The transgender treatment of young people

Dr Julie Maxwell writes: You may have seen the recent media coverage of the Judicial review brought by Keira Bell and Susan Evans against the Tavistock and perhaps you wonder what on earth this is all about. This was a landmark judgement that will have world wide repercussions as well as implications for churches and society in general.

The Tavistock and Portman is a London Hospital Trust providing mental health services for adults and children. The particular part of the trust involved in this judicial review is the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) which was set up in 2009 to assess and treat children and young people with gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is defined as the sense of unease a person feels due to a mismatch between their biological sex and their perception of their own gender identity.  This clinic is where almost all children with gender identity issues are treated in the UK.

Children and young people suffering gender dysphoria are referred to The Tavistock clinic where they should undergo a thorough psychosocial assessment (looking thoroughly at any underlying psychological, mental health, developmental conditions such as Autism or family issues that may be contributing to their difficulties) before a formal diagnosis is made. Children experiencing distress around puberty are then potentially referred on to be considered for medication to block puberty (known as puberty blockers), these medications are  given to children as they start puberty so can be as young as 10. At the age of 16 these children can progress to cross-sex hormones (testosterone or oestrogen) and following that some will progress or surgery.


There has been increasing concern about this medical and surgical treatment and the lack of psychological and therapeutic support for these children and young people. In addition there has been an explosion in referrals to this clinic as well as a significant change in the demographics of referrals. When the clinic opened in 2009 there were 97 referrals (just over  50% were biological males), but last year there were 2,728 referrals and around 76% were biological females. The precise reason for this increase (and in particular the huge rise in teenage biological females being referred) is not understood and has not been formally investigated.

As the number of referrals has increased so has the number of children referred on for medical treatment. This was initially being done as part of a research study because of the lack of knowledge regarding physical and psychological outcomes of these treatments. However, increasing numbers were referred on for medical treatment and concerns started to be raised that adequate assessment and appropriate therapy was not being given to these children and that the long term outcomes were largely unknown.

In addition, as the referrals numbers increased, so did waiting times and it became increasingly common for children to have already undergone social transition (already identifying and living as if they were the opposite sex) before presenting at the Tavistock clinic. In many cases social transition occurs even before referral or assessment by any medical professional.

It is important at this point to look at what the outcomes were for these children  prior to the use of puberty blockers. Studies show that between 70% and 90% of children suffering from gender dysphoria would, after going through puberty, become comfortable with their biological sex. Only a small percentage would persist with feelings of gender dysphoria into adulthood.

However, the situation at present is that many children with gender dysphoria are referred to a gender identity clinic (many already socially transitioned and determined they want medical and surgical treatment) and a large number of these will be referred on for puberty blockers.

Puberty blockers are medicines that are used for the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer and for children that go though puberty at a very young age. These children stop taking the medication when they reach the normal age for puberty and continue through normal puberty – blocking of puberty is reversible.  In the case of children with gender dysphoria however it is normal puberty which is being blocked with all the physical and emotional changes that come with it. It was initially intended that giving puberty blockers would reduce distress in the child/young person and enable them to explore their identity without the distress of the physical changes. It quickly became clear that almost all of the children who started taking puberty blockers progressed to taking cross-sex hormones. This is not altogether surprising bearing in mind that in previous studies it was the process of going through puberty including the brain maturation that helped a child to become comfortable with their biological sex. (The NHS website was recently updated to reflect the understanding that puberty blockers in this scenario are not easily reversible).

We need to keep clear in our minds the fact that a person cannot change their biological sex. Every cell in their body has XX or XY chromosomes (apart from the extremely rare incidences of genetic disorders). A person who goes down the route of a medical and surgical gender reassignment will be on hormone therapy for the rest of their lives and (depending on what treatment they have had) will likely be rendered infertile and in many cases without sexual function.

It is concerning that the current ideology around gender identity is illogical and operates on the belief that biological sex is irrelevant to being a boy or girl—that being a boy or a girl is based on feelings rather than biological reality.


This judicial review was instigated by Sue Evans who used to work in the Tavistock clinic and first raised her concerns 15 years ago about the treatment of children with gender dysphoria. The claimants were Keira Bell and Mrs A, the mother of a 15 year girl with Autism who is on the waiting list for treatment at the Tavistock.

Keira was a patient at the Tavistock and was prescribed puberty blockers aged 16, testosterone a year later and underwent a double mastectomy at 20. You can read her story here. She is clear that her underlying mental health problems were not addressed and that the treatment did not relieve her feelings of dysphoria. She has now detransitioned (returned to living as her biological sex) and there are increasing numbers of young adults coming forward who are testifying to the fact that transitioning did not relieve their distress long term and they are now left with varying degrees of irreversible changes to their bodies.

The claimants’ case is the children and young people under the age of 18 are not competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blocking drugs. Furthermore they contend that the information given to children is misleading and insufficient to ensure such children or young persons are able to give informed consent.

The judgement from the High Court ruled that puberty blockers and cross sex hormones are experimental treatments which cannot be given to children in most cases without application to the court. It concluded that

…it is highly unlikely that a child of 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks of the administration of puberty blockers.

The court also ruled that

…in respect of young persons aged 16 and over. Given the long term consequences of the clinical intervention at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is yet innovative and experimental, we recognise that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing clinical treatment.

The judgement states:

There is no age-appropriate way to explain to these children what losing their fertility or full sexual function may mean to them in later years.

The judgement of the court established facts that clinicians have been trying to raise for a number of years:

  • Puberty blockers are not “fully reversible”.
  • Puberty blockers do not just pause puberty but are the first stage in a medical pathway that few children come off.
  • There is no evidence that puberty blockers alleviate distress.
  • Treatment with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones has serious physical consequences, including loss of fertility and full sexual function, with profound long-term risks.
  • Treatment is experimental.
  • Instead of medical treatment being a last resort it is the only treatment being offered for children with complex histories and mental health conditions.
  • No therapeutic pathway is being offered to these children.

So what are the implications of the ruling in this case? Within hours of the judgement being made public, the Tavistock had announced that they had “immediately suspended new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under 16s” and all those already on puberty blockers will need a full clinical review. They have also committed to ensuring appropriate psychosocial support and psychological therapy is available.

A review of the gender identity services had already been commissioned by NHS England and the Tavistock was due to be inspected by the CQC. The judgements from this judicial review will feed into that review.


There is of course a huge concern about how this will affect children and young people and their families, especially those who have already embarked on social transition and regard puberty blockers as their only option. There is an urgent need to look at how these highly vulnerable children are supported in the community as well as in schools and in mental health services.  What part can we as churches play?

Bayswater support group has a very helpful resource for parents whose children express gender identity difficulties but I think some of the principles here can be applied more widely as we think about our own responses to this issue whether or not we actually any young person with gender dysphoria.

  1. Listen: these are children and families in distress who need to be listened to and need support. There are likely to be many other issues, not just the gender that you may be able to support and help with.
  2. Inform yourself. This article has been a very brief overview of the situation. For further reading on the topic helpful websites include: https://www.transgendertrend.com/ https://4thwavenow.com/ https://www.segm.org/ https://www.bayswatersupport.org.uk/
  3. The internet is not always helpful. There is a vast amount of unhelpful information regarding gender dysphoria and transition on the internet and it is important to look at all the evidence and to find reputable sources.
  4. What are children being taught in schools? We need to be aware of some of the misinformation being given to children and staff in schools and other professions. There is widespread concern over training being given by organisations such as Stonewall, Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence and many others.
  5. Consider how you would handle issues such as names, pronouns, toilets etc in advance if possible so that you don’t panic if you are faced with a situation.
  6. Think critically about sex and gender: as Christians this is especially pertinent. What does it actually mean to be male or female? What is God-given and what are gender stereotypes? https://lovewiseonline.org/created-male-and-female/
  7. Addressing mental health issues: a child or young person may need professional help but it is crucial to seek help from someone who is going to give the right help (this is not always the case as this judicial review has highlighted) or they may just need to be listened to and supported.

The issues around gender identity and gender dysphoria are complex and need to be approached with compassion and understanding while ensuring that the truth of biological reality remains clear. Children and young people deserve the best and most effective interventions based on evidence and facts, not on ideology and feelings. This judgement from the high court instigated by extremely courageous individuals is one step towards ensuring that vulnerable young people are protected.


Dr Julie Maxwell is a part-time Community Paediatrician and who also works for Lovewise, a Christian charity which provides relationships and sex education from a Christian perspective, one day a week. She is married and has three children, and is involved in leading youth work at her local church. Her personal and professional experience led her to became increasingly interested and concerned at the rapid growth in the numbers of children and young people presenting with gender identity issues and the way this was being managed.


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223 thoughts on “The transgender treatment of young people”

  1. Females are disproportionate because females are (a) more likely to be ‘progressive’, (b) for social reasons, more likely to go with the trend of their subculture rather than risk being a loner and resist it. To follow their peers.

    The same can be seen in claims to be bisexual and/or to have had a female sexual partner. Both have similarly shot up recently. Once the number of people claiming this reaches a critical mass then people will pile in to avoid being perceived as being in the minority.

