberty blockers on brain development. Her review found that “critical questions” remained around the nature, extent and permanence of any arrested development of cognitive function linked to the treatment.  The paper, which merely summarised the state of relevant research, provoked immediate anger. “I’ve been accused of being an anti-trans activist, and that now comes up on Google and is never going to go away,” Baxendale told the Guardian.  The lack of high-quality research is a subject of growing unease among doctors, according to Dr Juliet Singer, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and a former governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust. In 2020, Singer conducted a survey of specialist child psychiatry trainees, which highlighted concerns about the lack of explanation for the exponential growth in referrals to adolescent gender services, the lack of long-term outcome studies on treatments, and insufficient evidence on the long-term effects of hormone blockers.  But, she said, raising questions such as what was driving the huge rise in birth-registered girls presenting with gender-related distress in puberty appeared to be deemed “unacceptable” by some senior leaders at the Tavistock. “There’s been a shutting down of anybody who has suggested we need to think about a deeper understanding of why these young people are in such distress,” she said. “It’s been remarkable the difference from other ordinary clinical practice.”  Others have found commenting publicly on the scientific merits of work by other academics – normally a routine part of media coverage – has put scientists in the line of fire over trans-related issues.  Jayasena described getting hate mail after welcoming a US study in which a trans woman was given hormones to be able to experience breastfeeding and, separately, being accused of transphobia after commenting on research about athletic performance in trans women. “I felt concerns for my safety,” he said. “I find my quotes are weaponised. That is very worrying and most colleagues would never go near this type of topic for that reason.”  Another senior researcher in endocrinology, who wished to remain anonymous, said medical professionals had resorted to sharing views on anonymous WhatsApp groups. “The badmouthing and the social media destruction of people’s reputation and careers is so damning,” she said, adding: “This isn’t how good scientific debate happens – it happens when people can talk honestly and without fear.”  The risk of being attacked is enough to deter younger researchers from entering the field, Baxendale believes. “It’s tough, I think most people would just walk away. Why risk your reputation? There are many people early in their careers, and I do not blame them one bit, who would not be prepared to accept that.”  The situation hampers efforts to establish a firm medical basis for treatments, Baxendale believes. If the best researchers avoid the field, there is a risk it will be dominated by less rigorous scientists and those with an interest in their results supporting particular beliefs. After publishing her review, Baxendale was contacted by a senior expert outside the UK who said they had walked away from a study after being told the team would only publish “positive” findings.  Jayasena agrees, saying there has been a perception of research being dominated by “a self-selected cohort of people who will be on either side of the fence and perhaps not so interested in advancing the field”. And in the absence of a robust evidence-base, there had been greater scope for ideology to fill the knowledge gap. “Ultimately I’ve seen completely unhelpful views on both sides,” said Jayasena.  Institutionally, this could act as a disincentive for learned societies, NHS bodies and journals to become involved at any level.  In an effort to find common ground among academics, doctors, patient groups and campaigners that could be a springboard for objective research, Singer tried to organise a conference at Great Ormond Street hospital in 2022. The meeting was an invite-only academic conference for specialist child psychiatry trainees and consultant child psychiatrists, and Cass was due to present her interim findings, alongside diverse speakers, including former clinicians at the gender identity development service at the Tavistock clinic.  “What I wanted to do with the conference was just bring together people with different perspectives,” she said. However, after a significant numbers of complaints and making concessions aimed at achieving a balanced programme, the conference was cancelled by Health Education England (HEE) the day before it was due to take place after a “protected whistleblower’s report” was sent in from someone calling themselves a researcher on anti-trans conspiracy theories. Despite reassurances that it would be reorganised by HEE and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, this is yet to happen.  Fuelled by concerns over the poor quality of research, the Cass report has set the stage for a major NHS trial that should start this year. It will look at the safety and efficacy of puberty blockers, but also crosssex hormones that are used to masculinise or feminise people, and psychosocial interventions, with the aim of establishing a robust evidence base.  Many are hopeful the Cass report and the NHS trial will draw a line under the in-fighting and abuse and establish a more constructive field of gender medicine.  Baxendale is acutely aware that many patients and families will be left this week wondering whether help will be available, whether treatments work and whether they can trust their doctors. “It must be so distressing for them,” she said. “But I think there is hope. The NHS research will be rigorous, it’s balanced to look at benefits and harms, and I think once we’ve got the results we will have a proper service for these kids.”  ‘My quotes are weaponised. Most colleagues wouldn’t go near this topic’  Dr Channa Jayasena Imperial College London  Article Name:Hopes Cass report will end ‘culture of fear’ in gender research Publication:The Guardian Author:Hannah Devlin Ian Sample Start Page:14 End Page:14 Report has ‘potential for positive change’ The Guardian13 Apr 2024Harriet Sherwood  Stephen Whittle, professor of equalities law and co-founder of Press for Change, transitioned as a teenager in 1975 When Stephen Whittle transitioned as a teenager in 1975, he was one of only a handful of young people in the UK to be offered hormone treatment and later surgery.  Almost half a century later – much of it spent fighting for trans rights – he said there was “masses” he agreed with in this week’s review of the NHS’s gender identity services by Hilary Cass. He also identified strong influences on the report by groups and individuals with transphobic views, and said the “potential for positive change must be backed with resources”.  Whittle, emeritus professor of equalities law at Manchester Metropolitan University, has become one of the UK’s leading advocates for trans rights and has advised governments around the world. Now 68, he views the issues raised in the Cass report with the perspective of decades of personal and professional experience.  As a child, “I had no doubt that something was deeply wrong – and I had no doubt what it was,” he said. At one particular school sports day “there were boys’ races and girls’ races, and I suddenly realised that I was always going to be in the wrong race”.  After a couple of suicide attempts – “I had no doubt that I couldn’t live as the person people thought I was meant to be” – Whittle was finally seen by a sympathetic doctor. He was offered testosterone, followed four years later by surgery.  “My father, who was quite a Victorian man in his attitudes, said: ‘We’ve been waiting for this since you were two’. Ninety per cent of people said it made sense.  “But from strangers or people who barely knew me, there was a lot of discrimination and prejudice. I had sexual and physical assaults in the street, and I lost job after job. None of it was easy.”  Soon after he transitioned, Whittle met his life partner, Sarah, with whom he has four children. “I hadn’t had surgery at that point, but she never had any doubt that I was the man she saw and knew.”  In the mid-1980s, Whittle went to night school and studied for a law degree. He co-founded Press for Change, which campaigned for trans rights, and in 2005 was awarded an OBE for services to gender issues.  Young trans people today face “different challenges” to those he experienced, he said. “Getting a job and keeping it is easier for them. But what’s really difficult is [social media]. Online can be a hateful place.”  As a teenager questioning his gender, and later as a trans adult, he was very isolated, and worked hard to establish supportive networks of people who met regularly. Now, it is easier to find people going through similar experiences online, but harder to maintain in-person contact.  Today there is a greater willingness to explore gender issues than there had been 50 years ago. “You have people at a much younger age asking: ‘Am I trans?’ And then there are those who simply know they belong in a different body.”  The Cass report identified multiple problems with gender identity services, Whittle said. “Underfunding, staff overwhelmed, records not properly kept, mental health services in need of massive improvement. But I also think you can see the fingerprints of transphobia on the report.”  Some anti-trans organisations had undue influence on government and officials, he said. “Since 2010 I’ve not been included in one conversation with government, none of us have. But these other people are sitting round the table and enjoying their power. I think aspects of the Cass report were heavily influenced by the fear of these people and pressure from them.”  Much of what happens after the Cass review would depend on a willingness to properly resource services and provide “a lot of talking therapy” for individuals.  “Cass has the potential for positive change but it has to be backed up with significant funding,” he said.  Article Name:Report has ‘potential for positive change’ Publication:The Guardian Author:Harriet Sherwood Start Page:15 End Page:15

