Official photo of Victoria Atkins. Victoria Atkins MP banned puberty blockers.
Official photo of Victoria Atkins. Victoria Atkins MP banned puberty blockers.

In a move she has described as “bold”, Victoria Atkins MP banned puberty blockers literally a day before Parliament’s scheduled suspension for the General Election. Meaning Parliamentary opposition will be near impossible.

Those who speak legal and can pick through the finer points of the legislation found here are currently hard at work translating exactly what it means for trans youth. But the short story is that from Monday next week (3rd June 2024) puberty blockers will be far more inaccessible than they already are until this order ends in September.

Using emergency powers Health Secretary Victoria Atkins MP banned “puberty blockers for new treatements of gender dysphoria from private clinics and for all purposes from overseas prescribers into Great Britain” (So Northern Ireland are excluded).

She has also introduced restrictions on prescribing puberty blockers in NHS primary care in England.

She signs off this tweet proudly declaring that this is part of her bid to support the Conservative party through the General election writing; Our children deserve healthcare that is compassionate, caring and careful, and that is what a Conservative Government would deliver.”

Victoria Atkins MP banned puberty blockers while citing “The Cass Review”. The Cass Review does take a generally negative view of puberty blockers and moves to restrict them – but it does not at any point indicate that puberty blockers are harmful. Quite the opposite in fact.

Despite numerous anti-trans efforts to paint puberty blockers as an incredibly dangerous drug The Cass Review ultimately does not find a lot of support for those narratives in the literature. The stories of brittle bones, sexual dysfunction, detransition rates skyrocketing etc; none of it is confirmed by The Cass Review.

Despite this The Cass Review still takes an incredibly conservative and widely criticised position that “there isn’t enough evidence so we must halt until we have more”. But it does not at all recommend that puberty blockers are a treatment which should be removed from the table entirely.

The Cass Review already led to the NHS not issuing new puberty blocker prescriptions. However this is specifically because they are aiming to funnel trans youth into a research program to gather the aforementioned evidence. This move has also been widely criticised for its ethically dubious nature.

The scope of The Cass Review was always about NHS pathways; not about private ones. This means that the information within literally can’t inform the Government or Victoria Atkins MP who banned puberty blockers on how well prescribed these treatments are privately.

To top all of this off; Victoria Atkins MP banned puberty blockers a day before Parliament was due to be dissolved ahead of the General Election. Meaning that there are now no MPs sitting in Parliament and no one who can possibly oppose or even scrutinise this legislation at a Parliamentary level.

So I think we can all agree that this is a wildly cruel and pathetically cowardly move. Not only is she specifically picking on children who already have to fight for every scrap they can get but she also pretty deliberately did it when she knew the chances of any adults being able to fight back were slim to none.

But… it might also be you know… kind of… silly and shortsighted. The anti-trans narratives have centered around a specific drug set, GnRH analogues, and so the ban is specifically about that. But uhh… did you know there are other ways to block puberty? Wild I know.

For transgender youth assigned male at birth who want to stave off puberty you can very easily just take an anti-androgen. Drugs like bicalutamide, spironolactone and cyproterone acetate will all get the job done.

For those assigned female at birth drugs like aromatase inhibitors might find themselves being used more. Aromatase is a key enzyme in the synthesis of oestrogen, inhibiting it significantly dampens that effect meaning significantly less oestrogen.

There are other options and writers like Zinnia Jones have done far more leg work than I have on gathering the research in articles like this one. You should absolutely do your research and consult a doctor before putting any new medications in your body though.

Thankfully the act ceases to exist in September but that’s still over 3 months of trans youth once again being screwed over for nothing. All Atkins has got out of this is a tweet bigging up the Tory party but it’s not like any of the other parties have strongly opposed this move or condemned it in any way.

It hardly sets her party apart from the others when they’re all transphobic bastards nodding in agreement.

They say “you can’t ban abortion, only safe abortion” and the same applies to many areas of bodily autonomy including transitional care. Trans youth shouldn’t have to consider less good options like anti-androgens and aromatase inhibitors but they will. And they’ll do so all the more the harder anyone tries to stop them.

The only good option is to provide safe and accessible care for trans youth. Anything less is a cruelty.