Several mainstream media publications have repeated the lie that the NHS has advised “most trans children are just going through a phase”, including The Times, The Telegraph and Sky News.
The headline of numerous articles published primarily in British press is an outright lie. The headlines claim that the NHS has advised “most trans children are just going through a phase” but this language does not appear to match what the NHS has said at all.
The original articles in the press did not cite the document they supposedly took this NHS advice from, meaning trans people had to track it down ourselves. Credit to Fiona Pettit O’Leary for contacting the NHS, tracking down the document and getting an admission from the NHS that they have been misquoted by the press.
I rang @NHSEngland media team regarding these headlines in @Telegraph @DailyMailUK #Disinformation being used to incite #Hatred #Transphobia #NHS spokesperson said they've been misquoted.
I'm awaiting written comment.#TransRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/97kyF1XJqB
— Fiona Pettit O'Leary 🏳️⚧️ (@fionapettit71) October 24, 2022
It’s because of this hard work that we can show the actual quote from the NHS document which reads as follows; “The clinical management approach should be open to exploring all developmentally appropriate options for children and young people who are experiencing gender incongruence, being mindful that this may be a transient phase, particularly for pre-pubertal children, and that there will be a range of pathways to support these children and young people and a range of outcomes.”
In short what this passage says is a bunch of stuff we already knew; not every child presenting with gender incongruence is transgender and will go on to transition. This is something clinicians who support trans youth are already aware of. Under no circumstances does this document support the claims made by the press that most trans children are just going through a phase.
Infuriatingly the NHS has not stepped up to correct the disinformation of “most trans children are just going through a phase” in the mainstream media; despite how obviously damaging such hateful rhetoric has repeatedly proven itself to be. Instead the NHS contact who supplied Fiona with the document and quote has said they are “exploring their options” with regards to Fiona having posted a recording of the phonecall.
It is not illegal to record a call.
I awoke to threats from the #NHS this morning.@NHSEngland Do the right thing and SAY SOMETHING about these disgusting and damaging headlines.
Ask for a correction!#TransRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/sbztdYrTJi
— Fiona Pettit O'Leary 🏳️⚧️ (@fionapettit71) October 25, 2022
That’s right, you can lie through your teeth about a marginalised group, likely putting them at further risk of harm and you even can do it in the NHS’ name with no consequence. They won’t work to correct that disinformation themselves at all! Instead they will go after you, a random trans person, for doing their job for them. An utter disgrace if I ever heard one.
Elsewhere on this subject there are countless studies showing that supporting trans youth increases likelihood of positive mental health outcomes, that trans kids aren’t likely to desist or detransition and also studies which talk about how actively negative press like this is hurting us and ruining our mental health. The evidence base in support of trans youth is where it has always been; right there ready for people to talk about.