    All of this shows that susceptibility to cultural trends is pretty high among young women and girls and its effects very quickly make themselves felt.

    Reply
    • (As so often, this story reminds us never to underestimate the depths and illogicalities that will be descended to once a culture decides to turn away from Christ[ianity].)

      Reply
        • Yes, ‘Christ’ is not only clearer but also more to the point. However, the effects even of ‘Christianity’ are astonishingly positive when compared to those of secularism – the gulf in effects is so great that it can only mean that the one is of extreme excellence and the other of extreme harm. I discuss the statistics for this in What Are They Teaching The Children? ch10.

          Reply
      • Hi David

        I stated 2 summaries about what we discover about females as opposed to males. The 2 are related.

        The first (on being ‘progressive’) is an uncontestable finding based on voting patterns.

        The second (on being more concerned with social ties and what one’s peers think or say) can be approached from many angles. For example, (a) more males are loners, so would not have to fulfil the requirement of agreement on a central core of things that is the basis of friendship-groups – when friends are chatting and laughing it is about bond-forming and maintenance not about truth or exactitude – to the extent that the gender that is more likely to have friends would need to do. (b) Borland et al. Neuropsychopharmacology 2018 same-sex social interaction is more rewarding to females than to males as measured by oxytoxin levels. (c) Females are more active than males on social media (Nielson, State of the Media report[s]). (d) Females have larger frontal lobes than males – the part of the brain concerned with ‘social interaction, manners, empathy’. Indeed such matters are often among the first mentioned when discussing physiological (and consequent psychological) average differences between men and women. To be right-brained at all (which is more typically female on average, just as left-brained is more typically male) means that it is inevitable that factual and logical disagreement (the province of the left brained)will be less to the forefront for women, and hence there will be more conformity. These things have been oft studied and discussed.

        Reply
        • Women dominate social media primary education, and social work. Men dominate YouTube commenting, engineering and computing.
          No amount of social engineering will change this.
          And as the leadership of the Church of England continues to feminise, men will increasingly withdraw from it. You can see this already in so many parishes where the vicar is female and the wardens are both female.

          Reply
          • Goodness me! How did we poor women cope with thousands of years of patriarchy?
            White male fragility must really be a thing if men can’t cope with women in leadership.
            Perhaps they could model themselves on Christ. That’s usually a good idea, if they purport to be Christian.

          • White Male fragility? What about fragile black and brown men?
            Anyway, I was simply observing facts.
            Men are not attracted to primary teaching.
            Social work is heavily female.
            Men are not attracted to churches led by women.
            And when men don’t go to church, their chil6are less likely to go either.
            What should we conclude from this?
            (And where did Christ model female spiritual leadership of men? I can’t find that in the Bible. )

          • James

            Try reading St Paul.
            And reflect that if men are not attracted to churches led by women, that really is their problem.

            ‘Their children’? Children belonging specifically to males?

            They should read St Paul. And maybe reflect that Jesus and his disciples were supported by women.

            Elite males dissing the feminisation of the Church is 2000 years old. But, at least the despises were pagans, then.

          • Penny, I have been reading the letters of St Paul for two thirds of my life – most of that in Greek – and I don’t have a clue what you are talking about. I can find no examples of female-led churches in the New Testament or for most of history.
            It is incontestable that the Church of England (and most Protestantism) is becoming a version of the WI – worthy in its own way but not what Christ came to establish.

          • He was asking for female-led churches. You have named a spirited itinerant Christian leader, a deaconess, and two whose status is unknown.

    • I wonder what encourages so many girls and young women to believe life for them would be so much better if they were male….. Do you think a culture with both rigid expectations of how gender is supposed to be performed and a prevalent sexism that gives men so many advantages over women might have anything to do with it?

      Reply
      • Yes, I do. And I think that many of the moves of the different waves of feminism have exacerbated that, by trying to assert women’s roles in society based on the assumptions made by male dominance, for example in the argument that women should ‘lean in’.

        And it has been massively made worse by the internet, and its unregulated use amongst teenagers.

        Reply
      • I am surprised that you consider that young men have many advantages over young women. The suicide rate in young men is far higher than in young women. Young women seem to be doing very well especially in the field of medicine. The divide seems more to do with the haves and have nots, rather than male advantage.

        Reply
        • You are right to point that out. I don’t think it is true that ‘men have many advantages over women’. But I do think there is a dominant narrative that that is the case—perpetuated by both patriarchal men and, ironically, by feminist women. When women campaign loudly, pointing out how many unfair advantages they believe men have, well, I think the primary effect on young women is to think that men have it better.

          And when women emphasise how little has changed over such a long time, then I think it often makes young women think there is never going to be any change. Indeed, some things will never change; men will always be physically stronger than women.

          Reply
          • Yes Ian, the narrative being pushed suggests men have advantages over women. The narrative is also that motherhood is second class and that career is everything. This has led to many women being exhausted and maybe leaving it too late to fulfil their natural maternal longings. What is so wonderful about a nine to five job in an office and rushing home to a family you farm out to others? Women used to have much better lives when they could take time out to be mothers. The rich always had the option to farm out the children to the nanny.
            You are are right about physiological differences- it matters when you are a young police constable on duty on a rowdy Saturday night and you’re partnered with a female officer. You are at 1.5 time strength instead of 2 full strength and you have to put more effort in. I know, I have a son who has been in that situation many times.

  2. The law is not an ass: discuss.
    Law v social “science” v medical science, in method and application?
    No one should underestimate the enormity of individual strength necessary to be a party in court proceedings.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for this succinct and useful article.

    Did I miss hear the BBC reporting that Tavistock announced that they were appealing immediately after the judgement was given? If so that does not suggest any real reflection on their actions which is rather sad… to say the least.

    Also about the BBC I thought I saw a difference between the television news response (which seemed, on balance, to be “more” immediately on the side of countering the judgement) and their online article which was much more simply reporting.

    Reply
    • Ian H,
      It wouldn’t be a surprise if there were an appeal from the NHS.
      The case was a one of Judicial Review.
      The Court judgement would/could open the door to a multiplicity of personal claims for damages for personal injury in the law of tort and/or breach of statutory duty.
      A slight aside, what now for CoE teaching in schools, such as raised in the past in Colchester was it?

      Reply
      • And, the recourse to individual claims could remain open until at least, the age of 21 and possibly even older, such as in the case of Keira Bell.
        But, disclaimer alert, my knowledge of the law is well out of date, not to be relied on.

        Reply
  4. Thanks for this article, Dr. Maxwell.

    I thank God for the court’s decision. The relentless peer pressure that teenage children have to live with does not equip them to make sound and wise decisions. It is right that we safeguard children from courses of action, egged on by irresponsible’progresives’ that will have irrevocable detrimental consequences for them. Especially when, as you point out, 70% to 90% of children experiencing gender dysphoria get better after puberty.

    Reply
  5. Feminism encourages the erstwhile ‘male’ model:
    -going out to work
    -leaving children
    -being competitive money-wise
    -working for larger corporations rather than community or vocational ones
    -no-one questioning the actual value of what you may be doing (which may be nothing other than e.g. shunting money there and back).

    It is not clear how the male model is superior to the erstwhile female – if anything the latter is superior because it is more family and vocation oriented. However, the change is readily explained because the rather aggressive feminist narrative is ‘Anything men do we can do too.’ Which is the values of a playground not of a well functioning society.

    It also reminds me of how all societies need to conform to western values to gain funding – in areas of their lives where they may easily be superior to the west.

    What is so much better about being a western male? I don’t know. It’s equally good but it’s not better, let alone a one size fits all model, which is so constricting.

    Another example of this kind of totalitarianism: the very successful Christian culture, whose statistics and outcomes are so admirable, are being made to sit at the feet of the sexual revolutionaries with their very statistically-poor and family-destructive record to be told what’s what.

    So what is so much better about being a sexual-revolutionary western male? #youtoo?

    Reply
    • Christopher

      For millennia women have worked: in the home, the fields, the factory. In the Hebrew Bible, even elite women work.
      In both agrarian and industrial societies women worked.
      The idea of non elite women working is a very ‘modern’ idea.

      Reply
      • Correct. But we had it and then we lost it. We agree that family and home are of high importance. We also agree that parents are now often (in a 2income society) too exhausted to give their best to family and home. Thirdly they don’t have enough time. Fourth, they marry too late to have the energy. Fifth, this is unnecessary in an age of labour saving devices. We can define ‘unemployment’ as how many of the 2 adults in the house are unemployed and will likely get a ‘shockingly’ high total. But it is laughable when we already had evolved to a situation where one income was fine, and yet we blew it and wore ourselves out and disadvantaged our children in the process. All for what? All so we could prove we could have it all. Have it all? We have less than we had before.

        Reply
        • We didn’t have it. Except for a tiny proportion of elite white, western women. Women have always worked, children and babes beside them. It is still thus in the two thirds world.

          Reply
          • Because the tiny proportion of elite white western women haven’t forfeited it.
            They still have it.
            Most women in the world don’t. They have to work. They always have.