The Times

Gender clinics to disclose outcomes for children given puberty blockers Eleanor Hayward - Health Editor, James Beal - Social Affairs Editor Adult NHS gender clinics have bowed to pressure to share missing data on the outcomes of 9,000 patients who were treated as children at the Tavistock Centre.  Six NHS Trusts thwarted a landmark review published by Dr Hilary Cass this week by refusing to co-operate with research into the long-term impact of prescribing puberty blockers and sex hormones.  Cass had commissioned a team at the University of York to examine how thousands of trans children fared after being transferred to adult NHS services from the age of 16.  But the research had to be abandoned after six of the seven NHS adult clinics refused to participate, with some expressing unfounded concerns over “interference from government ministers”. Cass described their failure to share data as “co-ordinated” and “ideologically driven”.  Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, was informed on Thursday night that the adult clinics have now backed down and agreed to comply, after she ordered them to end a “culture of secrecy and ideology”.  Gender clinic leaders who had led opposition to the research provided assurances that they will co-operate, after being threatened with “mandatory direction” from NHS bosses.  It means the world-leading study of the consequences of medical interventions for trans children will be able to proceed, with the NHS due to set out further details early next week. The research will track the fate of the 9,000 children who were under the care of the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust between 2009 and 2020.  An NHS spokesman said: “Ahead of the publication of the Cass Review’s final report, NHS England wrote to all seven providers of adult gender dysphoria clinics setting out our expectation of full participation with the data linkage study, and have now received assurances that the group intend to do so.”  Six adult NHS gender clinics, in Leeds, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Sheffield and the Gids clinic at the Tavistock centre in north London, refused to take part in the study. A seventh adult clinic, in Exeter, was the only unit to agree to supply evidence.  A document, buried in Cass’s report, lays bare the alleged reasons for the clinics’ refusal to participate, including that the “study may not be fully independent”. It said the six clinics claimed the study “may suffer from interference by NHS England, the Cass review team and government ministers” whose interests “do not align” with theirs and those of the patients.  The clinics are also said to have complained that the “unintended outcome of the study is likely to be a high-profile national report that will be misinterpreted, misrepresented or actively used to harm patients”.  Some clinics felt obliged to contact all eligible patients directly to inform them of the study, the document said, providing another roadblock to participation.  The document also reveals how the clinics conceded that changes to NHS numbers, postcodes and gender “would make record linkage between Gids and adult clinics extremely challenging”.  This is despite a legislative change ordered by the former health secretary Sajid Javid in 2022, to allow pre and post-transition NHS numbers to be linked, so that the study could proceed.  Campaigners are calling for the leaders of the adult clinics to be held accountable. In a letter to Atkins, the charity Sex Matters said: “Public-sector bodies deliberately withholding information is disgraceful and a dereliction of duty. The research they obstructed is needed by clinicians, policymakers, the general public and, most importantly, future patients and their families, so they can understand the risks and the effectiveness of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.”  The NHS’s most senior adviser on transgender health was among the adult clinic leaders who refused to cooperate with Cass’s review. Dr Derek Glidden, clinical director of the Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health, refused to share data despite being chairman of the NHS England clinical reference group on gender dysphoria. The Nottingham clinic has been key to the rollout of a new wave of experimental trans services being set up across the country.  The Leeds Gender Identity Clinic, which is led by Dr Laura Charlton, also refused to share data with the review. Charlton, who worked at Gids from 2014 to 2020, was the organiser of a letter to the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK in 2022 defending the use of medical interventions in children.  A spokesman for the Leeds Gender Identity Service said: “We fully support the research into young people’s gender services, and we co-operated as fully as we could with the Cass review. The Leeds Gender Identity Service is named as a primary data source within the report. We look forward to engaging with the forthcoming review of adult services as we have a lot to share in terms of clinical expertise and the lived experience of our service users.”  The other NHS trusts did not respond to requests for comment.
Cass was a skirmish, now prepare for a war Gender ideology is so deeply embedded in the NHS that reversing it will require resolve from managers and ministers Janice Turner - @VICTORIAPECKHAM  The Cass review is a diligent, extensive piece of research conducted over four unhurried years by a distinguished paediatrician and her crack University of York team. It puts under surgical scrutiny every tenet of child gender medicine and finds the evidence that underpins it gravely flawed. Yet as Dr Hilary Cass herself notes, the review had one failure.  Imagine if 9,000 children who began treatment at the Tavistock Gids clinic (the NHS Gender Identity Development Service) were interviewed as adults. How did their lives pan out? What proportion are thriving as trans? How many now regret their youthful decisions? Has their mental health improved? Is their physical health affected by hormones? How many detransitioned, and why? A longitudinal study of this size would benefit not just NHS England but gender medicine worldwide.  Surely anyone who cares about these troubled adolescents, two thirds teenage girls, would leap to assist. The study’s key barrier, that a trans person acquires a new NHS number making it impossible to link a female child to an adult with a male gender marker, had been removed by special legislation for the purposes of the review.  So the flat refusal by six out of seven adult clinics to participate is the most revealing thing in Cass. The Nottingham clinic head, Dr Derek Glidden, wouldn’t comply despite being the NHS’s most senior adviser on trans health. Relations between the adult service and the University of York team grew so hostile, meetings were abandoned. And in this we see future problems for implementing Cass’s recommendations: that was just one skirmish; what lies ahead is a war.  Gender medicine is hugely suspicious of data. Clinics are noted for professional incuriosity and institutional sloppiness. I recall judges at the Keira Bell judicial review flabbergasted by Gids’s derelict record keeping. So no wonder they feared what Cass’s researchers might find. Even without the adult data, Cass coolly blew apart everything from suicide myths to the claimed benefit of social transition. With the data, what might she have found? Perhaps detransition rates far higher than the claimed 1 per cent, or that female misery is unalleviated by amputated breasts. Then the whole clinical edifice might crumble — which it still could, now adult services face their own independent review.  The broader truth is that child gender medicine is not fuelled by science but activism; not upon “does it work?” but “does the patient demand it?” Poor data is not a glitch but a feature. As the British Medical Journal’s editor-in-chief, Kamran Abbasi, notes, studies in this field “fall woefully short in terms of methodological rigour”. Low-grade studies, where a conclusion is easier to influence, are what gender activists prefer. And because Cass disregarded such studies that fail basic hurdles (like having a control group), the activists now damn her work as methodologically flawed.  The clinicians who oversaw a scandal see themselves as victims  How do you create a new evidencebased service still staffed by clinicians who abhor evidence? The very Gids therapists and psychiatrists who oversaw a medical scandal, expediting children to blockers and hormones, still work in this field. They post on social media groups about how their work was misunderstood and that, as pariahs, they’re the real victims.  How can they fall in line with Cass when they disagree on first principles: ie does a “trans child” exist? Cass’s position tilts towards trans identity being socially constructed, peer-influenced or, in girls, spurred by a fleeing from womanhood precipitated by sexual abuse or porn. But gender ideologues believe an infant contains an innate gender identity that is apparent from early childhood, and the clinician’s job is to help manifest it, by bodily mutilations if required.  Cass seeks a new model of “holistic care” from a broad team, including autism experts and social workers, which considers mental health issues, family pressures and sexuality to see a child’s life in the round. Ex- Gids staff believe that only gender specialists can truly understand “trans kids”, and it is transphobic to investigate external causes. Cass wants a cautious, continuity service for 17 to 24-year-olds that acknowledges their development is still in flux; gender ideologues cry that this is infantilising.  Who will ensure Cass’s principles of holistic, open-minded neutrality are kept, given so many gender clinicians transitioned themselves? (Some clinics advertise as being “trans and non-binary led”.) Especially when gender care will be spread over several regional centres, with greater room for clinicians to sabotage new guidelines by stealth. Stonewall and Mermaids, who evangelised about puberty blockers, now bizarrely claim Cass’s views were theirs all along. But are they keeping a low profile while they work out new back channels to activist clinicians?  In a cash-strapped NHS where child mental health is on the verge of collapse, Cass’s ideas seem utopian. They rest on strong NHS management and resolve from a new Labour government. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, who had a late gender-critical conversion, has said Labour will implement Cass in full. As a gay man, an ex-Stonewall staffer no less, he has strong political capital. But if Labour has a supermajority, its de facto opposition is the left, wherein lie many who reject Cass. Already Dr Cass has met Kemi Badenoch, the equality minister, to say a conversion therapy bill, which has some cross-party support, would inhibit full, open discussion of gender identity and thwart her new service. Labour is packed with LGBT ideologues such as Angela Eagle, who would gleefully do so.  The Cass review is a magnificent achievement yet no cause for celebration: too many young people have suffered who now deserve treatment founded upon science and reason. But implementing that within an ideologically riven NHS will require a new Enlightenment.
How the NHS was captured by cult-like gender fanatics Young people’s bodies became the proving ground for an ideology backed by religious fervour, which amounted to little more than quackery. The Cass report lays bare how medicine lost sight of reason, writes Kathleen Stock  Next image › Pity poor Dr Hilary Cass, the eminent paediatrician charged with managing an independent review of NHS gender services for young people, whose final report was published this week. Given the hair-trigger sensibilities of interested parties, she seems to have been unable to state unambiguously that now-popular treatments for young people confused or distressed by their sexed bodies are blatant quackery: keeping prepubescent kids in suspended chemical animation on the basis of a single, discredited study; dosing teenagers liberally with opposite-sex hormones; or — when a child reaches the tender age of 18, though even earlier in other countries — empowering her to have major body parts cut off.  Instead, time and again in Cass’s report she is forced back into the conceit that the most pressing problem for contemporary gender medicine is the lack of good evidence for such interventions either way. It is as if a modern-day medic had been tasked with reviewing the efficacy of trepanning and then ordered to defend her findings in front of fanatical 5th-century devotees. “It’s not that drilling a hole in a child’s skull to release demons is necessarily harmful, you understand — indeed, it may be the best outcome in some cases. The main issue is the lack of long-term follow up.”  Alongside Cass’s cumulatively devastating account of reckless decision-making, poor evidential standards and patchy record-keeping at Gids (the NHS Gender Identity Development Service) and elsewhere, a whole section of the report gently attempts to educate its readership about the “components of evidence-based medicine” — complete with basic explainers about randomised controlled trials, blinding processes and the possibility of bias. She might as well be addressing an archaic people who have just emerged blinking from a time capsule, still convinced that disease is God’s punishment for insufficient acts of propitiation.  In a sense, though, this is indeed very like one group to whom the report is addressed: those clinicians, parents and patients immersed in bubbles of identity affirmation and cognitively isolated from any reasoning or evidence that would confound their world view. Perhaps, unusually for a medical review, it is clear from Cass’s overtly respectful tone and at times stilleuphemistic language that her aim is not only to inform these readers but also to deprogramme them.  The very first sentence of her report begins with a weary disavowal of Stonewall-endorsed paranoias: “This review is not about … undermining the validity of trans identities, challenging the right of people to express themselves, or rolling back on people’s rights to healthcare.” Somewhat nonsensically, references to “birth-registered females” are scattered throughout the text, as if the author were somehow only concerned with those with birth certificates — presumably an attempt to build bridges with child-like souls still convinced that sex is something coercively assigned to neonates at random. Generally, there is a sense of gingerly addressing a group of emotionally labile people who are not quite ready to face the whole truth.  And no wonder: nearly every indicator of cult membership is present among so-called affirmative clinicians and their hapless patients. Among the most telling signs are a fervent belief in a transcendent new way of life; induction into a mystical world of occult symbols, flags and lanyards; the love-bombing of new recruits with affirmative language and talk of “queer joy”; and the replacement of traditional support systems (one Pride post on the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust website — a hospital involved in creating the new youth gender services to replace Gids — talks about the “fight for LGBT rights” as something to be “won against your family or your neighbours or whoever is directly around you”).  Relatedly, there is a lot of what cult specialists call “hate-bonding” — that is, framing critical voices as evil enemies to be automatically discredited, a process that neatly shuts down intellectual curiosity while solidifying group cohesion in one fell swoop. A recent example was the hostile protest last month at a clinician-organised conference critical of child transition, purportedly led by an NHS doctor. When considered alongside other obvious signs of religious commitment — mantras and incantations, sacred texts, citations of high priests, annual holy weeks and so on — it is not hard to conclude that, for many in the medical profession, trans activism is based on faith not reason. Consider, for instance, the astonishing levels of religiosity in a 2023 publication by the NHS Confederation that at one point encourages “allies” to “recognise the privilege afforded to them as a cisgender person and use this to uplift the voices of trans and non-binary colleagues”.  Cults are not unusual as human phenomena go; the unusual point is that one came to control parts of the NHS. As Cass relates, again euphemistically: “For this group of young people expertise has been concentrated in a small group of people, which has served to gatekeep the knowledge.” Suitably translated so that “expertise” means “power” and “gatekeep the knowledge” means “deflect real scrutiny”, she is effectively pointing to the fact that a lot of damage can be done to an institution by only a few zealots, as long as they are the ones presumed to be in charge of things by others.  There is no better evidence of this than the fact, also highlighted in the report, that according to NHS guidelines a newly socially transitioned young person can be given a different NHS number in alignment with their preferred identity. As well as affecting the provision of sex-appropriate screening and other kinds of differentiated care, this change alone has made it difficult to track long-term outcomes of gender treatment. When first mooted, it would not have been hard to anticipate problems; but such petty worries obviously paled in comparison with the thrill of achieving metamorphosis-by-bureaucracy.  Another clue to the level of ideological capture emerges when Cass describes a proposed data linkage study, originally envisaged as culling information about 9,000 patients from “Gids, hospital wards, outpatient clinics, emergency departments and adult gender dysphoria clinics”, to provide a “population-level evidence base of the different pathways people take and the outcomes”. In the end, the much-needed study didn’t happen because nearly all clinicians in existing gender services refused to co-operate. (An inquiry into adult clinics has since been announced.)  Reasons for refusal included that the Cass review would be politically biased and that “taking part in a study of this kind could bring into question the integrity of clinic staff and the relationships they have with patients”. It is hard to imagine such a self-serving affront to patient safeguarding being considered acceptable in any other healthcare context. Another reason offered, also with an apparently straight face, was that the “study outcomes focus on adverse health events, for which the clinics do not feel primarily responsible”. Once you have fixed the problems with a young person’s soul, apparently what happens to their body afterwards is not your concern.  One could be forgiven for thinking that medical culture should be able to condemn bizarre physical interventions performed on children in the name of religion without having to undertake a four-year clinical review first. Indeed, lawmakers have previously criminalised practices such as female genital mutilation without requiring any such tests. But one instructive thing we can learn from the wreckage of gender medicine is that, with the right kind of institutional and rhetorical scaffolding, doctors can become unsure about what their goals are supposed to be. It’s no good telling them to first do no harm when they can’t work out how to reliably detect it.  A superficial reason for this confusion is that the harms taken to fall squarely under the medical profession’s remit include negative psychological effects as well as physical ones. And, indeed, this looks like the right result: we can all think of cases where mental suffering causes real damage to a person, and going to see a doctor is an appropriate response. But the downside is that, in a culture picky about physical looks or in the grip of some other body-related derangement, a person’s perceptions of her healthy body can have a severe negative psychological impact too; and then what is the clinician supposed to focus on first? Cass talks about the rise among teenage girls in “body dysmorphic disorder”, an obsessive preoccupation with “body image and compulsive revisiting or avoidance of thoughts to manage distress”.  At least, in theory, the doctor then has a choice: changing the mind to be better able to cope with the body or changing the patient’s healthy body to relieve the mind. Cosmetic surgery opts for the latter strategy. Although described as “not routinely provided”, the NHS will sometimes fund implants for uneven breasts, reduction for large ones, or ear-pinning, as long as these things are causing “significant distress”. This, then, is a case where psychological feelings are taken to justify an assault, quite literally, on physically healthy flesh. Trans activists tend to ramp up this strategy, often baselessly suggesting that early physical interventions to change children’s bodies will avoid devastating psychological consequences and perhaps even suicide later on. Inflated figures have been disseminated by mainstream sources for years about the prevalence of suicide attempts in trans-identified young people, and weaponised to motivate medical “affirmation”.  Dr Christine Mimnagh, the clinical lead at the Merseyside adult gender service CMagic and a member of an influential clinical reference group for gender dysphoria services at NHS England, was recently caught on camera telling listeners at Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust that if child services “worked as they should” we would induce “menopause” in some nine-year-old girls before menarche.  “ It’s no good telling doctors to first do no harm when they can’t work out how to reliably detect it  Yet a deeper reason for medical confusion about what counts as harm these days is widespread acknowledgment that judgments of harm are often or even always value-laden — that is, that they implicitly depend on background assumptions about what sort of life is worthwhile. People can put up with all sorts of physical discomfort, on their own behalf or that of their children, when the cause is placed in a moral or religious framework that makes it look better than the alternative. Some Christian scientists will avoid all medical treatment for sick children, failing to shield them from great pain in the process; some Roman Catholics will put their mortally ill children through invasive medical procedures to keep them alive a bit longer. More mundanely, many parents vaccinate their children, circumcise baby boys or pierce girls’ ears — not because they are sadists (of course), but because they believe that the benefits outweigh the somewhat painful costs.  Acknowledging that judgments about physical harm are not always straightforward and often depend on background values can make the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and radical surgery disappear into an ethically confusing fog; especially when the doctor herself has no strong intuitions about the prioritisation of bodily integrity over mental wellness on which to call. Certainly, there are other adults who swear that such physically damaging treatments — for what else can we call them? — have made their lives better overall in terms of other goals: mental health, aesthetics or self-expression.  But there are obvious differences when it comes to children and young adults — differences that apply well beyond the age of majority to at least one’s mid-twenties. One is that so-called affirming procedures are far more physically debilitating, for longer, than things such as ear-piercing, tattoos or even most kinds of cosmetic surgery. Another is that each of them negatively affects what a recently published journal article has argued is a child’s “right to an open future”: roughly, important freedoms or capacities that can only be exercised as autonomous adults (such as biological parenthood or a fulfilling sex life), and whose value is unlikely to be recognised by an individual until later in life. When Cass writes that the “central aim” of treatment is to “help young people to thrive and achieve their life goals” she does not, of course, mean the life goals they have now but the ones they may well have afterwards.  The liberal ideal that each adult individual should be free to pursue her own conception of a good life, as long as it doesn’t impede others from doing the same, takes a bashing these days from both right and leftwing circles. But one thing the ideal can do — at least when properly understood and robustly applied — is to protect our children from fanatics with mad glints in their eye who wish to imprint their religious ideals, quite literally, on children’s healthy developing bodies. In her report, Cass encourages a much wider range of people with relevant specialities to get involved with the care of trans-identified youth; by which she presumably means clinicians whose personal value systems won’t have such perilous physical consequences for their young charges. We can only hope that right-minded people answer her call.

