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A DANGEROUS BETRAYAL OF TRANS YOUTH

Today’s judgment from the High Court risks untold, irreparable damage to young trans people in England and Wales. It heralds nothing less than a new era of discrimination, treating trans youth differently from all other young people and barring them from accessing life-saving care. 

The judgment does not make it a mandatory requirement for clinicians to seek judicial authority before prescribing puberty blockers to those under 18. The judgment did not decide that hormone blockers are illegal or unlawful. 

However, the court ruling effectively makes it very difficult for expert clinicians, who see the need for hormone blockers, to offer life-saving treatment to trans young people under 16 without a court order.

I only wish the judges involved had actually talked to some of the young people affected by their decision.

Susie Green, CEO Mermaids

This morning’s deeply-misguided decision does not reflect years of overwhelmingly-positive outcomes gained via hormone blocker treatments within the NHS. Hormone blockers have allowed many trans young people to escape the torture of going through the wrong puberty.

We now face a disturbing new scenario, when a young person along with their parents, their doctor and expert clinicians all support treatment, but a judge with no medical qualifications can overrule them. No other young people face this barrier to healthcare, only trans youth. 

The implications of this ruling are wide-reaching. This decision is a dark day for the rights of all young people to make decisions about their own bodies, including young people seeking access to the pill and even abortions.

It may potentially open the floodgates towards other questions around bodily autonomy and who has the right to govern their own body.

Lui Asquith, Director Policy & Legal

We are already seeing a hugely-distressed response from hundreds of trans young people and families who may now feel forced to seek other routes to treatment, heralding a period of dangerous medical-prohibition based on gender identity.

We welcome the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust’s stated intention to appeal this ruling.

Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids, said: ‘To say this is devastating is an understatement. As a parent of a child who accessed blockers internationally because they weren’t available on the NHS at that time, I know what this means to those families affected. My daughter is clear that without blockers, she would not have wanted to carry on, knowing that forever, she would be identifiable as being assigned male at birth due to irreversible changes that a male puberty would have brought. In the wake of this judgment, hundreds of families are telling us the impact it will have on their children. I only wish the judges involved had actually talked to some of the young people affected by their decision. They were offered such an opportunity but refused. They should have listened to the voices of older trans people who never had the opportunity to access puberty blockers, and desperately wish they could have. They should talk to the young people on a 2-year-plus waiting list who have now had hope ripped away from them. We are seeing panic, desperation and distress on our helpline. This is an unforgivable and shameful betrayal of young people’s rights to autonomy over their own bodies and we are deeply concerned about the impact it will have in the months and years to come.

Lui Asquith, from the trans children’s charity Mermaids, said: ‘It’s frankly a potential catastrophe for trans young people across the country and it cannot be exaggerated the impact that this might have, not only on the population of trans young people that require hormone blockers, but it may potentially open the floodgates towards other questions around bodily autonomy and who has the right to govern their own body.”

For more information on what was decided in court and how NHS England have responded, CLICK HERE.

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