    • It’s a Judicial Review. And it hasn’t stopped anything. The huge irony is that had Keira Bell been required to go to court to access puberty blockers (though why she needed them at 16 is a puzzle), she would probably have fulfilled the criteria and would still have been prescribed them.

      I think the main threat is to Gillick competence. But I’m not a lawyer, so could be very wrong.

      Reply
      • It’s a Judicial Review. And it hasn’t stopped anything.

        It has stopped all referrals to endocrinology services for puberty blockers for this purpose:

        https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/12/02/puberty-blockers-tavistock-portman-referrals-gids-high-court-ruling-keira-bell/

        That’s something, isn’t it?

        I think the main threat is to Gillick competence. But I’m not a lawyer, so could be very wrong.

        The Gillick case established that the blanket presumption that under-sixteens could not consent to medical procedures could be overturned in some cases, provided the under-sixteen-year-old proved the have the capacity to understand the treatment and its potential consequences (it was a case about an under-sixteen-year-old being prescribed contraceptives because she was having sex, which under-sixteens shouldn’t be doing anyway, but leave that aside for a moment, the principle is more general).

        So the Gillick case established that there were exceptions to a general principle.

        This ruling establishes that there are treatments where the consequences are so long-term, so serious, and so outside the scope of a child’s experience, that they cannot fully understand what they are signing up to, and therefore cannot consent.

        So just like the Gillick case, this one established that there are exceptions to a general principle.

        So ‘Gillick competence’ is not ‘at threat’, it has simply been determined not to be absolute that a child can consent to any procedure if they seem to understand it. In order words there are limits to the Gillick principle, just like the Gillick case established there were limits to the previous principle. This doesn’t abolish, or threaten, the Gillick ruling; in fact it rather reaffirms and strengthens it on the principle of exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

        However seeing as a parent can presumably still consent on the child’s behalf as normal, this ruling doesn’t protect those children whose parents have bought into this nonsense and are pressuring their children to think that they have been ‘born in the wrong body’.

        It’s the new Munchausen syndrome by proxy: not getting enough attention? Convince your poor child they’re a mermaid and do experimental surgery on them!

        Reply
        • The judgement does not deal with parental consent because the judges were told by Tavistock that GIDS would never suggest puberty blockers based on parental wishes. Therefore, in practice, a parent cannot give consent for this kind of treatment – the doctors would consider it unethical to offer it without the consent of the child, which we now know the child cannot give.

          Reply
        • S

          I know the history of Gillick competence,
          And no child in the UK is having experimental surgery, well, not trans kids anyway.
          If people have to go to court to establish their need for puberty blockers they will. And the courts will, most probably, grant gender dysphoric kids access to blockers. As I argued, under the JR, Bell would probably have been prescribed blockers and would then go on to have surgery as an adult. That she now regrets that is a tragedy for her and, maybe the Tavi and Portman were negligent in her case, but most children are on a very long waiting list and have very thorough screening. An individual experience is being used as a weapon against trans kids, and in think I know who’s funding all this.

          Reply
          • I know the history of Gillick competence,

            Then you should know it’s not ‘at threat’.

            And no child in the UK is having experimental surgery, well, not trans kids anyway.

            I didn’t mention the word ‘experimental’ so I don’t know why you bring it up.

            If people have to go to court to establish their need for puberty blockers they will. And the courts will, most probably, grant gender dysphoric kids access to blockers.

            Not necessarily. They will have to be satisfied that the particular child in the particular case really has the capacity to understand the consequences of the treatment, and based on the judgement the presumption will be that those under 13 won’t.

            It certainly won’t be a mere ‘rubber stamp’ where any child who expresses a desire to go on the treatment path is simply allowed to, as appears to have operated previously.

            That she now regrets that is a tragedy for her and, maybe the Tavi and Portman were negligent in her case, but most children are on a very long waiting list and have very thorough screening.

            How can you have ‘very thorough screening’ if the presumption is ‘believe the child’? In fact, from what I gather, it was more than a presumption: the very idea of questioning the child was seen as verboten. Any ‘screening’ that was done was simply a formality: if a child presented desiring to go on the treatment course, they were put on the treatment course.

            Otherwise, why couldn’t the Tavistock provide the figures for how many children their ‘screening’ had rejected?

            A screen which doesn’t reject anyone is no screen at all.

          • You speak as though it were experimentally possible to identify an entity called a ‘trans kid’ – with no subjectivity or grey areas involved.

          • Christopher

            It’s rather difficult to demonstrate lots of things.
            Autism
            ADHD
            Dyslexia
            Depression
            Long Covid
            ME
            Some cancers
            Endometriosis

            Diagnosis is tricky.

          • Yes. It is often tricky when the initial concept has flaws.

            Those flaws are precisely what makes it tricky.

        • ‘Convince your poor child they’re a mermaid and you experimental surgery on them!’

          Your words, S, not mine.

          You may remember I wrote that I did not know whether this Review undermines Gillick competence.
          I know the history because I’m old enough to remember Victoria Gillick.
          You think it won’t. I hope you’re right.
          But in 6 months when a teenager is refused access to an abortion, you may find you are wrong.

          Reply
          • But in 6 months when a teenager is refused access to an abortion, you may find you are wrong.

            Well, it would be good if the rules for abortions were tightened up for all ages, not just teenagers, so we no longer have the current system of de facto abortion-on-demand and we go back to abortion only when there is a real risk of serious harm to the mother. But I can’t see this government doing that (Boris Johnson, the libertine, is all in favour of abortion) and if it were to happen this wouldn’t be the mechanism: it’s the USA that fights legislative battles in the courts, that’s not how it works over here.

            Remember that in the USA abortion was legalised by the Supreme Court, not their Congress, whereas here it was done by Parliament.

          • Mark my words. It will happen. All those secular feminists will find out what happens when they’re in cahoots with the likes of Paul Conrathe.

        • This is not the first time “Gillick competence” has been implicated in lack of safeguarding of children/young people. In child sexual exploitation it is recognised that often authorities turned a blind eye because a child was deemed “Gillick competent)!
          See this for a comprehensive review of this issue: Unprotected 2017: How the normalisation of underage sex is exposing children and young people to the risk of sexual exploitation https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0906229243/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_p24YFbFTJAM76

          Reply
  6. You are not lawyer, yet your judgement is that it hasn’t changed anything!
    And that is before any consideration of the full judgement, rather than media reports of it.
    Even with media reports that include experimental aspect and unknown long term effects and immediate response from the NHS would not support any evidence that the decision doesn’t change anything.
    As far as the law is concerned, your opinion is irrelevant and carries no weight.
    Not sure what CoE theologians can add that would carrying any weight in the judicial review.
    And you’d need to explain what is meant by your purpose in delineating the case as a one of Judicial Review: you’d need to set out the nature and purpose of such review.
    In addition, Gillick can readily “distinguished” set apart from the whole gender identity scenario, with medical and psychological interventions.

    Reply
    • Geoff

      I’ve read the full judgment. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know what the effect will be on Gillick competence. I do know that if such cases are now to be referred to the Courts then young people such as Keira Bell, with gender dysphoria, would still be prescribed puberty blockers.
      Whether this is desirable or undesirable, is not really the point.

      Reply
      • While I’ve not read the judgement, it seems that medical intervention will need to be tested in Court, the child and professionals. This is a substantial change and safeguard, certainly it’s not as you say: nothing has changed. Undue pressure by all parties will be able to be tested, independently.
        How many medical interventions on children and youngsters in any other field of medicine need the approval of the court? That comparison reflects the significance.
        A huge factor is the recognition by the Courts, that it is a medical matter, not solely a one of social construct and peer and or parental and or professional pressure.
        And it’s been taken out of the seemingly exclusive, realm of teaching/education on gender and transitioning.
        Perhaps, they should come with a health warning.
        I repeat: Court proceedings in themselves carry their own weight, pressure.

        Reply
        • Geoff

          They do. Which is why the NHS is likely to appeal. But if Keira Bell had had to go to court for permission to take puberty blockers, she would probably have fulfilled the criteria.

          All medicine comes with health warnings. But children much younger than 16 are being prescribed puberty blockers for precocious puberty. I don’t hear anyone talking about the side effects for them.

          Reply
          • That is because this is a medical response to a medical condition. The abuse of children has occurred here because of an ideology which has demanded a medical treatment of a (mostly temporary) psychiatric condition.

          • But children much younger than 16 are being prescribed puberty blockers for precocious puberty. I don’t hear anyone talking about the side effects for them.

            That’s because that course of treatment is temporary, with an end-point after a few years where the blockers are stopped and puberty is allowed to resume normally.

            On the other hand when the same drugs are prescribed for gender dysphoria it is inevitably as the first stage of an irreversible and life-changing course of treatment, the consequences of which a child, with a child’s lack of experience of the world and their own body, cannot possibly comprehend.