Daily Mail

In a world full of sophistry and double-speak, J.K. Rowling’s plain-speaking makes her... My heroine for our times Daily Mail13 Apr 2024ANDREW NEIL  Cometh the hour, cometh the hero. And what a hero the country — nay, the world — has in J.K. Rowling. the harry Potter author has been in the vanguard of opposing the obsessions of transgender extremists, seeing them for the existential threat to hard-won women’s rights that they are.  this week’s Cass Review on managing gender-related distress in the health service has entirely vindicated her warnings that the treatment of young folks confused about their gender is the medical scandal of our time.  For good measure, ms Rowling has said she will not forgive the self- entitled, virtue- signalling (now not- so-young) brats, who became global film stars only thanks to the Potter movies, for publicly dissing her over transgender issues when she was merely saying what all reasonable people now know to be the truth.  But a superhero’s work is never done. Building on her long-standing concern for women’s wellbeing in Scotland (ms Rowling lives in edinburgh), she has also — almost single-handedly — effectively neutralised Scotland’s absurd new hate crime act (which has nothing to say about misogyny) within days of it becoming law, aptly enough, on April Fool’s Day.  At a time when almost anybody associated with the creative industries feels it necessary to recite ad nauseam the fashionable platitudes of the woke, it is remarkable to come across a creative genius — perhaps the world’s most successful author — as fiercely independent as Rowling. Nor is she any kind of fusty old reactionary or conservative. Far from it.  She is a committed feminist, who has supported Labour and donated big money to the party. She backed Remain in the 2016 referendum on europe (she is also a doughty defender of Scotland’s continuing place in the Union).  But such is her independent frame of mind that when, two years ago, Keir Starmer had trouble defining a woman and was still claiming ‘trans women are women’ Rowling responded that ‘the Labour Party can no longer be counted on to defend women’s rights’. ouch.  She has been going head-to-head with trans dogma on social media for at least five years, relentless in exposing an extremist ideology despite the barbaric abuse and frightening threats heaped on her. She has taken it all in her stride, often with humour.  ‘hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me,’ she wrote. ‘I’ve realised that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever.’  Yes, she is a wealthy woman who can afford to look after herself. But most rich folk prefer to stay away from controversy and keep a low profile while counting their dosh. She has entered a fray she could have ignored with gusto and conviction, unheeding of the consequences. that’s what heroes do.  And after the Cass Review, she stands taller than ever before. It concluded, not before time, that there is ‘remarkably weak evidence’ that giving children puberty blockers is a sensible way to manage gender-related distress.  Yet that is what the NHS’s ‘gender identity development service’ did for years at London’s tavistock Clinic. Four years ago Rowling had warned it was essentially a ‘new form of conversion therapy for young gay people’. And so it has transpired.  Rowling says the Cass Review is ‘not a triumph’ but the ‘laying bare of a tragedy’, which is well put. But she is understandably unforgiving when it comes to her critics, the extremist tendency of the trans lobby and its know-nothing cheerleaders in the wider world.  ‘even if you don’t feel ashamed of cheerleading for what now looks like severe medical malpractice,’ she writes, ‘even if you don’t want to accept that might have been wrong, where’s your sense of selfpreservation? the bandwagon you hopped on so gladly is hurtling towards a cliff.’  When Rowling first took a public stance on this issue, she incurred the wrath of harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and emma Watson. Neither had anything informed to say. they just mouthed the nostrums of the cult.  ‘ transgender women are women,’ said Radcliffe. ‘ trans people are who they say they are,’ added Watson, with even less insight than her co-star. But the impact of their intervention was to disown the woman who had done so much for them and to vilify her in the eyes of millions.  When someone tweeted that Rowling was no doubt looking forward to their apology in the wake of the Cass Review ‘safe in the knowledge’ she would forgive them, Rowling was implacable: ‘Not safe, I’m afraid. Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single- sex spaces.’ ouch, again.  Rowling is now the essential antidote to those in the trans lobby trying to scuttle away from their crimes. When the current boss of mermaids, a zealous trans pressure group, tried to distance herself from what happened at the tavistock and elsewhere, claiming they’d never advocated any particular ‘medical pathway’, Rowling was devastating.  ‘Absolute, total, shameless lies,’ she responded. ‘Your ex- Ceo referred children to the tavistock gender clinic. mermaids has repeatedly claimed puberty blockers are reversible, sent out breast binders to girls as young as 13 and insisted publicly that unless children are affirmed in their trans identities they’ll kill themselves.  ‘Your fingerprints are all over the catastrophe of child transition, and those who funded you, campaigned for you and allowed you to embed yourselves in healthcare systems need to be held to account.’  Rowling is a writer of fiction. But it’s clear she’d make a fine journalist.  Rowling has been even more fearless in Scotland. In the run-up to the delayed introduction of the new Scottish hate crime law, she shared pictures of ten high-profile trans people and challenged their claims to be women (‘misgendering’ in today’s argot), including a convicted rapist who self-identified as a woman soon after he was found guilty so he could do his time at a women’s prison.  ‘ Lovely Scottish lass,’ wrote Rowling, ‘and convicted rapist Isla Bryson found her true authentic female self shortly before she was due to be sentenced. misgendering is hate, so respect Isla’s pronouns.’  Rowling challenged the Scottish police to arrest her: ‘I’m currently out of the country, but if what I’ve written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace [edinburgh] of the Scottish enlightenment.’  Police Scotland is pretty stupid at the best of times, but not that stupid. Rowling has returned home. She is not behind bars. But the new hate law is already looking like a busted flush.  Rowling didn’t leave it there. She offered solidarity with others  She has entered a fray she could have ignored  Cass Review is the ‘ laying bare of a tragedy’  New hate law is already like a busted f lush  accused of misgendering: ‘If they go after any woman for simply calling a man a man, I’ll repeat that woman’s words and they can charge us both at once.’  You can see why Rowling is a feminist icon, feted and admired across the world, however much the trans extremists try to smear her.  transgender issues are not really my bag. I’m more at home with inflation, economic growth rates, trade surpluses, money supply. But I was drawn to the matter when I saw a young woman testify before the U.S. Congress about how, as a teenager, she’d had her breasts removed because she thought she wanted to be a man.  She was now detransitioning but, as she explained in heartbreaking testimony, the medical mutilation was irreversible. I shed a tear — I doubt I was the only one — and tweeted about it.  on a broadcast about my tweets, I was asked if I knew all the ramifications of the matter. I said no, I was new to the subject but was learning fast and took my lead from J.K. Rowling. ‘What she says is what I say,’ I replied.  I’m not sure why I said that. I don’t know her, have never met her, have never read her books or even watched a harry Potter film. But in a world in which there are no political heroes and sophistry plus double-speak rule the roost, her plain- speaking is wise, informed, brave and refreshing.  Since I tacked my banner to her cause I have never had reason to regret it, especially after recent developments. thank you, J.K. Rowling, my hero for our times.  As they say in your adopted city: ‘Lang may yer lum reek.’  Article Name:In a world full of sophistry and double-speak, J.K. Rowling’s plain-speaking makes her... My heroine for our times Publication:Daily Mail Author:ANDREW NEIL Start Page:23 End Page:23
Two weeks in and Scotland’s already riven by mutiny and chaos over the most absurd law since Henry VIII’s beard tax Daily Mail13 Apr 2024By Robert Hardman  Warning: One of the posters advertising controversial new Scottish law There was no shortage of people wanting to join this party. In fact, just nine minutes after going online last month, all the tickets had gone for a night of rich comedy at one of edinburgh’s most fashionable nightclubs.  The audience would be a very mixed bag, as it turned out. According to one organiser, they spanned ‘radical separatist lesbians, libertarian males, geeky unwashed students and middle-aged Daily Mail readers’. They all had one thing in common, though. They all wanted to have a good laugh at one of the most absurd laws since henry VIII’s beard tax.  And there is certainly plenty to laugh (or cry) about with regard to Scotland’s new hate Crime and Public Order Act. Indeed, over the last few days, it has united judges, police officers and pretty much the entire Scottish public in their mockery of a chaotic exercise in virtue- signalling by the country’s ruling Scottish Nationalist/Green alliance.  This is a law which makes it a ‘hate’ crime to abuse a man in a dress but not a woman wearing the very same dress. For, while it offers specific protections for those who are trans-gender, non-binary or simply crossdressing, it does not offer similar protections for women.  There are other ‘protected characteristics’ on grounds of race, age, sexual orientation and even nationality (it could now be a ‘hate’ crime to say something nasty about the english). Furthermore, you can commit a ‘hate’ crime in the privacy of your own home. An expensive multi-media campaign now urges anyone to report all transgressions.  WheTher you are a dinner party guest offended by an offensive remark or a child objecting to a fruity comment from a grandparent, just pick up the phone, folks.  This law allows anyone to report anyone else — anonymously – whether the ‘ hate’ has been directed at themselves or not.  What’s more, Police Scotland have vowed to follow up every allegation. It has not helped that this comes just weeks after they said that they will no longer bother to investigate other ‘ minor’ crimes, such as thefts from sheds or vandalism.  In other words, if someone nicks your mower or scratches your car, the cops may not be interested. however, crack an off-colour joke about the perpetrators and you could be in the dock. The penalty? Up to seven years in prison.  humour is no laughing matter for the commissars of the new Scottish establishment, of course. With five days to go before last week’s Comedy Unleashed gala evening poking fun at the new law on its opening day, the event was suddenly homeless.  Fearful of the possible backlash — whether from trans activists or the political elite is unclear — the management of the groovy Coco Boho bar (who have been contacted for comment) felt obliged to pull the plug.  With time running out, the organisers were left scrabbling around for a suitable venue, at which point one of the more vilified subsets of Scottish national life came to the rescue — football fans.  So, instead of listening to comedians in a glossy George Street nightclub over an £11 el Bandito tequila-and-peach cocktail or a £50 jug of ‘hot Girl Summer’ gin and strawberry, the ticket-holders were redirected across town to quaff pints at the hibernian FC Supporters Club bar.  And a great night was had by all, judging by the applause and laughter on the newlyreleased YouTube footage of the evening with plenty of risqué jokes about pretty much everything — from the transgender lobby, lesbians, Judaism and Islam to pensioners, penises and politicians (not just the usual ‘Tory scum’ stuff but some bracing mockery of the Nats’ once-untouchable Nicola Sturgeon). ‘We’ve been inundated with emails from people saying “thank you”,’ says Andrew Shaw, cofounder of Comedy Unleashed, producers of the show.  EVeN so, the very fact that this event had to be organised like some underground dissident rally or a Prohibition- era Speakeasy says it all. ‘ It’s just another example of the chilling effect of this Bill,’ says Marion Calder, one of the founders of For Women Scotland, the group behind the comedy evening.  They are not a slick professional activist organisation blessed with government grants, like the lobby groups who have been pushing the new hate Bill through parliament. They were founded six years ago by three mothers who met via Mumsnet having watched the way in which Scotland was gradually redefining what it meant to be a woman. They were deeply concerned about the ways in which males could reclassify themselves as female, with inevitable consequences for everything from women-only spaces to sport, prisons and even census data.  ‘The politicians were talking about people being able to self-identify and the people were saying, “What the hell do you mean by self-identification”, and that’s how we started,’ says Marion, a divorcee with a grown-up son who works in healthcare.  In no time, the group found themselves bearing the full brunt of hostility towards anyone impertinent enough to question the new ‘ No Debate’ orthodoxy on trans rights. ‘ People would follow us out of meetings, swear at us in the street, that sort of thing,’ says Marion.  her co- founder Susan Smith, a mother of three with a career in finance, tells me how trans activists would report them to the police for non-specific crimes whenever they set up a street stall. ‘The police would turn up and were very nice about it and would ask to see our literature and then go away — but it was ridiculous,’ says Susan.  That was before the new law on ‘ hate’ crime came in on April 1. The group have not attempted a street stall since. ‘ Our real fear is not criminalisation, because we don’t think a court would really find us guilty of “hate”,’ says Marion. ‘The problem is the impact of an investigation if the police start taking away phones and computers. Then you have the complaint hanging over you all that time and it starts to eat away at your life. It’s that chilling effect again.’  I have heard the phrase ‘chilling effect’ a great deal this week, and with good reason. For there is real fury here in Scotland.  The Tory MSP Murdo Fraser is already waging war on Police Scotland for launching an investigation into a tweet in which he said that an attempt to identify as nonbinary ( neither man nor woman) was as valid as ‘choosing to identify as a cat’.  That, too, occurred before the introduction of the new law. Police Scotland recorded this as a ‘non-crime hate incident’, looked into it and took no further action.  What has appalled Mr Fraser is the fact that he did not even know about the investigation until it was drawn to his attention by an independent ombudsman. Nor is it clear whether his name has been expunged from all police records.  FOr now, there is the possibility that you can be associated with a ‘ hate’ crime without even knowing it, while those details could show up on a subsequent police search by future employers or government agencies.  ‘This is going to have a very long tail. There will be thousands of complaints,’ says Calum Steele, former general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation. ‘ People merely have to “perceive” a hate crime and it must be investigated.’  What irks him is the lack of leadership and clarity from the top.  All over edinburgh, I see billboards saying ‘hate hurts’ and urging me to complain. Yet following an utterly predictable tsunami of complaints — 8,000 in the first week alone — the First Minister, humza Yousaf, has turned round and told people not to worry. he says the law ‘doesn’t deal with people just being offended or upset’. except all the advertising says it does.  What’s more, the official police and government line is that everything is fine when it clearly is not. ‘The messaging has been horrendous,’ says the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, David Threadgold. ‘The ordinary officers are being told that this law has no impact on policing which is entirely misleading.’  Across Scotland, there has been widespread contempt for Police Scotland’s risible online campaign featuring a furry ball of cartoon anger called ‘The Hate Monster’. Reminiscent of the cartoons used to promote condoms in the early days of AIDS, this creature is very clearly male, working class and thick. It growls a warning that the hate monster in all of us can get ‘bigger and bigger ‘till he’s weighing ye doon. Then, before ye know it, ye’ve committed a crime’.  ‘It is utterly cringe-worthy and has clearly been devised by a bunch of people in violent agreement with each other, an inevitable result of groupthink,’ says Calum Steele. ‘The fact that not a single solitary senior police officer saw that and didn’t put a stop to it asks a very serious question.’  The Conservative shadow justice spokesman Russell Findlay points out that the Scottish Tories were the only party to oppose the new law. He also says that it has served to underline the inadequacies of Police Scotland, an SNP creation forged from the merging of all the old regional forces. ‘It is riven with chaos and the Chief Constable has been invisible during this latest crisis,’ he says.  For years, no government-funded body would dare to speak out against the mighty SNP when Nicola Sturgeon ruled the place.  Now, public sector workers and bodies are starting to break ranks. Coppers openly attack their leadership while senior officers, fearful of upsetting their political masters, dodge the cameras and issue statements saying all is well — even if no one is going to investigate your burgled shed.  The judiciary also hates the new law. This week, Lord Hope, formerly Scotland’s senior judge, called it ‘unworkable’ and an example of ‘gesture politics’. ‘It’s an extraordinary position,’ the peer told The Times. ‘I’ve not seen anything like this before, and it’s no wonder the police are being deluged in trying to carry it out.’  I go for a wander inside the Scottish Parliament. In the public entrance lobby, there is a photo of the late Queen but none of the King. However, there is a hologram of a veteran LBGT campaigner.  The gift shop sells suffragette magnets and badges but this was the same parliament which ejected a woman from a committee meeting in 2022 for wearing a scarf in suffragette colours (while staff were still permitted to wear the colours of the trans and Pride movements).  The Presiding Officer later apologised but it leaves groups like For Women Scotland in no doubt which way the establishment leans — and it is not, they insist, in favour of biological women.  They point to the hefty grants given to pro-trans groups whereas their own activities have to rely on donations.  They remain deeply grateful to the author JK Rowling who has funded much of their campaigning. The Harry Potter creator has been a formidable ally for those who believe that a man cannot become a woman just because he/ she says so. No sooner had the new Act come into force than the writer posted a series of social media messages describing various well- known trans- gender women as men and challenging the authorities to arrest her.  The First Minister was then forced to confirm that she would not be arrested. The co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie, accused Rowling and others of ‘performative nonsense’ and ‘deliberate misinformation’ which threatens to have ‘real world consequences’ for protected minorities. No one seems to know the real legal position.  OUT on the streets, ordinary Scots are baffled and cross. I head for the Coco Boho, the place which cancelled the comedy booking. It sits beneath the smart and elaborately decorated Tigerlily Hotel, a boutique joint draped in pink flowers. It is next door to a shop selling Fair Trade Palestinian goods. I sense this is a pretty broad-minded part of town. On the street outside, however, I do not find a single supporter of the new law or its ethos.  ‘It’s horrible how they can think of criminalising people in their own home,’ says Douglas, a retired oil industry executive. ‘It shows how little faith the SNP have in people. And look at all the other crimes that are going up in the meantime.’ His wife, Linda, a former primary school teacher, says simply: ‘This isn’t the Scotland we used to know.’  Douglas goes further: ‘ It’s a banana republic without the bananas and you can quote me on that — though I might be breaking this new law.’  They head off with one parting shot. ‘Thank god for JK Rowling,’ says Douglas.  Article Name:Two weeks in and Scotland’s already riven by mutiny and chaos over the most absurd law since Henry VIII’s beard tax Publication:Daily Mail Author:By Robert Hardman Start Page:48 End Page:48

