UK’s National Health Service acknowledges ‘transient nature’ of youth gender dysphoria, imposes restrictions on medical interventions

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


The National Health Service of England is reportedly planning to restrict cross-sex surgeries and puberty-blocker treatments on minors who claim they want to change genders. 

The issuance of new and stricter guidelines on medical transgender interventions for minors follows a probe into England’s controversial Tavistock gender clinic, which was shut down by the NHS following a determination that it was “not safe” for children. NHS England will act as an interim replacement for the clinic pending an ongoing investigation by The Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People led by Dr. Hilary Cass.

The Cass Review found that medical providers at Tavistock said they felt “under pressure to bypass standard protocols of clinical assessment of children to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach” to gender identity.

Gender dysphoria most likely a ‘transient phase’

In its report, the NHS warned that a majority of adolescents who believe they are transgender are merely experiencing a “transient phase,” The Telegraph reported

The agency determined that a “significant proportion of children” who are referred to gender facilities have neuro-development issues or social problems incorrectly ascribed to or manifested as gender dysphoria.

Unlike Tavistock, the NHS interim clinic will be led by physicians, as opposed to therapists. Based on its findings, the health agency plans to impose new restrictions on treatment protocols for self-identified trans minors, including a ban on prescribing puberty blockers outside of strictly limited clinical trials. 

Gender care providers will also be required to consider factors such as autism and mental health issues in assessing minors seeking cross-gender interventions.

Doctors are further warned to not encourage children to change their names and pronouns — a “non-neutral” act NHS concluded leads to “significant effects” on “psychological functioning.”

The report even extends beyond gender-affirming treatments to note the risks and challenges young people are likely to face when, after having undergone transgender treatments, they find that their “gender incongruence does not persist.”

NHS criticized for waiting so long to enact common-sense approach

Jay Richards, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, said the changes are long overdue and questioned how long it will take for the U.S. to get up to speed on what the U.K. has already discovered.

“It should be obvious to any objective observer that the number of kids presenting with symptoms of gender dysphoria, or simple gender confusion, reflects social contagion among the population,” Richards said, pointing out that adolescent transgender surgeries in America increased “almost fivefold” between 2016 and 2019.

“The U.K. and other Northern European countries started down this pathway before we did, and they are now rethinking this. The U.K. has actually closed its main pediatric gender clinic,” he continued.  “The National Health Service in the U.K. is now conceding the obvious — that many kids suddenly identifying as transgender are probably going through a phase and shouldn’t be fast-tracked to chemical and surgical sterilization.”

British author and political commentator Douglas Murray said that the NHS should have provided a “sensible approach” to transgender care years ago during a recent Sky News interview. Murray, a self-described neo-conservative, expressed dismay at the number of young people whose lives have already been “irreversibly ruined” by the NHS’s failure to address the rapid increase in gender dysphoria diagnoses and treatments among Britain’s youth.

“Just consider all of the young children, all of the young people whose lives have been irreversibly ruined by the NHS, like other health authorities across the western world, not taking this simple, sensible, adult, and pragmatic approach years ago,” he said in response to the new report.