            Campaigners claim that puberty blockers used for this purpose merely ‘pause’ puberty and give ‘time to reflect’, but as the court found this is a lie: once a child with gender dysphoria is placed on puberty blockers they always progress to life-changing surgery. It is therefore right to consider, as the court held, that puberty blockers as a treatment for gender dysphoria are not a temporary treatment on their own (as is the case when they are given for precocious puberty) but are merely the first stage of a multi-step treatment leading to permanent bodily changes, and so it is that permanent change which must be consented to when prescribing them — and it is that permanent change which a child cannot possibly give informed consent to.

          • Ian

            Gender dysphoria is a medical condition.
            It is not temporary.
            Psychiatric conditions are medical. The brain is an organ.

          • S

            That most children who take puberty blockers move onto cross-sex hormones is an instance of excellent diagnosis rather than imaginary dark forces.
            Besides, how many children do you think received these drugs last year?

          • Gender dysphoria is a medical condition.
            It is not temporary.
            Psychiatric conditions are medical. The brain is an organ.

            It is, but if the problem is in the brain, then the solution is also in the brain: it is most definitely not to alter the body to match the brain’s delusions.

            There exist people who have bodily dysphoria because they have a limb when they think they should be amputees. Should they be treated by mutilating their body to match their wrong idea of it, or by helping them to accept how their body really is?

            Similarly, should anorexics — who have bodily dysmorphia because they think they are too fat — be treated with gastric band surgery to help them lose weight?

          • That most children who take puberty blockers move onto cross-sex hormones is an instance of excellent diagnosis rather than imaginary dark forces.

            No; it is an instance of sunk cost fallacy and confirmation reinforcement.

          • You haven’t answered my question about how many children are prescribed drugs?

            Because it doesn’t matter; one is too many.

          • S

            So I infer that, in your opinion, there is no such thing as a transgender person?

            Nor have you admitted that you wrote ‘expiremental surgery’.

            But, hey, when winning means so much.

          • So I infer that, in your opinion, there is no such thing as a transgender person?

            There may be such a thing; my main problem with the trans movement is that it is utterly philosophically inconsistent in what such a thng would be.

            For example, at times the claim is that someone’s gender is entirely up to them: people are encourage to ‘try out’ different genders, to place themselves on a ‘spectrum’, along which they can move at different times of their lives.

            At other times the claim is that someone’s gender identity is fixed and innate: people who are ‘transgender’ don’t have a choice in the matter, they were ‘born in the wrong body’ and transition is a matter of making themselves who they ‘truly are’.

            These are totally incompatible claims. They cannot both be true; they contradict each other. And yet I have never found anyone on the ‘transgender’ side who is willing to commit to either one, and rule out the other.

            So, do I think there is such a thing as a ‘transgender person’? Maybe. Define exactly what you mean by ‘transgender person’ and I will tell you whether I think such a thing exists.

            Nor have you admitted that you wrote ‘expiremental surgery’.

            Sorry, that was because I thought it was so obvious that, as you pointed out, I had forgotten what I wrote, that I didn’t need to say it.

            But of course, you were right, I had totally forgotten (as it was an aside to my main point) that I had written that, and I was completely wrong to claim I hadn’t when I had.

  7. There is more than one factor in any the NHS decision to appeal.
    Financial implications are a huge factor, including something I mentioned above – multiplicity of personal injury claims.
    What is absent from your comments is any iota of understanding and compassion resulting to Keira Bell.
    It seems very much that some aspects of one way trans ideology is grounded in permafrost, unmeltable.

    Reply
        • Yes, just like Gillick, if Gillick had won and prevented girls from access to contraception because she didn’t want her own daughters to have access.

          Reply
          • Yes, just like Gillick, if Gillick had won and prevented girls from access to contraception because she didn’t want her own daughters to have access.

            The position pre-Gillick was that girls could be prescribed contraceptives if their parents consented, so no girl whose parents were okay with them taking contraception would have been prevented from doing so even if the case had gone the other way.

            And children under sixteen, whether girls or boys, shouldn’t be having sex anyway, so the question shouldn’t arise.

          • Well yes, but that is to regard the law of England (somethign temporary and transient and subject to change) as being more fundamental than the natural law (which prescribes all kinds of diseases for extramarital sex, which we have only recently begun to understand), which it is not.

          • S

            Whether you believe children under 16 shouldn’t be having sex or not (I agree that they probably shouldn’t), they do.
            Effective contraception is therefore a very good idea. Especially if you think contraception is a rather better solution to teenage sex than abortion.
            Saying children under 16 shouldn’t be having sex doesn’t stop them doing so.
            It’s also important to remember that not all parents have their children’s best interests at heart.

          • When did I mention ‘children under 16’? 16 is an arbitrary number. I was talking about married/unmarried.

          • Whether you believe children under 16 shouldn’t be having sex or not (I agree that they probably shouldn’t), they do.

            Defeatist.

            Saying children under 16 shouldn’t be having sex doesn’t stop them doing so.

            No, but handing out contraceptives like it’s no big deal hardly helps.

            Especially if it undermines their parents when they are are trying to bring them up properly.

        • S

          Interesting. I have just discovered that Paul Conratte, the instructing solicitor, was involved is a previous case trying to overturn Gillick competence.

          Reply
          • This is is legally distinguishable from Gillick as I’ve mentioned above. Most fundamentally it is of a substantially different category. But as is the won’t of Penelope, there is a complete disregard in order to prosecute her single point.
            There are other distinguishable factors, some of which have been pointed out.

  8. Thank you Julia and Ian for another informative article on an important subject. I have two main concerns and a question. You quote ‘studies show…70-80% of young people recover after going through puberty’ presumably without chemical treatment and you provide a link that I found to be clear and easy to follow. The link is however, to the web page of the Tavistock Clinic. It cannot surely be possible for clinicians to ethically prescribe treatment, knowing that most patients would recover safely without the treatment. If this were the case it would surely have been the subject of the judicial review not the issue of consent. A registered clinician cannot ethically prescribe treatment that is likely to do more harm than good in most cases, with or without consent.
    My second concern is that according to the 10 studies referenced in the link, suggest that ‘as GE recedes with pubity, instead many of these adolescents will identify as non-heterosexual’. This gives me a different perspective on what these young people are going through.
    My question is about the quote from Genesis on the love wise web site, not sure if is a slip or a decision, but it is a very different thing to say that Christians believe God made Man male and female, rather than male or female: the or is surely a mis-quote. but let’s not have Christians arguing about two letters again….that has never gone well.

    Reply
  9. So Keira Bell is a hard case now? That is some sympathy you are demonstrating.
    That’s a simplistic, trite, tweet – like sound-bite, jargon; not really lawyer like, but a oneway trans-street, permafrost ideology.
    As in many matters, we are so far apart from being like-minded.
    Once again, your opinion (and mine) in this case is matterless, entirely irrelevant carries no weight.
    Perhaps you should dwell more on Keira Bell.

    Reply
  10. Geoff

    No. Her case is a hard case. If you don’t believe that I feel sympathy for her, then that’s your problem.
    She is either happy to align herself with some very questionable people, or she is their dupe.
    The surgery which she underwent, and which is irreversible, was carried out when she was 20 and an adult. She may still have been very vulnerable, may still be, but her own experience and the ideology of Mrs A should not be used as a weapon against trans kids. I’m dwelling on and praying for them.

    Reply
    • The very questionable people of whom Keira Bell was the dupe were those who either convinced her, or encouraged her to believe, that it was possible for her to “transition” to the other sex. It was not. People’s sex is not assigned to them by anyone; they are born with it; and it cannot be changed by cross-sex hormones, by surgical mutilation, or by any other means.

      Reply
      • So Bell had or has no autonomy, no agency?
        Perhaps no one encouraged her to believe anything? Especially since the notion of ‘transing’ kids is such a cheap trope.

        Something went very wrong in her case. It might be the GIDS fault. Medical professionals sometimes screw up. Which is why patients are compensated if they go to court and prove negligence. However, mostly, they don’t then go to court to prevent others having similar interventions.

        Sex really cannot be observed. Unless you can examine everyone’s genitalia or their gametes.

        Reply
        • No, of course no-one encouraged her to believe anything. Those who prescribed her puberty blockers and then cross-sex hormones did so purely on the principle that if she fancied them for some reason or other, then she should have them. And her breasts were removed simply on the assumption that she felt that she would look more dishy without them, as others might feel that they would if they had a tattoo done.

          If someone is deceived into believing that they can “transition” to the other sex, their having autonomy and agency doesn’t alter the fact that it’s a con.

          The difficulty of observing a person’s sex with absolute certainty without examining their genitals or their chromosomes is neither here nor there. It can’t be changed.

          Reply
          • It was you who claimed that Bell was encouraged to believe something.
            I think you’ll find that prescribing blockers and/or cross sex hormones are done on the principle that someone ‘fancies’ them.
            Have you seen the waiting lists? Or is this an assumption that blockers and cross sex hormones are handed out like sweeties?
            So you can’t be sure what sex someone is, but it can’t be changed?

          • William,
            You wrote:

            “The difficulty of observing a person’s sex with absolute certainty without examining their genitals or their chromosomes is neither here nor there. It can’t be changed.”