Daily Telegraph

  • For the second week in a row, the Daily Telegraph for Saturday was unavailable on Pressreader.

Sunday 14 April

The Observer

Schools using gender ‘toolkit’ could face legal challenge from parents Leading barrister warns widely used guidance is likely to be in breach of human rights laws The Observer14 Apr 2024Anna Fazackerley Schools in England and Wales have been warned by one of the country’s leading equality and human rights barristers that the “toolkit” many of them use to support gender-questioning children is unlawful.  The toolkit, introduced by Brighton and Hove council in 2021 and subsequently replicated by a number of other local authorities, says schools should “respect” a child’s request to change their name and pronoun as a “pivotal” part of supporting their identity, as well as other changes, such as switching to wearing trousers or a skirt.  It emphasises that schools “will want to involve parents and carers in discussions”, and recommends a “watch and wait” policy when a young person first comes out to a “trusted” teacher, not pushing them in any particular direction.  But a legal opinion by Karon Monaghan of Matrix Chambers concludes that schools and councils using the toolkit are very likely to be in breach of equality and human rights legislation, and at risk of being sued by unhappy parents.  She argues that the Equality Act affords protection not only to transidentified young people, but also to those who are gender-critical. Requiring everyone in school to use a child’s chosen pronouns would, she said, “be in direct conflict” with the beliefs of staff and children who are gender-critical, and might “violate their rights”.  The 75-page document tackles issues including toilets, sport and changing facilities. Monaghan says the toolkit is wrong to suggest that a trans pupil has a legal right to choose to use toilets designated for the opposite sex, and argues that allowing a trans girl to use a girls’ changing room could violate other pupils’ right to privacy or put them at “physical risk”.  “There is a worrying lack of appropriate guidance on safeguarding in the toolkit,” she says.  “There is an emphasis on supporting children through social transition without highlighting any of the risks that may be associated with that. As the interim report of the Cass review stated, this may not be thought of as an intervention or treatment, because it is not something that happens within health services.  “However, it is important to view it as an active intervention because it may have significant effects on the child or young person in terms of their psychological functioning.  “It anticipates that trans-identified children will access single-sex toilets, changing rooms and residential accommodation designated for children of the opposite sex. These are key milestones in social transitioning and there is no guidance on establishing the appropriateness of these steps, or any indication that external support from a clinician should be sought first.  “And nor is there any recognition or understanding of the best interests and welfare of the child who may be psychologically impacted by social transition.”  In response, Councillor Lucy Helliwell, co-chair of Brighton’s children, families and schools committee, said: “Our Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit has been developed in order to support schools, teachers, genderquestioning young people and their parents on a case-by-case basis.  “As a local authority that works to ensure all our children and young people live happy, safe and positive lives, we’ll always be committed to providing support that protects and promotes their welfare.”  The row over legal advice comes at the end of a week in which a landmark review into the medical treatment of gender-questioning children was published. The Cass review said children and young people had been let down by a lack of research and “no good evidence” on the long-term outcomes of medical interventions to manage gender-related distress, in a debate that has become exceptionally toxic.  But while the findings of the Cass review were broadly welcomed by the main political parties, medical professionals and prominent transgender commentators, the debate over how to deal with children who wish to socially transition is more polarised.  The new legal analysis by Monaghan was commissioned by a family in Brighton who are arguing that their child’s school helped their child to socially transition without their consent, because it was using the toolkit. The family wrote to the council on Friday threatening possible legal action if it does not withdraw the guidance within two weeks.  The child’s mother, who asked not to be named in order to protect the identity of her child, told the Observer: “Our child was socially transitioned at school by a group of teachers who are quite active in the trans rights arena, despite our child’s complex mental health needs, trauma and autism.”  She said she and her husband “thought we had agreed a unique plan with the head” that the school should support only what she called a “pretransition phase” until the child left secondary school. Instead, she said, they had been “shocked” to discover the school had supported their child socially transitioning. The family is now estranged from their child.  The mother said it was understandable that teachers were “looking for a safety net” and for advice to follow in navigating an increasingly fraught and contested area.  But she warned: “This toolkit is not just a little bit wrong, or only wrong in certain limited respects: it is catastrophically wrong from top to bottom.”  A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “It is unacceptable for parents to be excluded from decisions regarding their children.  “Our draft guidance reflects the law, which schools have a duty to follow.  “The guidance already reflects the principles from the final Cass review, making clear that social transition should be extremely rare and any steps towards social transition should be incredibly cautious, taking account of available clinical evidence and any special educational needs, and prioritising parents’ wishes.”  Meanwhile, in a sign of how fraught the issue has become in schools, teaching unions warned that the government’s own guidance on how to deal with gender-questioning children could also lead to schools facing legal action.  It states that there is “no general duty” on schools to follow pupils’ wishes to socially transition, including using different pronouns or names, and that parents must almost always be told if their child talks to a teacher about such things.  The National Association of Head Teachers union said: “We are particularly concerned that, as it is currently drafted, aspects of the guidance may leave schools at ‘high risk’ of successful legal challenges.”  Margaret Mulholland, an inclusion specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders union, said: “Schools are doing their best to navigate this complex territory in the best interests of all the children and young people in their care.” She said this was difficult “in a climate of polarised views and risks of legal challenges”.  Article Name:Schools using gender ‘toolkit’ could face legal challenge from parents Publication:The Observer Author:Anna Fazackerley Start Page:19 End Page:19
Thanks to Cass, evidence not ideology will be used to guide children seeking gender advice The devastating report questions the ethics of those who put young people on life-altering pathways based on little but professional hunches The Observer14 Apr 2024Sonia Sodha,  ‘First, do no harm” is the sacrosanct principle that is supposed to underpin modern medicine. But history is littered with examples of medics breaching this doctrine. Last week, the publication of Hilary Cass’s final report on healthcare for gender-questioning children laid bare the devastating scale of NHS failures of a vulnerable group of children and young people, buoyed by adult activists bullying anyone who dared question a treatment model so clearly based on ideology rather than evidence.  Cass is a renowned paediatrician and her painstakingly thorough review was four years in the making. She sets out how the now-closed NHS specialist gender clinic for children abandoned evidence-based medicine for a wing and a prayer. Significant numbers of gender-questioning children – it’s impossible to know exactly how many because the clinic did not keep records, itself a scandal – were put on an unevidenced medical pathway of puberty-blocking drugs and/or cross-sex hormones, despite risks of harm in relation to brain development, fertility, bone density, mental health and adult sexual functioning.  What drove this? The medical pathway is rooted in a belief that many, perhaps even most children questioning their gender will go on to have a fixed trans identity in adulthood, and that it is possible to discern them from those for whom it is a temporary phase. But studies suggest that gender dysphoria resolves itself naturally in many children. It is often associated with neurodiversity, mental health issues, childhood trauma, discomfort about puberty, particularly in girls, and children processing their emerging same-sex attraction; a large number of children referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) were gay. Putting these children on a medical pathway does not just come with health risks, it may also pathologise temporary distress into something more permanent. Cass is also clear that socially transitioning a child – treating them as though they are of the opposite sex – is a psychological intervention with potentially lasting consequences and an insufficient evidence base, that transitioning in stealth may be harmful, and says that for pre-pubertal children this decision should be informed by input from clinicians with appropriate training.  There is a conundrum at the heart of the report. Cass finds a childhood diagnosis of gender dysphoria is not predictive of a lasting trans identity and clinicians told the review they are unable to determine in which children gender dysphoria will last into adulthood.  If this is indeed impossible, is it ever ethical to put a young person on a life-altering medical pathway? If there are no objective diagnostic criteria, on what basis would a clinician be taking this decision other than a professional hunch?  The report recommends a total overhaul in the NHS’s approach to caring for gender-questioning children and young people: holistic, multidisciplinary services grounded in mental health alth that assess the root causes of that questioning in the e round and take a therapeutic-first approach. Puberty erty blockers will only be prescribed as part of f an NHS research trial and she recommends nds “extreme caution” in relation to crosssex crosshormones for 16- to 18-year- -olds; one might expect this to be contingent ingent on it being possible to develop diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria sphoria that will last into adulthood.  Cass’s vision is what gender- questioning children deserve: to be treated with the same level of care as everyone else, se, not as little projects for activists seeking validation for their own adult identities and belief systems. ms. But it is going to be immensely challenging for the NHS to realise, and not just because of the parlous underfunding of child mental health services. There will be resistance among captured clinicians wedded to quasi-religious beliefs; it is astounding that six out of seven adult clinics refused to cooperate with the review on a study to shed more light on those the NHS treated as children. A senior NHS researcher at one trust told me the opposition to taking part in an uncontroversial methodology to inform better outcomes came not from the board but from some clinicians in their service, and this was unheard of in other parts of the NHS.  Cass has also commented on the intense toxicity of the debate. The fact that she says medical professionals were scared of being called transphobic, or accused of practising conversion therapy, if they took a more cautious approach in a climate where activists and charities like Stonewall were quick to level accusations of bigotry at people flagging concerns, and that NHS whistleblowers were vilified by their employer, has not only prolonged the avoidable harm that will have been caused to some young people but will make it difficult to recruit clinicians to the new service. Cass has warned ministers about the risks of the criminal ban on conversion therapy activists are pushing for; the definitional challenges risk criminalising exploratory therapy and could further increase fear among clinicians. The former chief executive of Stonewall has already endorsed the view that the Cass model is itself conversion therapy.  Given what it says about social transition, the implications of the Cass review go beyond the NHS to schools and children’s services, where there are similar pockets of ideological capture. As we report today, the parents of one child whose school facilitated their social transition without their knowledge have given Brighton council two weeks to withdraw the trans toolkit it has endorsed for use across all its schools, or face legal action in light of legal advice from the country’s leading equality and human rights lawyer, Karon Monaghan KC, that the toolkit is itself unlawful and advises schools to act unlawfully.  She Sh sets out how it gets the law devastatingly wrong in several se areas, including on safeguarding in relation to th the wellbeing of gender-questioning children who want wan to socially transition. On single-sex spaces and sports, spor it wrongly advises that a child’s chosen gender identity iden should override their sex, which is likely to lead to unlawful discrimination against other pupils, particularly parti girls. This influential toolkit is in use by schools scho in at least several other local authorities; the parents pare have published the advice in full to enable other parents pare to challenge schools on its unlawfulness.  The Th Cass review is an immense achievement; it has stripped strip the heat out of one of the most contested areas area of modern medicine and restored the role of evidence evide back to its rightful place. But there is a long way to go yet in unpicking the influence of a contested and controversial – yet in some cases, deeply em embedded – adult ideology about gender in the w way children are supported by the NHS, children’s se services and schools.  Article Name:Thanks to Cass, evidence not ideology will be used to guide children seeking gender advice Publication:The Observer Author:Sonia Sodha, Start Page:41 End Page:41
The medical profession must now reflect on the child gender scandal The Observer14 Apr 2024 ‘They deserve very much better,” the distinguished paediatrician Hilary Cass concludes in the final report of her independent review of NHS gender identity services for children and young people. The report details how a vulnerable group has been “exceptionalised” by the NHS and denied the evidence-based healthcare all patients have the right to expect.  Just how badly wrong things went at the gender identity development service (Gids) is evidenced in the fact that Cass felt she had to explicitly state that, while some people argue that clinical care for children should be based on a “social justice” model, “the NHS works in an evidence-based way”. That should never have been up for debate: as the British Medical Journal argued in its editorial on the Cass review last week, it is deeply unethical to provide untested medical interventions for children that lack evidence of benefit, yet are lifealtering and come with potentially very significant harms.  But that is exactly what has happened to a growing cohort of children seen by Gids, which has since been shut down. Disproportionately made up of girls and same-sex attracted children, many were put on an irreversible medical pathway without diagnostic criteria. This is despite the fact it can lead to infertility and damage adult sexual functioning; there are also as yet unquantified risks for brain development, bone density and in potentially prolonging genderrelated distress that evidence shows may resolve itself naturally.  Because Gids failed to keep adequate data even on the children it was treating in this way, let alone keep track of their outcomes, it is impossible to know the scale of the harm that has been done to them, including how many have now detransitioned or experienced regret. But some young people, like Keira Bell, have bravely spoken out about the painful consequences for them despite being subjected to toxic abuse as a result.  The Cass review sets out an ambitious new way of delivering care for gender-questioning children, grounded in a psychosocial approach that treats them holistically. It recognises that, for many, questioning their gender is not necessarily a sign they will have a fixed trans identity in adulthood, and that children referred to gender services are more likely to be affected by neurodiversity, mental health issues, and to have suffered adverse childhood experiences.  They are also much more likely to be same-sex attracted; some clinicians have expressed concern that, instead of helping children process the fact they are gay, gender medicine has encouraged them to instead believe they are born in the wrong body. The report will be read by children and young people in distress and their parents, and the evidence it presents will directly contradict the information some have been given by clinicians and campaigners. Cass is to be commended for the measured and compassionate tone she takes in it. But that is not enough: the NHS needs to quickly put in place systems of support for them.  There must also be accountability for the managers and clinicians who pursued such unethical practice and caused avoidable harm to young people. For the medical profession as a whole, there is much to reflect on: how did they look the other way as this travesty unfolded? How were adult belief systems allowed to drive healthcare for children, and how were campaigners from outside the NHS and medicine allowed to have so much influence? It is only by learning the lessons that a similar scandal can be avoided again.  Article Name:The medical profession must now reflect on the child gender scandal Publication:The Observer Start Page:42 End Page:42

