An Open Letter to Pediatric Gender Clinics

The world’s largest pediatric gender clinic, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in the UK, is being shut down due to fears over patient safety. This announcement follows numerous serious concerns regarding patient safety in recent years with regards to the gender affirmative model of care, including concerns raised by whistleblowers, patients and their parents, clinicians, and the UK Health Secretary.

The closure of GIDS by NHS England followed recommendations issued by Dr. Hilary Cass who is chair of an Independent Review of GIDS commissioned by the NHS. Dr Cass has deemed the gender affirmative treatment model at GIDS as “not a safe or viable long-term option”. We note that Sweden and Finland have also recently retreated from the gender affirmative model of care for gender dysphoric children. 

GIDS was following a gender affirmative model of care in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care version 7. We fear that your clinic is following this unsafe and unviable treatment model for gender dysphoric children. In light of the forced closure of a clinic that uses the same treatment model as your clinic, can you please answer the following questions?

  • Are children with gender dysphoria under the care of your clinic being treated with the gender affirmative model of care?
  • Are you aware of the problems that have come to light about the gender affirmative model of care?
  • Would your clinic be open to following the recommendations on the key components of a gender service from Dr. Cass?
  • What evidence or inputs are guiding the development of your gender service?  
  • Dr Cass has also pointed out that other mental health issues were “overshadowed” once the issue of gender was raised. How does your clinic handle this issue?

Genspect echoes the concerns raised by Dr Cass as we advocate for a better model of care than the current gender affirmative approach as laid out by WPATH. We believe that this treatment model is causing harm to gender dysphoric children and young people. We agree with Dr Cass that centres with an “appropriate multi-professional workforce to enable them to provide an integrated model of care that manages the holistic needs of this population” would be more appropriate and we urge your clinic to adopt a similar approach so that gender dysphoric children and young people receive the most appropriate treatment available.

We would appreciate if you could respond to our questions and concerns and would be delighted to have a meeting with you to discuss these issues further.

Sincerely,
Stella O’Malley
Executive Director, Genspect

A copy of this letter in PDF format can be found here

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