            May I ask what would would be your view concerning someone who is born intersex where their chromosome and genital expressions are in conflict?
            While admittedly, they are few in number among the general population, at some stage in their lives ,they need to decide what sex to be and what possible treatment options there are. How would you approach that situation?

          • I think you’ll find that prescribing blockers and/or cross sex hormones are done on the principle that someone ‘fancies’ them.

            In that case, why couldn’t the Tavistock provide statistics for how many children had been referred to them and been rejected by their screening?

            If none have been rejected, that means either (a) every single person who was referred to them actually was correctly referred, or (b) they don’t actually do any screening: if someone comes to them saying they want blockers, they are always given blockers.

            The first of those would be implausible even on the face of it: people are referred by their GPs. How could it be possible that every GP in the country who has ever referred someone to the Tavistock is such an expert in this fast-moving field that they could be absolutely one hundred per cent correct in their diagnoses and never ever mistakenly send to the Tavistock even one single child who they had misdiagnosed?

            But more to the point, we know it’s wrong: they clearly missed at least one case of misdiagnosis, the plaintiff in the lawsuit under discussion.

            That leaves us with (b): they aren’t actually doing any screening at all: they are simply accepting that if someone turns up having self-diagnosed, that their self-diagnosis is correct.

            Have you seen the waiting lists?

            The size of the waiting lists is irrelevant if no one is actually being rejected. The size of the waiting lists i a function of their capacity, not the strictness of their screening. Indeed if their screening were sufficiently strict the waiting lists would shrink as people who have been misdiagnosed could be taken off the waiting lists at an early stage.

            In fact the waiting lists are long because of the lack of screening and the fact that anyone who asks for blockers, gets them (eventually, subject to capacity rather than proper screening).

        • Penelope:

          You have obviously failed to appreciate my sarcasm.

          No, I am sure that puberty blockers and cross sex hormones are not handed out like sweeties. They are handed out only to people who have the delusion that their biological sex is the “wrong” one and needs changing, thus confirming them in that delusion, and encouraging the erroneous belief that it is actually possible for them to “transition” to the other sex. Yes, it was I who claimed that Bell was encouraged to believe something. She clearly was.

          I have NOT said that we can’t be sure what someone’s sex is. I have conceded the point that it MAY be difficult to know a person’s sex with certainty without the kind of examination that you mentioned, although I can recall very few such cases in real life. Of course, there may have been, for all I know, numerous cases in which a person was masquerading so skilfully as a member of the other sex that I was completely taken in. But what of it? None of that has any bearing whatever on the fact that a person’s sex – whether we know it or not, and even if we are mistaken about it – cannot be changed.

          Reply
          • William

            I am sorry that we disagree so profoundly.
            I believe that people can change their sex, because sex, like gender, is socially constructed. I do not deny that there are ‘biological’ differences between male and female (some observable, some not), but the ways in which these differences are construed is always culturally and socially determined.
            And if someone does ‘masquerade’ as someone of the other sex, what of it? Who is harmed?

          • Sex, like gender, is socially constructed, you say.

            It was only (like) yesterday that people started using the words as though they were not synonyms.

            So what is the midwife to say when baby comes out? It’s a????

            The obvious unreality of this does not reflect well on its proponents.

          • Christopher

            You misunderstand.
            I wrote that there are biological differences between male and female humans.
            How we construe those differences is a social and cultural construct.
            This is why we speak of ‘opposite’ sexes. Why are male and female in opposition? There are differences, but in what ways are they ‘opposite’?

          • I have no idea what you mean by construe. The differences are objectively factually there whether we construe them or not.

          • Christopher

            Yes, of course there is difference.
            The cultural/social construct is how we, as a society, ascribe meaning to those differences.

          • I believe that people can change their sex, because sex, like gender, is socially constructed.

            If sex is socially constructed, how come there are male and female cats? Dogs? Elephants? Snakes? Kangaroos?

            None of those animals have a culture, yet they have sexes.

            I do not deny that there are ‘biological’ differences between male and female (some observable, some not), but the ways in which these differences are construed is always culturally and socially determined.

            That is the definition of ‘gender’, not sex. Sex is the biological differences; gender is the social construction built up around those differences.

          • Penny, if you think ‘sex’ is socially constructed, then is appears you are choosing that words mean what you want them to mean, rather than the way other people use them.

            If that is the case, all possibility of discussion comes to an end.

          • Ian

            As I continue to explain below, I am not denying that there are biological differences between human males and females.

            It is the meanings that we assign to those differences that is a social and cultural construct, and this has varied at different times and in different societies.

            We construct what it means to be a man or a woman in our contexts, 1 Cor 11.14.
            God made male and female. But we make men and women. And, because it’s a cultural construct, doesn’t make it any less real. Money is a social construct.

        • Chris Bishop:

          I’m aware that there are such anomalous cases, XY females for example, and I don’t claim to know what the best procedure is for those people. I gather that prevailing medical opinion has changed considerably over the last few decades, although I don’t know that any consensus has been reached.

          However, they are not what this discussion is about, so raising the subject here is simply an irrelevant diversion.

          Reply
        • Penelope:

          Gender is a grammatical term, and although the gender (masculine/feminine) of words denoting living creatures generally corresponds to their sex (male/female) in most languages, that is not always the case. However, you seem to be using the word to denote the ways in which the differences between male and female are “construed”, which you say is “always culturally and socially determined”.

          Maybe so, but people’s sex (unlike gender in the sense in which you are using that term) is NOT socially constructed. It is a fixed biological trait, with which they are born, and it cannot be altered.

          I never said that anyone was harmed by someone masquerading as a member of the other sex, although I can envisage cases in which people might be harmed, e.g. where the motive was to facilitate criminal fraud of some kind or to lure someone else into a sexual relationship by means of deception. But either way, it makes no difference to the fact that a person’s sex is immutable, so that question is a red herring.

          Reply
          • Language changes. Gender used to be a grammatical term. It is no longer.
            You believe sex is immutable. I do not.

          • And ‘sex’ is not, and never has been, a fixed biological trait.

            Is this true for Komodo dragons? That will make the captive breeding programme difficult.

        • Penelope:

          Gender is still a grammatical term. It has often been used in the past also as a synonym for sex, and that usage is becoming increasingly common, which is pointless since the word sex is perfectly serviceable. Furthermore, the word gender is now being used also to denote other things, thus introducing ambiguity, which facilitates sloppy and illogical reasoning.

          You are free to believe that sex is a social construct and is not immutable, just as people are free to hold other delusional beliefs. I know that it is not a social construct but a fixed biological trait, and always has been, and that it is immutable. I bid you good night.

          Reply
          • Good afternoon William

            The point in using gender as a distinctive term has been to distinguish the cultural performance of gendered/sexed behaviour from what you describe as immutable biological differences (though not, perhaps, as immutable as once thought).

            The point I am making is that, although those differences are real, the meanings we give to physical, biological and genetic differences are socially constructed. And are certainly not immutable. Being a cultural construct doesn’t make it any less ‘real’. Most things are cultural constructs.

          • Being a cultural construct doesn’t make it any less ‘real’. Most things are cultural constructs.

            No, they aren’t. Some things are cultural constructs, but the vast majority of things in the universe aren’t cultural constructs.

            This should be obvious from, for example, the fact that in terms of the history of the universe human beings have only existed for the blink of a cosmic eye; so cultural constructs can only have even possibly existed for the last couple of hundred thousand years.

            Everything that existed prior to that, for the other thirteen or fourteen billion years of the universe’s existence, can’t have been a cultural construct, for there was no culture around for it to be a construct of. And there’s a lot of that stuff and it’s all still around. Stuff like mathematics, physics, chemistry (and biology is just chemistry, really), and so on.

            Hence, the vast majority of things in the universe are not cultural constructs.

  11. So, on one hand, we have GIDS publicly acknowledging (on their website) that “we don’t know the full psychological effects of the blocker or whether it alters the course of adolescent brain development.”

    On the other hand, Mermaids adamantly contradicting that, by declaring: “ ‘The few negative effects of puberty blockers do not change children’s minds’

    And, it’s not as though Mermaids just doesn’t have the resources to run a fact-check on its guidance.

    If there is a threat, then it’s that well-funded trans activist groups, like Mermaids, are spreading false propaganda to dismiss public concerns about the safety of puberty blockers.

    In doing so, such groups are ipso facto a safeguarding threat to the self-same young people, despite ironically demonising Christian orthodoxy as a major safeguarding threat.

    Their agenda is shameless, dangerous to kids and indefensible!

    https://1drv.ms/b/s!AssphAYLL1d4gaR5KPDu22jLg5ueaw

    Reply
    • David

      Mermaids is probably well funded. But not in comparison with the Christian alt-right which is funding so much of the transphobic, homophobic, misogynistic and racist ideology and agendas.
      Ironically, they are often supported by secular ‘progressives’ who don’t realise that they are collateral damage.

      Reply
  12. The rhetoric underpinning this hysteria is very damaging.
    Today, The Times claims that ‘thousands’ of kids are demanding puberty blockers from GIDs
    65 under 16s were prescribed puberty blockers by the Tavi and Portman.
    There is no transgender agenda. There are medical pathways prescribed by WPATH.
    The ‘transing our kids’ narrative is a myth.