The Sunday Times

Badenoch fury at ‘cowardice’ over gender Broadside at NHS, politicians and universities Harry Yorke and Sian Griffiths The battle over gender ideology is only just beginning, Kemi Badenoch warns today, as she calls for “more bravery and less cancel culture” in the wake of a landmark review of child gender services.  In her first public intervention since the publication of Dr Hilary Cass’s report, the business secretary calls for a review into public bodies and their policies on transgender issues.  She also launches an extraordinary broadside against politicians of every stripe, the police, the media, the NHS and universities. She says the “cowardice of those in positions of influence” was “worse than the ravings of the militants”.  Badenoch’s comments will be welcomed by right-wing Tory MPs but seen by critics as seeking to reignite the so-called culture wars that have dominated British politics since the last election.  Cass found that children experiencing gender distress and wanting to transition had been let down by a lack of research and “remarkably weak” evidence on medical interventions such as puberty blockers.  Badenoch, who is also minister for women and equalities, claimed the recommendations could not be fully delivered until the government addressed the “underlying problem” of “ideological capture” in British institutions. Cass called for more NHS research into young people seeking help over their gender, different approaches to care depending on a child’s age and a more cautious attitude to social transitioning.  Related developments:  ● Cass reveals today that she stayed off social media and her team had to screen her emails to shield her from “toxic” abuse.  ● She warns of “dangerous” influences online trying to convince children they were transgender.  ● Women in Brighton have protested against a GP they allege prescribed cross-sex hormones to 16-year-olds without their parents’ knowledge.  Writing in The Sunday Times, Badenoch, seen as a frontrunner to become the next Tory leader, says: “Over three decades, politicians of all parties have outsourced power to so-called independent institutions. They were meant to take the politics out of decision-making but have themselves become politicised, often with little to no ministerial oversight.  “They may be independent, but they are no longer impartial. As politicians ceded control, many institutions became captured by a minority of ideological activists.”  She adds: “At the heart of many of the review’s recommendations is a failure of institutions to selfregulate. Ministers have intervened time and again, but it is time for institutional leaders to step up and recover impartiality. It is also time for an in-depth review of decision-making across the public sector. How is it that senior leaders ignore the law and allow groups like Stonewall [an LGBT rights charity] to make up what it should be?”  The Cass review, which looked at gender identity services for under-18s, was commissioned in 2020 following a sharp increase in patients being referred to the health service who were questioning their gender.  It came after whistleblowers raised concerns about care at the gender identity and development service (Gids), the only specialist gender clinic for children and young people in England and Wales. It shut last month, four years after it was rated inadequate by inspectors, with regional hubs in London and Liverpool replacing it.  Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, concluded there was a “lack of evidence” on the long-term impact of taking hormones from an early age and studies had been “exaggerated or misrepresented by people on all sides of the debate to support their viewpoint”.  She also said that the “toxicity” of the row over gender and trans issues had made medical professionals “afraid” to openly discuss their views.  The NHS has been prescribing puberty blockers since 2011, but in March it said they would no longer be available to under-16s unless they were participating in a clinical trial.  Cass has also revealed that six of the seven NHS adult gender clinics “thwarted” her report on children’s services by failing to share data on the long-term consequences of medical interventions. The NHS has now ordered a separate independent review of services for adults amid concerns that they have been “captured by ideology”.  Adult clinics have agreed to comply, but Badenoch writes today that they too should be “held to account”.
Doctor exploits NHS loophole to prescribe hormones for children Despite a warning against the controversial drugs in the Cass report on transgender care, a Brighton GP is still handing them out Rosie Kinchen  Protesters gather at the clinic where Dr Sam Hall operates the Trans Health Hub. It has more than a thousand patients It is 7pm in Hove and through the mist come seven figures — one dressed as a large inflatable dinosaur. The figures are women, and they are protesting against Sam Hall, a GP who they say has been prescribing cross-sex hormones to 16-yearolds, sometimes without their parents’ knowledge or consent.  Last week the Cass report concluded the NHS has been failing thousands of children by prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones despite “remarkably weak evidence”. Dr Hilary Cass, the report’s author, called for a “fundamental change of direction” but nowhere is more emblematic of how hard that may be to realise than in Brighton & Hove.  Hall, a trans man, who has described his experience of hormones as “sublime” is something of a hero here, closely aligned to a network of charities and schools. He has been championed as a trailblazer on posters around the city.  Lesley Hammond, 69, who is holding up a banner bearing the words: “First do no harm?” has had enough. “We are aware that Sam Hall has been providing bridging prescriptions, sometimes to children as young as 16. We think this is very wrong,” she says.  Medical support for gender-dysphoric young people has ground to a halt since Cass published her interim report two years ago. The Gender Identity Development Service (Gids), an NHS clinic in London, closed last month. It was replaced by two regional hubs, but waiting lists for treatment have spiralled to four years.  In this void a series of private clinics have opened, prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to desperate young people for a fee. But Hall, who works at the WellBN clinic, has been doing so within the NHS.  Hannah Barnes exposed this in the updated edition of her book about Gids, Time to Think, and spoke to parents to whose children Hall had prescribed cross-sex hormones after only one consultation. One of them was Mary*. Her daughter has severe autism and ADHD and first started to express confusion about her gender in April 2022, when she was 15. She is very intelligent, but like many autistic young people she was prone to fixations, her mother says, and struggled to understand long-term consequences: “She’s got the emotional regulation of a seven-year-old and the impulse control of a three-year-old.”  The family were seeking support from psychologists and counsellors, and had agreed with their daughter that she would not embark on medical treatment until she was 18.  However, in February last year they discovered that she had been prescribed testosterone by Hall after a blood test and a consultation with him lasting about ten minutes.  Mary was horrified: “She’s started taking a drug that has irreversible consequences at a time in life where her brain and her body are still developing.”  Hall appears to be using a loophole in NHS guidelines that allows GPs to prescribe “bridging prescriptions” to patients in acute distress while they await a specialist service, for example for pain relief to cancer patients, despite the fact that NHS guidance states that such prescriptions should be used only for adults.  Cross-sex hormones, which begin the medical transition, have never been used in this way before. At the Gids clinic, 16-year-olds could be prescribed the drugs only after spending a minimum of a year on puberty blockers (for which they would have had a minimum of three assessments).  The Cass report states that the evidence for the indicated uses of puberty blockers and masculinising/feminising hormones in adolescents are unproven and the benefits and harms unknown. As a result she advised “extreme caution” and a clear rationale for providing hormones at this stage, rather than waiting until patients reach 18, and only after they have been seen by a specialist in gender dysphoria or from a multidisciplinary team. Mary’s daughter has never had a diagnosis.  Hall did not respond to request for comment, but a spokesman for the WellBN clinic said: “We can’t discuss an individual patient’s care without consent, but if any parents of patients wish to contact the practice to discuss their care we would encourage them to do so.” He highlighted a page on its website that states: “Since 2016 [we] have prescribed hormones to people as indicated by their presentation and using an informed consent model of care that underpins all primary care. We have established robust pathways, a multidisciplinary team and built expertise amongst our clinicians in the prescription of hormones to thousands of patients in the past eight years and have access to specialist advice when needed.”  The spokesman also highlighted guidance from NHS England which advises that hormones can be given to people “around the age of 16” so long as they have been seen by a specialist multidisciplinary team, have agreed on a care pathway and have “cognitive and emotional maturity to consent”. NHS England is reviewing these guidelines in line with recommendations in the Cass report.  Hall, who transitioned as an adult having married and had three children, is a revered figure in Brighton. Posters celebrating him as a “trailblazer” were seen during last year’s Pride parade. He works with the local trans youth charity Allsorts, dubbed “the Mermaids of the south coast” — the trans charity that lobbied doctors at Gids and supports the use of puberty blockers. In 2020 he launched the Trans Health Hub at WellBN, the GP practice where he works. Since then the service has grown from 35 patients to more than a thousand. It is believed to have a waiting list of 8 to 12 weeks.  This success has been driven by charities. In October Gendered Intelligence, another trans-led charity involved with Gids, wrote to the families on its mailing list to tell them about this “opportunity” for “trans-affirming primary healthcare”. Parents and carers were told WellBN “is a Brighton-based NHS general practice” that will take “out-of-area patients” and that can “prescribe blockers/HRT under their informed consent model for anyone 16–18”.  Mary is in contact with at least ten other families whose 16-year-olds have been prescribed cross-sex hormones by Hall. Many were directed to him by Allsorts, which also works closely with local schools and was brought in by the council to provide training to social workers. Some are grateful for his support. Keith* took his daughter to see Hall after her 16th birthday last year and describes him as “very helpful and fair”. He does not think he was pushing a medicalised approach. “What happens to children with gender dysphoria is that they get lost in the system, no one knows what to do with them.” He thinks Hall is doing the best he can in “a broken system”.  NHS England is seeking advice from the health department on closing loopholes that let private clinics continue to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones. But Hall appears to be operating in a grey area. Mary has raised her concerns with the Care Quality Commission, which did not respond. NHS England has passed the problem to the national medical director and director of primary care. Mary is awaiting a response.
The cheering lesson of Bates and Rowling: truth will out JK Rowling and Alan Bates are very different public figures, but perhaps they experienced similar feelings of vindication last week. A report by Dr Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics, demolished some practices that were until recently prevalent in healthcare. Cass concluded that “for most young people, a medical pathway will not be the best way to manage their gender-related distress”. Bates, a former sub-postmaster who has spent the past 20 years pursuing the Post Office over its wrongful prosecution of more than 900 people, spent five hours in front of Sir Wyn Williams’s statutory inquiry. The ground is being prepared for the crossexamination next month of Paula Vennells, who was chief executive for much of the time in question. Bates followed his evidence by vowing to bring private prosecutions against the Post Office’s former bosses if necessary.  Like Rowling and Bates, NHS England’s gender identity development service (Gids) — now closed — and the Post Office ostensibly have little in common. Yet the scandals that engulf them have common features that tell us something about the way British institutions fail. The overwhelming problem afflicting both organisations was groupthink — a collective imbibing of flawed ideas, an inability to think objectively and critically and a refusal to engage with facts that appeared to contradict a consensus. In both cases the lives of vulnerable people were crushed under the wheels of a vehicle whose forward motion mattered more than anything to those in charge.  The Cass review was commissioned in 2020 amid growing concerns over the “gender-affirming” model adopted by the Gids clinic at the Tavistock and Portman specialist mental health trust in London. When Gids opened in 1989, it treated fewer than ten people a year, mostly males. By 2009 that had increased to about 50. By 2016 Gids was treating almost 1,800 young people. More than 1,000 were adolescent girls.  Rather than ask whether there might be other factors at play — such as mental health and body-image problems associated with social media and pornography — Gids followed a policy of prescribing puberty blockers and putting patients on a pathway to cross-sex hormones and eventually surgery. A Dutch study had suggested that puberty blockers might improve psychological wellbeing for a narrow group of children with genderrelated problems. The use of these drugs was strongly advocated by the pressure groups Stonewall and Mermaids.  More than 9,000 people passed through the doors of Gids, but the clinic did not keep data on them. Six out of seven adult clinics would not co-operate with Cass’s review, a troubling indication of the struggles yet to come in rooting gender-affirming ideology out of the NHS. Cass rightly calls for more research into what she describes as the “complex interplay” between mental health issues and a young person’s desire to change gender. This will be a challenge, given the absence of records on the thousands who have undergone life-altering treatments.  The Post Office scandal is a longerrunning affair. Between 1999 and 2015, an estimated 4,000 branch owners, known as sub-postmasters, were accused of wrongdoing after faulty software supplied by the Japanese giant Fujitsu showed errors in their accounts. Four are known to have committed suicide. Many more died without clearing their names. But the management’s rejection of the possibility that the Horizon IT system was at fault was borne out by an email sent by Alan Cook, managing director of the Post Office between 2006 and 2010, in response to doubts about the technology. “My instincts tell me that, in a recession, subbies with their hand in the till choose to blame the technology when they are found to be short of cash,” he wrote.  Britain is a nation without a written constitution. There is something of the “good chap” principle that flows down into institutions such as the NHS and the Post Office. But this has been augmented by cowardice and a reluctance to confront fashionable orthodoxy for fear of losing face. When judgment goes badly and systemically awry, it can take a long time for the truth to come to light. One of the most depressing elements of both scandals is that they are still going on.  But it is also a function of our free society that concerned individuals such as Rowling and whistleblowers such as Bates can speak their mind. They should feel proud of the contribution they have made in tackling these twin tragedies. Others should heed their examples and see that, in the end, facts have a way of triumphing over lies.
bone development. Other factors that might have contributed to these girls’ unhappiness — such as autism, eating disorders, past sexual abuse or sexuality (the majority were gay) — were not even discussed before the blockers were prescribed. About 98 per cent of those given them went on to take cross-sex hormones.  These questions about why so many teenage girls suddenly didn’t want to be female, to the point that they eventually outnumbered the boys at Gids by six to one, and why this didn’t give pause to anyone in charge at Gids (the clinicians there who dared to question it were silenced and even pushed out) are at the heart of the final report from the senior paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass on the NHS’s treatment of gender-confused young people, which was published last week. And yet some still don’t get it. A leader in The Guardian on Friday said the Cass review had made “a connection between the rise in girls experiencing a mental health crisis and the rise of girls developing gender-related distress. Such an assumption lays Dr Cass open to the charge that her suggestions are tantamount to talking people out of their desired gender change.”  " If I were growing up now, I’d have become the first Jewish nun   That “people” is telling: for too long, too many have argued that enabling children to change their body is part of the wider drive for acceptance of trans adults. But the two things are very different. A teenage girl who suddenly fears becoming a woman has nothing to do with, say, a middle-aged male who decides to live as a woman. Yet activists have energetically pushed the line that all gender-confused people should be seen as analogous, just as they say trans people should be seen as akin to gay people, and therefore any questions about why a teenage girl might not want to be female are as verboten as asking a gay man why he doesn’t fancy women.  Teenage girls have always expressed unhappiness through their body, and feared becoming women. Some starve themselves (generally starting at 12 to 16), shrinking their breasts and stopping their periods. Some cut themselves. And, increasingly, some insist they are a boy. Gids’s largest patient group? Girls aged — yup — 12 to 16. In my 2023 book about anorexia, Good Girls, one former Gids psychologist described gender dysphoria in teenage girls as “the new anorexia”.  As Cass says in her report, there is huge concern about teenage girls’ mental health, with rising rates of eating disorders and selfharm. Yet because gender activists have argued that gender is special and should be ringfenced from questions, apparently no one with any power in the NHS suggested that maybe the thousands of girls suddenly saying they were boys might be a mental health problem, rather than a progressive triumph.  Cass cites several possible negative influences on girls’ mental health, such as online harassment (disproportionately aimed at girls and women) and online pornography, which is, Cass writes, “frequently violent, depicting coercive, degrading or pain-inducing acts”. Today, 47 per cent of 16 to 21-year-olds believe girls “expect” sex to involve physical aggression, such as choking and slapping. Cass advises researchers to look more into the connection between online porn — which is extremely different from the pornography that parents of today’s teenagers grew up with — and gender-confused young people.  It’s difficult for men to understand how scary sex is for many teenage girls. When I first learnt about oral sex at 13, I was terrified. If I were growing up now, knowing that boys my age were all watching videos of women being choked, I’d have become the first Jewish nun. Being a teenage girl is complicated, your body suddenly attracting adult male attention, but your brain still that of a child. It is jaw-dropping that so many women — who must surely know all this — were involved in the scandalous medical mismanagement of these girls, most obviously Gids’s director, Dr Polly Carmichael.  No child and certainly no teenage girl should be told they were born in the wrong body, any more than they should be told that losing weight or having bigger breasts would make them happier. The only way to get girls through the physical discomfort of puberty is not to block it but to reassure them — repeatedly — that there isn’t one way to look, have sex and live as a woman, but many; and their body isn’t who they are, but it is what they are — female — and that will never change. Their feelings about it will, though, and one day they will see their body not as the enemy, but as a miracle.

