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22.06.2021

Trans young people should have the same rights to bodily autonomy as any other young people 

We have seen the distress and further delay to accessing treatment that the High Court’s decision in Bell v Tavistock has created for our service users. The decision has put a further strain on the already marginalised transgender and non-binary community and their families in this country.

We believe strongly that trans and non-binary children should have the same rights over their healthcare decisions as anyone else, in line with their evolving understanding. This is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Gillick competence principle, which underpins practice across a wide range of health and social care, including sexual and reproductive health. 

We support the coalition of health organisations and LGBTQ+ charities have filed a joint submission to the Court of Appeal arguing that competent young people should be able to consent to treatment the same way young people with other medical conditions can. 

We are proud that the voices of trans and non-binary young people, which are the people impacted by this decision, will be platformed before the Court of Appeal.

We ask that trans young people are not treated differently to this end, we hope that the High Court’s decision is overturned.

Notes to editors:

1.  Bell v Tavistock and Portman NHS Health Foundation, a case where the High Court ruled in December 2020 that adolescents younger than 16 years old were unlikely to be able to give consent to take reversible hormones to delay puberty.

2.      You can read the initial decision of the High Court in full here or a summary here.  

3.   The Tavistock’s appeal of the Bell judgment will be heard by the Court of Appeal on 23 and 24 June.

4.  Mermaids is a UK-wide charity (registered charity number 1160575) working to support transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people, their families and the professionals who support them. Their goal is to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. The charity’s services include a helpline, web chat and online forums for parents and young people, as well as face to face meet-ups for peer support. They also provide training into organisations and advocate for a fairer society for trans young people.