    Reply
    • Actually The Times claimed that “thousands were on the waiting list”. I don’t see it as a figure snatched from nowhere. Isn’t that a clinic figure… not that they seem keen on figures.

      However the judgement (not The Times) is thoroughly damming about the clinic’s practices surely? The records not kept (why not?) is appalling or if they were kept it seem “remarkable” that they were not produced. Wouldn’t anyone produce supportive evidence if they were confident of it?

      And Dr Bell facing “disciplinary” proceedings….?

      Reply
    • Penelope,

      None of what you’ve said can justify the perpetuation of blatant falsehood about puberty-blockers by trans activism groups, like Mermaids.

      It’s selectively naive to suggest that there’s no agenda behind activists spreading such dangerous untruth.

      In fact, if there’s no agenda, I’d also wonder out loud why the progressive media’s demonisation of conservative Christianity as a safeguarding threat isn’t similarly characterised as hysteria, instead of justifying it with euphemisms, like “moral outrage”.

      Reply
      • There are no studies which suggest there is long term harm in puberty blockers.

        Transgender ideology, like Cultural Marxism is just an alt right ( and, increasingly, radical feminist) trope.

        If you think Mermaids is an activist organisation, then look at the activism of orgs like Christian Concern and CitizenGo. They definitely do have agendas.

        Reply
        • The notion that by surgery and hormones a person who is biologically male can become a woman is an ideology. That people who are confused about their ‘gender’ (at best a cultural construct if divorced from biological sex) should be encouraged to consider this notional transistion is motivated by an ideology.

          That the significant majority of children who suffer gender disphoria are happy with their biological sex when they reach adulthood should be sufficient to stop all presentation to children of transition as a desirable thing.

          Why do we regard gender disphoria as something which can be solved by conforming the body to the desires of the person as to how it should be when we do not do this with any other case when a person has mental health difficulties with the way their body is. For instance, someone who has anorexia nervosa sees themselves as fat (and this is probably a more significant issue for young people). Yet we don’t give such people, say, gastic band surgery so that they can lose weight.

          We do not regard it as a good thing that someone who is clearly white to claim to be of black identity. Those who have done so, and taken measures to make their body conform to that identity, are roundly condemned. The difference is one of ideology.

          The language of X-phobic applied to reasoned arguments, and other ad-hominem terms like ‘alt-right’, shows a desire to close down discussion by the demonization of people who disagree, rather than addressing the actual issues.

          Reply
          • That might be true if there were no trans adults.

            I know quite a few trans adults, several,if whom are priests.

            Nor do trans children naturally desist, gender non-conforming children do.

            And more people regret knee surgery than gender confirming surgery.

            Alt right is descriptor of far right groups and ideologies. It is not an ad hom.

          • I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying. That there are people who identify themselves as ‘trans’ is not the issue. The issue is whether, for example, a person who calls themselves a ‘trans-woman’ is actually in any reasonable sense of the word, a woman.

            If the use of ‘alt-right’ is not ‘ad-hom’ then it is an attempt to dismiss what is said on that side of the argument by a perjorative term to its proponents, rather than actually addressing what is said. In some areas the ‘alt-right’ might actually be right. On this issue those who are described by you as this would seem strange bedfellows with the ‘radical feminists’ with whom they agree on this issue.

          • They are, indeed, queer bedfellows and the rad fems are going to regret their alliance, as I comment to David below.

            The term alt right doesn’t describe people who are merely ultra right wing, it denotes those who are white supremacists and anti semites, commited to fighting for a supposedly Christian, Occidental hegemony.

          • “The issue is whether, for example, a person who calls themselves a ‘trans-woman’ is actually in any reasonable sense of the word, a woman.”

            That is, of course, the crux of the matter; you could not have put it more clearly. And the answer, pace Penelope, is “No, he is not.”

          • I’m sorry, William, that is, in my eyes, unacceptable. Trans women are women.
            Trans men are men.

            I don’t know why. God knows why.

            And so, I bid you goodnight.

          • You make assertions (worse: trendy assertions that look for all the world as though they are merely born of the fashionable culture) and expect that they can pass as arguments?

            An assertion is the last thing that can pass as an argument. By definition.

          • Christopher

            I have no wish to be ‘trendy’. Whatever that means.
            It’s not an assertion. I am not arguing that trans people exist.
            They do.
            And live and minister among us. D.G.

          • Andrew – yes, exactly.

            Penny – your assertion sidesteps argument, which is (deliberately or not) bound to look rather convenient. Accordingly (by the laws of discourse) it has forfeited the right to be listened to or considered.

        • The fact that GIDS has acknowledged studies have not fully investigated the potential for puberty blockers to cause psychological harm does not make the case for Mermaids to claim that they “do not change children’s minds”.

          That as fatuous as Grünenthal Group insisting for 7 years (until 1961) that “there are no studies that suggest there is long term harm in thalidomide”!

          And if you resort to dismissing the notion of transgender ideology as a baseless alt-Right trope, then I’m happy to ‘see’ that and ‘raise’ you the flimsy liberal ‘knock-down’ trope of “Christian orthodoxy = [insert any sexual minority abbreviation here]phobia”.

          Reply
          • Puberty blockers have been around for considerably longer than 7 years. There are no studies which demonstrate long term contra indications. That does not mean that there are none; simply that they are as safe as any drug can be and are prescribed routinely for precocious puberty.

            Transgender ideology is the fruit of an unholy alliance between the Christian alt right and rad fems. The latter are going to regret their collusion when they see reproductive rights being challenged into courts by their erstwhile allies.

            The Christian alt-right are a perversion of Christian orthodoxy.

          • Previous drug approval for one purpose doesn’t render it safe for other purposes.

            Again, no amount of sophistry can reconcile the fact that “research on the long term effects on brain development is limited” with ‘safety’.

            Whatever the conspiracy theories of a transgender ideology ‘smear campaign’, I have no interest in engaging with them.

          • Drugs are prescribed off label for all sorts of conditions.
            Mostly without hysteria.
            Unless they involve sex and gender.

          • The fact that off-label prescribing is permissible merely means the clinicians involved can recommend a drug for an unlicensed use, if they consider the benefits to outweigh the risk to safety.

            That benefit to risk assessment doesn’t mean that they are declaring the off-label use to be safe.

            In Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the clinicians’ information duty is not limited to the level of information that the physician finds important, but to what the patient deems important. .

            Thankfully, UK law has moved on from the Bolam test of whether a doctor’s conduct would be supported by a responsible body of clinicians.

            The weight given by the Court to the capacity for young people to give informed consent is a consequence of the Montgomery decision.

            It has nothing to do with your conspiracy theories that now include transphobic judicial activism.

          • David

            Don’t be silly. I did not assert that the judges were transphobic activists.
            I believe, for a number of reasons, that the findings of the JR are wrong.
            And I think they will be challenged.

          • For from silly, it’s a fair assumption when your conspiracy theories about hysterical transphobia are coming so thick and fast.

            And unlike your retort, that’s not an ad hominem.

            Due process always allows for an appeal to decide lodged.

            By itself, that’s no more likely to overturn the judges’ unanimous verdict than Trump is likely to overturn the recent Presidential election result.

            Eventually, one can only wax lyrical over such resolve against all odds:
            “The boy stood on the burning deck,
            When all but he had fled”

          • Far from silly, it’s a fair assumption when your conspiracy theories about hysterical transphobia are coming so thick and fast.

            And unlike your retort, that’s not an ad hominem.

            Due process always allows for an appeal to be lodged.

            By itself, that’s no more likely to overturn the judges’ unanimous verdict than Trump is likely to overturn the recent Presidential election result.

            Eventually, one can only wax lyrical over such resolve against all odds:
            “The boy stood on the burning deck,
            Whence all but he had fled…”

          • David

            Sorry. I shouldn’t have said silly.
            But I have never claimed that there was hysterical transphobia. I do claim that transphobia exists and is being supported by right wing groups some of them Christian.
            Nor do I believe that their ‘agenda’ will stop with this JR.
            Paul Conrathe is already arguing that promoting transgender issues on social media should be subject to safeguarding.
            I think this is a sad decision for trans kids and their parents. Though they can, of course, go to court to access blockers.

        • There seems to be only one commentator here that is rattled by the Court judgement and demonstrating some semblance of hysteria in engaging outlandish fallacies, woke political tropes and astonishing unsupported assertions and name calling.
          From a working class family socialism, I struggle with the contemptuous calling of my upbringing as right-wing!
          I’ve seen calls from none Christians for a public enquiry into the NHS Trust and for prosecution of Mermaids.
          As for research, in the suffocating academic climate, who is going to fund research?
          A couple of years ago at Bristol, research was prevented, falling foul of political gender correctness.
          And as for NHS “care pathways” it is difficult to get off the pathway conveyor belt once on it.
          For a while, until it was brought into the public domain/light, the “Liverpool end of Life Care Pathway” devised by medics and care professionals, was considered to be best practice.
          If I could add to Christopher’s last comment. Youngsters can be highly suggestible to varying degrees of pressures, from many sources, positive and negative and with a well recognised tendancy to rebel in sometimes tremulous ages and years of confusion and false certainties of fluctuating emotions and feelings, that have not been tested by time. When living for now, pulls blinds over the future.