Mail on Sunday

Puberty-blocking zealot STILL refuses to give up Fears that ‘helpline’ planned by ex-boss of Mermaids will tell teens how they can get hold of gender drugs outside NHS The Mail on Sunday14 Apr 2024By Sanchez Manning  DEFIANT: Susie Green on TV in 2018 THE former head of the controversial trans lobby group Mermaids is planning to set up a new helpline which critics say will be used to advise children on how they can get gender drugs outside the NHS.  Susie Green said she is creating a service ‘that can be honest’ about the ‘utter s**t show’ of current NHS gender services and discuss private healthcare options with young people of all ages.  Ms Green wrote on social media that the helpline is needed because the new NHS approach to gender treatment, which favours therapy rather than medical interventions, is harming children.  But last night critics claimed she intends to use the helpline to direct young people to non-NHS services where they can access hormones and puberty-halting medication.  Bayswater Support Group, a parent-led campaign group, said: ‘Coming so soon after the NHS decision to all but ban puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in under-18s, it appears she is setting up this helpline to exploit a loophole around the lack of regulation of private clinics supplying drugs to vulnerable children.’  Ms Green’s plans have emerged as Dr Hilary Cass published a  ‘It appears that she is exploiting a loophole’  major review last week of NHS children’s gender services, warning that gender medicine for young people was based on ‘remarkably weak evidence’.  On Dr Cass’s recommendations, children under 16 can no longer use the NHS to access drugs – known as puberty blockers, which halt development into adulthood – unless part of a clinical trial.  She further recommended that cross-sex hormones, which begin the physical process of changing gender, should be prescribed only with ‘extreme caution’ to those under 18.  At the end of March, the NHS’s flagship gender service for children at the Tavistock Clinic in London, which routinely prescribed puberty blockers, was closed after  Dr Cass judged it unsafe. But Ms Green has shown her displeasure with the Cass recommendations – which include replacing the Tavistock with regional hubs – by reposting a series of tweets criticising the findings.  Ms Green was head of Mermaids when it was found to be sending out ‘breast binders’ – restrictive garments with potential health risks – to teenage girls without their parents’ knowledge. She also previously advocated for the age at which children can receive powerful sex-change hormones to be lowered to under 16.  In her Facebook post, Ms Green said that her new helpline is needed because Mermaids is unable to direct youngsters to gender treatments outside the NHS, and insisted that it won’t be used to give medical advice.  Last night Ms Green told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Trans people deserve better. The NHS health services for transgender people need a complete overhaul as waitlists for people of all ages are in excess of four years. Just like any other type of healthcare, choosing to access private services to be seen more swiftly is a fundamental right, albeit out of reach for many due to cost.  ‘I believe there is a need for a service which will offer trans people non-judgmental emotional support, including signposting to all available options as they navigate their own personal healthcare.’  Article Name:Puberty-blocking zealot STILL refuses to give up Publication:The Mail on Sunday Author:By Sanchez Manning Start Page:28 End Page:28

Sunday Telegraph

Don’t let trans activists bully you, teachers told Too much pressure to allow pupils to change gender without informing parents, warns minister The Sunday Telegraph14 Apr 2024By Camilla Turner and Sarah Knapton TEACHERS must not allow themselves to be “bullied” by transgender campaigners into allowing children to change gender without their parents’ knowledge, a minister has said.  Damian Hinds, the schools minister and a former education secretary, told The Telegraph teachers must not feel “pressured” and a landmark review into the treatment of transgender children by the NHS “draws a line in the sand”. The intervention comes in the wake of a report by Dr Hillary Cass, a leading paediatrician, which found that social transitioning should be approached with “extreme caution” because “we simply do not know the long-term impacts”.  Mr Hinds said nobody working with children should be “vilified or called a transphobe” for making “difficult decisions” which are in their best interests.  Draft guidance from the Department for Education, published at the end of last year, told schools to presume that a child could not change gender. Under the new “parent-first” approach, head teachers must tell parents if their child wants to change gender.  “The debate must now turn a corner”, Mr Hinds said. “That is why we have made clear that teachers must not feel bullied or pressured into allowing decisions which can have long-term consequences for children in their care.”  Dr Cass’s report warned of an “exceptionally toxic” debate over treatment for transgender children and that “stormy social discourse” does little to help young people.  The schools guidance had been promised since 2018 but was delayed amid a disagreement within the Government over how to respond to the rise in the number of children who say they are trans. Earlier this month, the biggest survey of its kind revealed that primary school teachers were letting pupils change their names and pronouns without informing their families.  An analysis of more than 600 school equality and trans policies revealed that up to three-quarters misrepresent laws protecting sex and gender, with some implementing rules that allow boys to use girls’ lavatories and changing rooms if they say they are a girl.  Some gender-critical campaigners have said the Government’s guidance does not go far enough because it does not ban social transitioning completely.  Ministers considered an outright ban but Victoria Prentis, the Attorney General, advised that such a move would be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.  Experts have now called for adult gender transitioning services to be investigated in the same way as children. Dr Kathryn Webb, a tutor in psychology at Oxford University, warned that activism had taken the place of evidence, and said experts had been punished for speaking up against the rush to medically treat children who claimed they were born in the wrong body. Dr Webb, who last year published research into trans maternity guidance, said that she had faced resistance when investigating the subject and warned that psychologists had been pressured to overlook other reasons for children seeking to transition.  Writing for The Telegraph, she said: “For too long, the current approach to gender dysphoria care has left many of us feeling that fundamental principles of our profession were being neglected.  “Underscoring this is a shocking absence of quality research to base guidance upon. This is unsurprising to me, having personally experienced the resistance often faced when conducting research in this sensitive area. Psychologists have felt adrift and afraid, unsure if we were truly serving the best interests of our patients. The Review focuses only on children and their support, yet many gender-distressed adults are arguably equally vulnerable. Sadly, adult care is likely to be affected by many of the same highlighted issues – politicisation, poor evidence, and limited options.”  Following the Cass report the NHS is to review all transgender treatment it provides, including to adults, and treatment for any new patients aged 16 and 17 seeking to change gender at adult clinics will immediately be paused. NHS England will also investigate seven speciality adult gender dysphoria clinics and said it would send external quality improvement experts to each service.  They will also be ordered to hand over data which they refused to share with Cass Report researchers.  Article Name:Don’t let trans activists bully you, teachers told Publication:The Sunday Telegraph Author:By Camilla Turner and Sarah Knapton Start Page:5 End Page:5
Rowling: Politicians ‘snuggle up’ to groups like Stonewall The Sunday Telegraph14 Apr 2024By Steve Bird  The Harry Potter author hit out at advice offered by controversial transgender charities JK ROWLING has accused politicians of “snuggling up” to controversial transgender campaigners “to the detriment of very vulnerable children and women”.  The Harry Potter author also called for an investigation into why pro-trans groups such as Stonewall and Mermaids were given “privileged places at the table” with their language and opinions embraced by political parties.  Her comments came just days after Dr Hilary Cass, a paediatric consultant, published a review which found gender care was currently an area of “remarkably weak evidence”.  The Cass Review warned how treatment with puberty blockers “may change the trajectory of psychosexual and gender identity development” but critically did not change a patient’s body dissatisfaction or gender dysphoria. The report called for “unhurried” care of those under-25s who think they may be transgender.  In a series of comments on social media, Rowling rounded on Stonewall, which campaigns for the LGBTQ community, and Mermaids, a transgender support group, for their parts in promoting the transgender narrative.  She wrote yesterday: “In 2018, Stonewall literally told schools to shred a research pack saying there were risks to puberty blockers. In 2022 Stonewall told the world that ‘research’ suggests two year olds can be trans. It advocated for nurseries – nurseries – to start teaching kids that there are more genders than boy and girl.  “Politicians have snuggled up to Stonewall and Mermaids, given them privileged places at the table and adopted their talking points, to the detriment of very vulnerable children, young people and women.  “When are we going to see this fully investigated? When will this end?”  A Stonewall spokesman said the Cass Review could play a “vital role” in helping to secure “quality healthcare” for trans and gender-diverse children. He added: “We urge NHS England and policymakers to read and digest the full report and consider Dr Cass’s plea “to remember the children and young people trying to live their lives and the families/ carers and clinicians doing their best to support them.”  Article Name:Rowling: Politicians ‘snuggle up’ to groups like Stonewall Publication:The Sunday Telegraph Author:By Steve Bird Start Page:5 End Page:5
Taxpayers fund study into ‘transphobic archaeology’ The Sunday Telegraph14 Apr 2024By Charlotte Gill THE taxpayer is funding a PhD researcher who is exploring the “Transphobic Innovations of Archaeology” at the University of York, prompting one Conservative MP to call for a review of the use of taxpayer funds for higher education.  The student, who is being paid a stipend by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) of approximately £18,622 a year, presented a paper earlier this year titled Bones Don’t Care About Your Feelings: Challenging Transphobic Innovations of Archeology in (Social) Media.  A slide from the presentation asks: “What if I told you that when an archeologist finds human remains, it is a fact that there [sic] only two choices for gender identification.”  The slide features branding for the University of York, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – a non-departmental government body that distributes funds for research – and AHRC’s White Rose University Consortium (a doctoral training partnership between the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York).  Nick Fletcher, the Conservative MP, said: “We need to call a scam a scam when we see it. This is taxpayers’ money, at a time when households are struggling – and the tax burden at an all time high.  “We should consider establishing a ‘Taxpayers’ Review Process’ to enable ordinary people to review and challenge UKRI and AHRC spending – similar to the process available for residents to review and challenge local authority accounts.”  Dr Emma Hilton, a developmental biologist and co-founder of Sex Matters, told The Telegraph: “Human remains cannot tell us anything about the unem-bodied ‘gender identity’ of a person.  “A female Viking warrior buried with male-typical war possessions tells us only that some women successfully broke through early glass ceilings.”  A UKRI spokesman said: “UKRI invests in a diverse research and innovation portfolio. Decisions to fund the research projects we support are made via a rigorous peer review process by relevant independent experts from across academia and business.  “The research councils also award block grants to Higher Education institutions to support PhD studentships. The institutions make decisions and allocate the funding to specific studentship proposals, following an application process.”  York University was approached for comment.  Article Name:Taxpayers fund study into ‘transphobic archaeology’ Publication:The Sunday Telegraph Author:By Charlotte Gill Start Page:5 End Page:5
The human rights cult has replaced common sense compassion The Sunday Telegraph14 Apr 2024  The most shocking thing about the Cass Review is that it had to be commissioned at all. Why in God’s name did it require an official government study to establish that medical interference in the sexual development of healthy children was unacceptable?  The outrage over this absurdity has been thoroughly aired – not least by my colleagues on these pages – so let’s take that as read. Whatever benign inclinations there may once have been in this campaign, they were swamped by the most poisonous wave of personal and professional denigration that I have ever seen.  That itself should have been a significant clue: the hysterical vindictiveness with which the militant trans lobby pursued any attempt to question its assumptions should have thrown up an immediate warning. People whose response to any challenge is to extirpate their critics are not well-intentioned.  But it’s over. This whole bizarre phenomenon has imploded and nobody needs to be afraid to utter obvious truths any longer. The clinicians who went along with it (whose reasoning processes remain a mystery because many of them would not co-operate with the Cass investigation) must be made to pay a price and the victims (because that is what they are) must somehow be compensated.  That last one will be difficult because many of them will have no idea what it is they have lost.  And that, it has to be said, is possibly the most terrible and irremediable aspect of this. So, before this extraordinary chapter of social history is just swept away in a tidal wave of self-congratulatory unanimity, we must examine precisely what it was that was so very mistaken and destructive at the heart of it.  There seem to be two misunderstandings that are in danger of being overlooked in the immediate outrage over possible medical malpractice.  First is the specific matter of pubescent depression and anxiety, which is what this form of treatment was supposed to remedy. The other is a larger political question to do with human rights and how that concept has now transmogrified into a parody of its original intentions in the Age of Enlightment.  On the urgent matter of treating children who are traumatised by the signs of approaching puberty, we need a genuinely compassionate discussion. It is very important to note that although the most vociferous trans campaigners were men who claimed to be women, the overwhelming majority of children coming forward for transitioning are young girls who are frightened by the changes to their maturing bodies. And that, as most grown-up women have always known, is not abnormal.  The shock of female puberty can be well tolerated by girls who are in supportive families or communities that cope with this process through shared ritual. But even for them, it is a sudden and dramatic change of condition.  I remember an advertisment for sanitary products many years ago which showed two identical photographs of a young girl in a ballet pose. Under the first one were the words, “Yesterday, Katy was a girl of thirteen.” And under the second, “Today, she is a woman of thirteen.”  That overnight transformation has been the inspiration for mythologies and storytelling through the ages. The most recent version – Disney’s animated fairy tale Frozen – involved a young princess awakening one day with the magical, and inescapable, power to turn anything she touches to ice. So dangerous has she become, in her adult female sexuality, that she is hidden away even from her younger sister whose innocence must be protected.  The fact of menstruation and its life-changing consequences are startling even for the well-balanced and emotionally secure.  For the less fortunate who have mental disabilities or troubled histories, it can be terrifying.  The answer to this must not be to collude with the disadvantage and reinforce the phobic reaction of the child. You don’t tell someone with an irrational fear of dirt that they are right to wash their hands hundreds of times a day and offer them an endless supply of soap.  What these girls need is help to deal with physical reality, not a pharmaceutical remedy for avoiding it followed by mutilation to enforce the illusion that it has been conquered. How could anyone have thought otherwise?  Was this the ultimate hubris – believing that in the modern age, we had the power, and the responsibility, to alter even the most basic facts of the human condition if they did not, at any given moment, offer happiness? Or, was it some kind of defiant ideological joke from the infiltration army: let’s see how outrageous a proposition we can sell to a credulous public using only crude moral blackmail and shameless bullying.  That brings us to the larger political issue. Somehow, the idea of natural or universal human rights to which all the peoples of the world are entitled from birth, which was explored in the 17th century and later enshrined in the sacred founding documents of the great revolutionary republics, has turned into a narcissist’s charter.  The reverence for the individual who, as the American Declaration of Independence states, is “endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” was designed to ensure that no state or ruler could ever transgress the essential liberties of any citizen.  But what every individual was being guaranteed was not his idea of a perfect life: it was not happiness itself that the Government was committed to deliver but the right to pursue it within rational limits.  The state cannot undertake to deliver your personal version of a contented life. This is exactly the contradiction that the European Court of Human Rights has exposed with its ruling that one group of protesting Swiss citizens must have their “right” to be protected from climate change enforced in law.  You don’t have a right to be comfortable, or healthy, let alone happy. You only have a right to pursue those things in ways that do not damage others. That is the unalienable principle on which all of our freedoms are built.  The noble belief that all people are entitled to basic freedoms has become a narcissist’s charter  Article Name:The human rights cult has replaced common sense compassion Publication:The Sunday Telegraph Start Page:18 End Page:18
The spell of trans ideology has finally been broken The Sunday Telegraph14 Apr 2024  In 2021, I was asked to give evidence to a House of Lords select committee about free speech and trans ideology. I was told the protocol was to read a short statement to lay out my position before taking questions from assorted titled luminaries.  I poured myself into the work of structuring a statement, sustained by the optimism that is a weirdly persistent part of my character – a belief that this moment would finally bring about the breakthrough when people would wake up to what was happening – to free speech, to women’s spaces, but most importantly of all, to children.  I had visions of sitting at that giant rectangular table, being grilled by concerned Right Hons who would immediately Drop Everything in order to Do Something. The air would be heavy with history.  But of course, we were in lockdown, so the event played out on Zoom and looked more like a meeting of general managers discussing toilet provisions. Even worse, when it came to my big speech, I entered into a somewhat unseemly back and forth with one of my hosts.  “Oh, no we’re not doing statements.” “I was told to prepare one.”  “No, not for this session.” I persevered, and the vaguely annoyed moderator finally decided to allow it. I won’t stretch your patience with it as I did theirs, but here are some excerpts.  “Almost four years ago, I saw that feminists were being bullied, harassed and silenced for standing up for their rights and their children’s rights. I decided to use my platform on Twitter to bring attention to what seemed to be an all-out assault on women, on their words, their dignity and their safety. Also, I saw that vulnerable children were being fast-tracked onto a medical pathway that carried severe long-term implications.”  And then, further on, trying my best to ignore the glazed-over eyes of my hosts: “If you believe that JK Rowling is transphobic, a woman who has devoted her work and much of her fortune to the vulnerable, the bullied, the forgotten and the abused, then you are under a spell.  “If you believe that men can fairly compete against women in their sports, then you are under a spell.  “If you believe that men will not go to the most extreme lengths to gain access to women and children, then you are under a spell.  “If you believe that children as young as three years old can agree to a procedure that puts them on a medical pathway for life, that arrests their natural puberty, and that has almost no scientific proof as to its efficacy as a treatment for dysphoria, then you are under a spell.”  It did not have the effect I was expecting. “But… but… what can we DO?” was what I had expected to hear, but instead the assembled nobs looked amused and bored, and quickly changed the subject.  This would be something to which I’d soon become accustomed – pointing at the approaching meteorite, only to have everyone stare at my finger. It turned out they were more interested in interrogating my conduct on social media.  I don’t remember many questions about the issues I had raised, and certainly none about what was being done to children in gender clinics across the country.  It was, in hindsight, a perfect microcosm of everything that was to follow. Afterwards, I sat at my desk, dazed, and realised that I might as well have been talking to myself.  It would be three years later, in 2024, that the findings of the Cass Review would vindicate all those men and women, especially women, who had lost friends, family members, work and opportunities, for trying to get the word out about what is now known to be the greatest medical scandal in recent history.  My optimism has taken a beating since then, so I’m reluctant to say this out loud, but maybe, just maybe, this time – the spell is finally broken.  Every time people tried to bring this scandal to public attention, they were shut down. Finally, the truth is out  Article Name:The spell of trans ideology has finally been broken Publication:The Sunday Telegraph Start Page:19 End Page:19
I was prevented from raising the alarm about puberty blockers When neuropsychologist Sallie Baxendale questioned NHS treatment for gender dysphoria, she found herself the subject of sustained abuse. By The Sunday Telegraph14 Apr 2024Abigail Buchanan Professor Sallie Baxendale did not set out to challenge the orthodoxy on puberty blockers; her usual area of research is epilepsy. When Baxendale, a consultant clinical neuropsychologist in London, first read the claim that the controversial drugs were safe and reversible, “my first thought was, this is really exciting”, she says. “That doesn’t fit in with my understanding of how the brain works, so I want to go and see what the new evidence is… and I just couldn’t find any.”  Prof Baxendale’s foray into this hotly contested area was accidental – the product of professional curiosity rather than an ideological agenda. Puberty blockers were not a topic of interest for her until she read, several years ago, that their effects were wholly reversible, a claim that was, at one point, on the NHS website and is still repeated by the transgender charity Mermaids.  “From a neuropsychology point of view, [pubertal suppression] is really interesting,” she says, speaking on the phone from her office at the UCL Institute of Neurology. “We know that puberty is an important time in neurodevelopment, and we know that when it gets interrupted by other things, there are impacts on cognitive development.” If there were a way round that, it could potentially have ramifications for Baxendale’s other work.  She was appalled to find an absence of evidence showing that the cognitive effects of puberty blockers were fully reversible, even though this was a treatment that had been adopted worldwide and was available on the NHS. “There is no evidence, because nobody’s looked at it,” she says. “People were really looking at puberty just from the development of sex organs and physical changes. But from a neuropsychological perspective, puberty is really important for cognitive development – in adolescence, the brain undergoes all sorts of changes.”  But when Baxendale came to publish her review of the existing literature on the subject, she found it was an academic hot potato, rejected by three journals. As is usual, her analysis was subject to anonymous peer review processes before publication, but in each case she found herself criticised by the reviewers and the analysis was turned down. She claims this was “nothing to do with the way I’d  conducted the study” – it was rejected because “they did not like the findings”.  “The reasons given for rejecting it were quite extraordinary,” she says. “One was ‘this will stigmatise an already stigmatised group’… One [review] criticised me for using the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’... That’s what was so, so different compared to all the other papers I’ve published.” Anonymous reviewers cast aspersions about her motivation for exploring the topic in the first place.  Baxendale is certainly not the first researcher to find herself caught in the crossfire of the most toxic argument in academia, but says her case highlights how, when it comes to gender medicine, “enthusiasm for treatment has overtaken the evidence”.  Others in the field agree. Last month, the Dutch parliament ordered an investigation into the physical and mental health outcomes of children given puberty blockers – a dramatic about-turn given that the Netherlands pioneered the use of these drugs in a treatment protocol that was copied in the UK and around the world after it was published in 1998.  Baxendale didn’t think her findings were controversial. “I didn’t think it was particularly earth-shattering,” she says. “It was basically, ‘We don’t know, we need to do some more research’.” She found that there had been more studies assessing the impact of puberty blockers on cognitive function in animals than in humans, and, in fact, most found that they had a detrimental effect.  “Critical questions remain unanswered regarding the nature, extent and permanence of any arrested development of cognitive function associated with puberty blockers,” she concluded. “The impact of pubertal suppression on measures of neuropsychological function is an urgent research priority.” She did not say puberty blockers should not be prescribed – just that there had not been enough research into their cognitive effects.  Campaigners insist that puberty blockers can form part of “holistic and supportive healthcare for trans youth”. Mermaids, the transgender charity, has claimed that denying a child’s right to change their gender identity could increase the risk of suicide.  But the small number of studies that have assessed the impact of the drugs on children are flawed, Baxendale says. “No human studies have systematically explored the impact of these treatments on neuropsychological function with an adequate baseline and follow-up.” One credible piece of research – based on a single case study – actually found that puberty blockers caused an overall drop in IQ of 10 points. “You can’t say something is safe and reversible if you haven’t tested it to be safe and reversible,” she says.  When Baxendale’s research was published in February this year, she faced an online backlash. “It has been quite distressing,” she says. “I’ve been called a eugenicist, an anti-trans activist, and I’m not even on social media.”  Baxendale would do more research in the area were it not for the abuse she’s received since publication. “I would like to look at this again, but I would be quite wary of bringing other people onto the team early in their careers, because I wouldn’t want them to be associated with the accusations of bigotry and transphobia.”  ‘You can’t say something is safe and reversible if you haven’t tested it to be safe and reversible’  Her academic colleagues were quietly supportive. “Lots of people reached out and had stories, said ‘I’m very concerned’, but none of them would go public and say that – because they see what happens when you do,” she says.  “I can see how younger researchers would run a mile from this. It’s really really unpleasant… when all you’ve done is write a paper to help the people they say you want to harm. That will really put people off doing research, and that’s what’s so desperately needed.”  With the publication of the landmark review into genderidentity services for young people by Dr Hilary Cass this week, Baxendale is vindicated, as are the other academics who have gone against what was prevailing wisdom on the treatment of young people seeking gender reassignment.  The review concluded that the current treatment pathway for gender dysphoric young people is based on “remarkably weak evidence”. Its findings have led to a decision by NHS England to stop prescribing puberty blockers outside of clinical trials, but they remain available off-label via private prescriptions at non-NHS gender clinics.  The now-defunct Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust began prescribing puberty blockers to children as young as 12 on a trial basis in 2011.  In 2014, access to the drugs shifted from research-only to being available in general clinical practice, and GIDS lowered the prescription age from 16 to 11 – despite its own research finding they do not improve psychological wellbeing for distressed children as previously claimed. The clinic’s director praised them on a CBBC programme, saying: “The good thing is, if you stop the injections, it’s like pressing a start button and the body just carries on developing,” despite concerns about irreversibility.  Baxendale hopes the Cass Review is a step in the right direction. “It was really clear that research needs to be embedded into the new services,” she says. “These people deserve the same as everybody else: evidence-based care. When any group becomes exceptional and the rules start to not apply – that’s when medicine goes off the rails.”  Article Name:I was prevented from raising the alarm about puberty blockers Publication:The Sunday Telegraph Author:Abigail Buchanan Start Page:4 End Page:4