          Reply
          • Yes, Geoff, I am rattled by the JR.
            I think I have explained why.
            Non Christians, as you call them, are applauding the finding.
            Mostly rad fems. They are going to be so shocked when their reproductive rights are attacked.
            I wasn’t calling anyone on here alt right, unless there are white supremacists lurking here.
            Children can be susceptible. But the reality of trans adults presupposes the reality of trans children.

          • It is quite undoubted that being disaffected and estranged is a reality. It is, however, not part of who we really are, but the result of subsequent circumstances.

        • Well, I can see three very important contra-indications to the prescription of puberty blockers to prevent or retard the normal pubertal development of physically healthy children or teenagers.

          The first is that there is no justification for the procedure, since puberty is neither a disease nor a disorder.

          The second is that it sets them apart from their peers, who are maturing and leaving them behind.

          The third has been well expressed by Professor Ray Blanchard, as follows:
          “I think that the original rationale was spurious. The rationale was to give the kid time to think before they made a decision about which gender they wanted to live as. They talked as if this was some kind of reversible, benign condition that would just postpone a decision. But it’s not that, because life goes on, and what the data look like is that giving puberty-blocking hormones locks kids into a transsexual trajectory.”
          No young person should begin adult life having been placed on that kind of trajectory.

          Reply
          • Who claimed that puberty was a disorder?

            But, I’m afraid you lost me when you cited Ray Blanchard.

        • That’s the problem, Penelope. In actual fact, trans women are not women and trans men are not men. Unacceptability in your eyes can’t alter objective reality.

          I didn’t say that anyone had claimed that puberty was disorder. I pointed out that it is precisely because it is NOT a disorder that there is no justification for blocking it at the normal age.

          Happy St Nicholas’s Day.

          Reply
        • I’m sorry, I have long had a rule of not getting involved in these wretched contentious threads but I cannot leave this one with such egregious inaccuracies unmarked.

          Penelope, you have demonstrated over a long period that you are thoughtful, intelligent and articulate. But from your contributions to this thread I have to assume you are speaking without any medical knowledge.

          ‘Puberty blockers’ is a media name. They are sex suppressant hormones and there is considerable research over time of their effects, however not among a population who begin them under the age of 18. Among adults, the documented risks are not inconsequential, however they are weighed against a cancer that requires treatment.

          A cohort of prostate cancer patients are prescribed testosterone suppressant hormones. They are counselled about the risks of detrimental impact on bone density and IQ as well as possible permanent testosterone suppression (with attendant erectile dysfunction, loss of libido) in around half of patients.

          Estrogen suppressants are also used for cancer treatment. Detriment varies depending on the drug, but include increased risk of clots, stroke, bone density loss, greater risk of some cancers among others.

          The NHS has changed its advice on the ‘reversibility’ of ‘puberty blockers’ because it is not an evidence based claim. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence but the point the High Court made is that the ethics of experimenting on children are not usually an area we glide past without doing some very hard thinking.

          On your ‘sex is a social construct’, I’d suggest Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez provides an interesting and readable insight into how biology and sociology interact. But again, from a purely medical perspective, sex is not a social construct. It materially impacts how diseases occur, manifest and should be treated. Whether someone presents as a man or a woman in A&E is their choice, but if they want effective treatment for a medical problem, they would be wise to ensure their doctor knows whether they are male or female. Health professionals will seek to be entirely supportive of individuals whose forms of address etc are of particular significance for their gender presentation, but their biology doesn’t care tuppence – nothing socially constructed about it.

          You’re right some of the rhetoric is damaging. I’m not sure you recognise all of that which is so damaging.

          Reply
          • Thank you L
            Yes, much of the discourse is problematic. I have added more heat than light at moments.
            I have acknowledged that ‘blockers’, like all drugs have side effects. Nevertheless, they have been prescribed safely for decades and are reversible. With gender dysphoric children, as with other conditions, the good has to be weighed against the possible harm. Denying children, who are already on this medication and forcing them into an unwelcome and traumatic puberty is morally and medically problematic.

            I have read Criado Perez’s book. Initially, I was impressed. But I have since discovered that some of her claims are contentious.

          • And, since everyone seems to misunderstand my ‘sex is a social construct’ point, I am clearly not explaining it at all well.
            I wrote, I think, that there are biological differences between male and female, and that some of these differences are, of course, significant. However the meanings we assign to those differences, our construal of what it means to be a man or a woman is, and always has been, a cultural construct. Men and women in 21stC Britain are assigned different meanings from men and women in Victorian Britain.

          • I wrote, I think, that there are biological differences between male and female, and that some of these differences are, of course, significant. However the meanings we assign to those differences, our construal of what it means to be a man or a woman is, and always has been, a cultural construct.

            Yes, of course those are different things. That’s why we use different words to refer to them.

            ‘Sex’ is the word we use to refer to the biological division of a species into two forms for reproductive purposes.

            ‘Gender’ is the word we use for the cultural constructs that accrue around those differences in human societies.

            So animals, for example, have sex (most of them, not all) but only humans have gender.

            Some animals can change sex (some frogs, I think, for example). But most cannot. Humans cannot.

            Humans can change their gender presentation, for example, but not their actual sex.

          • Thanks L for this contribution. This kind of constructive engagement, pointing to some well-established facts, is much more helpful than strongly emotional or rhetorical point scoring!

          • ‘Sex’ is the word we use to refer to the biological division of a species into two forms for reproductive purposes.

            ‘Gender’ is the word we use for the cultural constructs that accrue around those differences in human societies.

            I agree, S. However, in much common discourse these days, the two words seem to be used interchangably. I suspect that some do this deliberately.

          • I can’t reply to yours Penelope for some reason, so am replying to myself.

            *Nevertheless, they have been prescribed safely for decades and are reversible.*
            We don’t know this for this cohort. Please stop using this ‘reversible’ adjective- the NHS has dropped it for a reason. These drugs have been prescribed for some years but part of the judgment of the High Court highlighted that the Tavistock was not able to submit requested data to evidence the outcomes – in particular looking for contradictory evidence to mitigate the risk of confirmation bias. And not just evidence of persistent gender dysphoria, but also of the scale of side effects – intellectual capability, fracture incidence, sexual function and more. At an absolutely basic level, auditing the evidence for treatment is standard across the NHS. Let alone for a relatively novel treatment pathway.

            *With gender dysphoric children, as with other conditions, the good has to be weighed against the possible harm.*
            Of course. Weighing the evidence is precisely what was recommended in seeking court approval for younger children (U16, possibly U18) as they are not deemed able to weigh the long term and unknown factors sufficiently to constitute informed consent for themselves. The appropriate decision maker to weigh the decision is the issue before the court.

            *Denying children, who are already on this medication and forcing them into an unwelcome and traumatic puberty is morally and medically problematic.*
            The management of patients already on the treatment pathway is a slightly separate issue. Pending the appeal it is unclear that the clinic needs to pause existing patients. However, it may pause new patients. I sincerely hope the young people affected by this will be given appropriate therapeutic and counselling support in the meantime. I would hope they would have done anyway.

            Related to this, the rhetoric online around increased suicides following the judgment has been despicable. I cannot fathom how those purporting to be concerned for incredibly vulnerable young people can make the kinds of comments about suicide risk and incidence in public which they have been this week. Following the long built consensus such as the Samaritans guidelines in handling discussion of suicide would demonstrate much greater sincerity of care.

          • There are only three levels of nesting. If there were more, the text would disappear off the RH side of the screen.

            So there comes a point where all comments are replies to the last comment that was nested.

          • L

            Thank you. Sometimes, replying to comments works rather oddly.

            As I understand it, blockers which have been prescribed for precocious puberty have been shown to be reversible.

            I suspect, though, as I wrote above, I am not sure, that this decision is in danger of driving a coach and horses through Gillick competence.

            I have already seen a comment (by Jolyon Maugham, I think) which suggests that children already on blockers will continue with their treatment. It also suggested that blockers may continue to be prescribed until the Appeal.

          • As I understand it, blockers which have been prescribed for precocious puberty have been shown to be reversible.

            They’re not ‘reversible’: they are discontinued at the proper time and puberty then proceeds naturally, at the point it is supposed to happen.

            This is a totally different situation to if the patient takes them over the point at which puberty would naturally occur. In that case if the patient were to decide to discontinue them (which in practice, remember, never happen, because by that time they are on the conveyor-belt) puberty would presumably happen, but far later than it was supposed to, with unpredictable (because unstudied) results.

            ‘Reversible’ would mean that the patient could, if they decided against going ahead, go through puberty naturally, at the proper time (rather than many years delayed). As that would involve time-travel, clearly it is not possible and so this use of puberty blockers is not ‘reversible’.

          • And to Penelope… (thanks for the explanation of nesting limits, Ian, good to know I wasn’t being inept).