Monday 15 April

The Guardian

  • There are no articles about trans people in the Guardian’s Monday edition.

The Times

Times 2 front page "I've been driven out by hate" Why Britain's first transgender judge resigned
The judge who brought a bodyguard to her leaving do She was the first transgender woman of the judiciary, but Victoria McCloud quit after receiving complaints at work and death threats. By Catherine Baksi  Victoria McCloud at Gatehouse Chambers in London Victoria McCloud is the first member of the judiciary to have changed gender, having transitioned in the late 1990s after qualifying as a barrister. At the age of 40 she became the youngest person appointed a master of the Queen’s (now King’s) Bench Division of the High Court, four years after becoming a judge. And during 18 years on the bench, her high-profile cases included those involving the former US president Donald Trump (a failed bid to sue him for defaming London Muslims), the politician Andrew Mitchell (Plebgate) and the model Katie Price (an action against her ex-husband Peter Andre, among others over her right to privacy). Now, aged 54, McCloud has quit.  Her position as a judge, she tells me, was becoming “untenable” because politicians and others incorrectly cast being trans as a “lifestyle choice or an ideology”, rather than the way people were born. As a result, McCloud says that she was regarded by some as “making a statement” by being who she is, and labelled as a bigot who was “walking into court with a metaphorical rainbow flag around my shoulders”, when the reality is merely faint blue-tinged highlights in the ends of her hair.  We’re sitting in a room on the top floor of Gatehouse Chambers, the barristers’ set that she has joined — and from where she will continue working, including with the all-party parliamentary group on whistleblowing. Behind her, the buildings of Gray’s Inn — one of the four ancient Inns of Court — form a majestic panoramic backdrop.  “I had the best job in the judiciary,” reflects McCloud, who says she found writing judgment “creative and stimulating”. In the past she encouraged other transgender individuals to become lawyers and judges, but now she says it would be “much harder” for a transgender person to become a barrister and “impossible” for one to become a judge, advising anyone considering it to “proceed with caution”.  In her resignation letter, which The Times reported in February, McCloud revealed that it was no longer possible for a transgender judge to remain on the bench in a “dignified way” and that she risked making the judiciary political. Specific criticism from some barristers had prompted McCloud to refer herself twice to the office of judicial complaints — in one instance over her use of the female lavatories at the Royal Courts of Justice. To reassure colleagues that she was “safe”, she also referred herself for police criminal records checks. “I am now political every time I choose where to pee,” McCloud wrote, adding that she had become a “target”.  While McCloud got the “normal” abusive emails received by all judges and people in public life, she says that in recent years the rise of the gendercritical movement has created a more hostile environment. She notes that she was branded on social media as a pervert, a threat to democracy and to the rule of law and a risk to women and children. Such has been the level of abuse that she has received — including death threats — that she felt compelled to increase security at her home and has hired a bodyguard on occasions, paid for by herself, including for her own leaving party.  “The social situation in the country has shifted under my feet in the last four years,” she says, moving from it being a “reasonably positive, acceptable sort of thing” to be trans to a state where they are equated with rapists and paedophiles and deliberately “misgendered” as a form of abuse.  I am now political every time I choose where to pee  Accepting that there are offenders in all groups in society, McCloud says there may be some trans people who are rapists, but stresses that some offenders seek to abuse the law by claiming to be trans. “Just because the media calls someone trans or offenders call themselves trans and turn up to court in a dress, doesn’t make them trans,” she says.  McCloud agrees that a person’s “biological” sex is immutable and unchangeable, and applauds the gender-critical campaigner Maya Forstater for taking the employment tribunal case that established such a belief is protected under equality legislation. But she says that the Gender Recognition Act 2004 enables people with a gender recognition certificate to change their sex in law for all purposes.  She argues that since the Forstater ruling the gender-critical movement has become a “dog-whistle” that enables extremists to abuse trans people under the banner of free speech, warning “reasonable” adherents to be “aware of the people that they are attracting”.  “I have fear and a sense of violation, but also a deep sense of disappointment” at being “driven out by hate from groups or individuals who have captured the previously respectable gender-critical movement”, McCloud says.  For the past two years, McCloud says that she has been raising concerns and urging the senior judiciary to produce a policy regarding transgender judges, but to no avail.  She criticises the lady chief justice, Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill, and other senior judges for not publicly defending her. Being “in a minority of one” in the judiciary, McCloud says she was left to speak out to defend herself, turning to LinkedIn.  As a result, she says there has been a “campaign” against her, with several “unfounded” complaints made to the judicial disciplinary body.  Dismissing criticism from some barristers that her comments breached judicial guidance on social media use, McCloud stresses that judges have a right to free speech, which can only be curtailed by law. She rejects suggestions that her posts demonstrate hostility to people with gender-critical beliefs, insisting that they merely show disagreement.  McCloud, who was born in Surrey and is also a chartered psychologist, I knew I was trans from about five years old says:  “I knew I was trans from about five years old.”  She explains that it is a form of body dysmorphia which means that “your awareness of what sex you are differs from the outward appearance of your body and its internal, hormonal environment”.  She began exploring transitioning as a student at Christ Church, University of Oxford, where she studied experimental psychology and a doctorate in the brain’s processing of three-dimensional vision.  “If I could have done it as a kid, I would have done it in a shot,” McCloud says, so that she could have avoided the impact of puberty, particularly the drop in her voice.  But she insists that it would not be the right course for all children identifying as gender-variant. “Most kids won’t be trans in the sense of needing to change gender,” she says, emphasising the importance of enabling them to explore their issues in therapy.  A small number of children, she adds, will be trans and will need medical assistance, which in some cases “can be life-saving”.  This week a review by the retired paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass criticised the prescription of “gender-affirming” hormones to treat under-18s, despite the lack of evidence about their long-term effects. She recommended that the policy on giving children hormones from age 16 should be urgently reviewed in favour of “a holistic assessment” that looked at their mental health, with screening for conditions such as autism.  The Cass report was commissioned by NHS England in 2020 after a sharp rise in the number of patients who were questioning their gender — an increase that McCloud says judges observed in dealing with a rise in applications by children and young people to change their names.  McCloud says that for her, taking female hormones — oestrogen, in the form of three contraceptive pills a day — had a “wonderful and transformative” effect, outwardly changing the shape of her body to how she had always felt it was supposed to be and internally giving her a greater sense of herself.  The sudden drop in testosterone after surgery, she adds, heightened the impact of the oestrogen and gave her, for a short time, a “degree of euphoria”.  McCloud has sought permission to intervene as an interested party in a Supreme Court case brought by For Women Scotland challenging the legal definition of “woman” in the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018, which Scotland’s highest court ruled includes transgender women with a gender recognition certificate.  If the case succeeds, McCloud argues that it would remove rights that have been settled for 20 years, redefining the notion of “sex” for the purposes of equality law and “define me away”.  McCloud says that she intends to put herself forward to become a member of the House of Lords and does not rule out sitting as a judge again, but says for now, she is “taking a break”.  She sat at the Royal Courts of Justice for the last time on Wednesday last week, when specialist personal injury lawyers and LGBT barristers paid tribute to her in court.  About 70 barristers packed the wooden benches in Court 9 at the end of her final case, which concerned the death, following an accident, of a security guard working for the British armed forces in Iraq.  They praised McCloud for her dedication, diligence and fairness as a judge, as well as her sense of fun and willingness to support and encourage barristers, and help claimants appearing in front of her without a lawyer.  One barrister read out a note from a trans student seeking to follow in McCloud’s footsteps, to become a barrister and then a judge: “I’ve looked up to you as evidence that trans women can achieve anything.”  A tearful McCloud listened as the barrister continued reading the girl’s note: “Your decision to stand down doesn’t change anything you have achieved … Thank you for being my role model. I promise I will always fight to achieve as much as you have, in your name as well as mine.”  At the end of the valedictory remarks, with characteristic humour, a composed McCloud offered those assembled the opportunity to appeal.

Daily Mail

Badenoch: Trans lobby has ‘made up the law’ Daily Mail15 Apr 2024 KEMI Badenoch has branded the establishment cowardly for failing to stand up to ‘extreme gender ideology’.  The equalities minister called for a review of why senior leaders allowed trans rights groups such as Stonewall to capture institutions and ‘make up’ the law.  Mrs Badenoch, tipped as a future Tory leader, warned that the ‘battle over gender ideology’ is just starting despite last week’s Cass review calling for an end to under18s being given hormone drugs.  Writing in The Sunday Times, she said: ‘It has become almost impossible to question fashionable theories if they are promoted under the banner of progressivism or social justice.  ‘Dissent is treated as evidence of bad faith, bigotry or a lack of intellectual sophistication.’  In The Times on Saturday, former Stonewall chief executive Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green denied the charity had been to blame for the toxic debate.  Article Name:Badenoch: Trans lobby has ‘made up the law’ Publication:Daily Mail Start Page:10 End Page:10


  • There are no articles about trans people in Monday’s edition of the Telegraph. True story.


House of Commons

  • Adjournment debate – Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and gender non-conforming young people [more details here]. This has been raised by the anti-trans Alba MP, Neale Hanvey.
  • The Cass Review could end up being discussed with a ministerial statement or Urgent Question, time allowing.

Westminster Hall

  • No business that concerns this newsletter.

House of Lords

  • Oral questions – Retaining training and knowledge for special educational needs in the school and college system [more details here].


  • No business that concerns this newsletter.

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Germany enacts legislation simplifying name and gender changes [AP News]

  • The German parliament has passed new legislation that simplifies the process for name and gender changes, marking a significant step in recognising and supporting the rights of trans people.

Lawsuit accuses former Kentucky swim coach of rape [Bleacher Report]

  • A lawsuit has been filed against Lars Jorgensen, former Kentucky swim coach, accusing him of rape and sexual assault. This serious allegation adds to a troubling pattern of claims within the university’s athletics department. It is claimed that Jorgensen once coached Riley Gaines, who now spends her time campaigning against trans women in sport.

California transgender sanctuary law survives a legal challenge [Los Angeles Times]

  • A report on how California‘s transgender sanctuary law stood firm against a legal challenge, with the judge ridiculing the plaintiff’s arguments.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act upheld: A setback for LGBTIQ+ rights akin to Roe v. Wade [openDemocracy]

  • A report on Uganda’s High Court decision to uphold the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act, drawing parallels to the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the US.

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London Trans Pride 2024 announced [Pink News]

  • Details for the upcoming 2024 London Trans Pride have been announced, with the event taking place on 27 July 2024, starting at 1pm.

Tories suspend Lee Anderson’s wife over allegations [Mirror]

  • The Conservative Party has suspended the wife of MP Lee Anderson after he posted a photograph on social media of her helping him campaign for Reform UK.

Donald Trump’s hush money trial begins


  • The British government is throwing young trans people under the bus [Dazed]



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