            You can currently play published paper ping pong with the few that are out. Penelope, there have been widespread critiques of the methodology in that paper and several others by the authors based on the same data set. William, Michael Biggs will get you a ‘boo hiss’ from some quarters.

            But academic ping pong is because we are early stages in this area. I’m relieved that the ground is now being contested, not left to the cheerleaders – at least there is potential for us to expose where thinking may be flawed, challenge assumptions and develop best available care pathways. But there is a long way to go. For too long social, medical and surgical change has raced far ahead of research and rigorous debate. Never mind the theological thinking we continue to lag on.

            And that’s the point – there is so much we just don’t know. Treating children with sex suppressant drugs may be well intentioned, but that doesn’t mean it’s best, or even least harmful. Keira Bell certainly doesn’t think so now. And I for one am glad that the courts saw her as more than collateral damage.

            And now I’ll go back to silent reading. Thanks for the blog Ian, it is much appreciated.

  13. Immense damage is caused by taking at face value what people at hormonally-affected ages/times do and say.

    At such stages they are in flux and can be conflicted and ‘not themselves’; later they will settle down to a greater degree.

    If what they say is taken at face value this can cause immense harm to innocent family-members and loved ones.

    Reply
  14. Leave to appeal has been denied. 10 grounds for appeal submitted, 10 grounds denied.
    Approval of Court of Appeal is now necessary.
    NHS England gas commissioned an independent review of the service and care pathway.

    Reply
    • A coach and horses most certainly has not been driven through Gillick: as anticipated Gillick has been substantiated, firmed -up, tightened by the Court in declining it as one of the grounds for appeal.

      Reply
  15. A coach and horses has most certainly not been driven through Gillick.
    As anticipated it has been reinforced, firmed-up, tightened by the Court denying it as one of the grounds set out for appeal by the defendants.

    Reply
    • As anticipated it has been reinforced, firmed-up, tightened by the Court denying it as one of the grounds set out for appeal by the defendants.

      The very fact of establishing that it doesn’t apply in this case strengthens that the principle exists.

      As above: exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis

      Reply
    • I hope you are right. As I said, I anticipate Conrathe’s next action. He has already brought a case to challenge Gillick competence, which, fortunately, he lost.

      Reply
      • He has already brought a case to challenge Gillick competence

        Has he? Really? A case to throw out the entire principle that children can consent to medical procedures if they are mature enough to understand the consequences?

        I find that hard to believe.

        Or has he in fact brought a case to argue that, for example — as in this case — a specific procedure was not explained in such a way that the child could have understood the consequences?

        If so then that’s not ‘a case to challenge Gillick competence’. Establishing the limits of a principle is not challenging the principle.

        Reply
          • https://www.google.com/%5B…%5D

            Right; none of those seem to challenge the basic principle in the Gillick case. Rather they all seek to challenge its application in specific circumstances.

            As above: establishing the limits of a principle is not challenging the principle.

            The Gillick principle itself, after all, is a limit to a general principle (it establishes some circumstances under which the general principle that under-16s cannot consent to medical treatment might not apply).

          • S

            They challenge it in all the circumstances Gillick competence was envisaged for.
            If minors cannot have access to abortion nor to drugs and treatments, they are not deemed to have competence.

          • They challenge it in all the circumstances Gillick competence was envisaged for.

            No they don’t.

            If minors cannot have access to abortion nor to drugs and treatments, they are not deemed to have competence.

            I think I’ve spotted the problem. You seem to think that the established principle in the Gillick case was that children were to be treated the same as adults when it comes to consenting to medical treatment; you think that the Gillick case abolished the distinction between adults and children when it comes to consenting to medical treatment.

            But you are wrong. The principle established in the case was that the general rule was that children could not consent to medical treatments, but that this rule could be set aside in some circumstances.

            These cases you’re referring to are simply trying to establish exactly what the limits of those circumstances are.

          • Except that Gillick competence is used to determine when minors can receive drugs and treatment without their parents’ consent and, sometimes, knowledge. Often on decisions connected with reproductive health. Sometimes they can refuse life saving treatment. They can also be deemed not to reveal substance abuse to their parents.
            Conrathe is seeking to undermine this, specifically in regard to reproductive rights.
            So that children cannot be deemed to be competent in particular areas.
            Women’s Place UK has just realised this. Which is somewhat ironic.

          • Except that Gillick competence is used to determine when minors can receive drugs and treatment without their parents’ consent and, sometimes, knowledge. Often on decisions connected with reproductive health. Sometimes they can refuse life saving treatment. They can also be deemed not to reveal substance abuse to their parents.

            Yes it is. Which is why it’s good that the exact limits of what can and cannot be covered are tested in law, isn’t it?

            As I wrote above, you seem to think that the result of the Gillick case was to establish that children are in law the same as adults when it comes to consenting to medical treatment. But they absolutely are not. It is still the case that children are presumed not to be able to consent to medical treatment. All the Gillick case did was establish that there can be exceptions to that general rule, and give general guidance about when those exceptions might arise.

            Further cases are then needed to establish exactly where the boundaries of the exceptions are.

            This is how the common law works, and how it has always worked.

          • D

            I agree that it needs testing in certain cases. For example the right of a child to refuse life saving treatment.
            It does not need testing (IMHO) for prescribing contraceptives, permitting abortion, nor for the prescribing of drugs to suppress puberty, which have good mental health outcomes. See the link I posted in response to L, below.

          • It does not need testing (IMHO) for prescribing contraceptives, permitting abortion, nor for the prescribing of drugs to suppress puberty, which have good mental health outcomes.

            Fortunately the law does not work according to just your opinion (however humble you may claim it to be), or mine, but is tested in public, in the courts.

          • It doesn’t need testing because there already is a Gillick test.
            Conrathe will, probably, seek to undermine that by bringing a case in which he argues that, say, abortion would have long-term deleterious effects on the mental health of a child.

          • It doesn’t need testing because there already is a Gillick test.

            There are principles; what needs tested, as always in the common law, is how those principles apply to each new concrete set of circumstances.

            Conrathe will, probably, seek to undermine that by bringing a case in which he argues that, say, abortion would have long-term deleterious effects on the mental health of a child.

            He may well; why should that not be tested in court?

            If it’s so obvious that an abortion doesn’t result in long-term deleterious effects on the mental health of a child then the case will establish that; on the other hand if an abortion does result in long-term deleterious effects on the mental health of a child, oughtn’t the law to recognise that?

          • Because there already is a test.
            Competence is judged if the child has sufficient understanding and intelligence.
            It doesn’t need every decision to be referred to a court.

          • Because there already is a test.
            Competence is judged if the child has sufficient understanding and intelligence.

            And what counts as ‘sufficient understanding’ is different for difference procedures, obviously. It doesn’t take much understanding to consent to a simple treatment with trivial side-effects, for example, like, I don’t know, pills for acne; any child would be competent to do that.

            But to consent to a complex treatment which might have lifelong consequences would require the child to be exceedingly mature beyond its years, and some treatments might have consequences that are so serious that it would be a rare child, if any, who had sufficient understanding to give true consent to them.

            It doesn’t need every decision to be referred to a court.

            It does need the limits to be tested though. As I keep pointing out, that is how we got the decision in the Gillick case: it tested the limits of the general principle that children under 16 could not consent to medical treatment under any circumstances.

            This is just how the common law advances: each case applies the principles established by precedent to a slightly new situation, and thereby establishes a new precedent that either the old principles apply to the new situation, or that there is some feature of the new situation which distinguishes it from the old situation.

            Again: why are you so worried about such a case, if you’re so sure that it is so obvious that it would be decided your way? Surely it would be better in that case from your abort-happy point of view for a precedent to be set that a child under 16 could definitely consent to an abortion?

          • This subject matter is exceptionally unpleasant, which reflects badly on anyone who speaks of it lightly or airily.

          • S

            Abort happy. What a vile phrase. Of course you are simply making assumptions and cloaking them in unpleasant rhetoric.

            And Christopher, no one, as far as I can see, is writing lightly or airily about abortion.

  16. Here is the Court Order refusing the appeal:
    https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21ALFXLLZwM6geKgo&cid=D54BC006B96DEE00&id=D54BC006B96DEE00%2113142&parId=D54BC006B96DEE00%215967&o=OneUp

    Ground 4 The Divisional Court has not improperly restricted the decision in Gillick. It has sought to apply the requirements of Gillick to the treatment at issue the present case.

    Ground 4 is to be placed into the context of the whole Court Order with the necessity of looking at the original Court Judgement references.

    Reply
  17. Interesting to note that the CofE considers this another area where two views are legitimate:
    From the GS

    The Church of England
    9. In 2003 the House of Bishops agreed that two opposing theological views of transsexual people’s experience, and gender transition, can ‘properly be held’, one affirming, the other negative. The House of Bishops Summary of Decisions HB(03)M11 contains the full statements which are summarised below:

     There are two opposing views, namely (1) regarding gender reassignment as “a fiction,” and (2) regarding medical intervention as legitimate, leading to a change of sex or gender.
     The Church engaged in discussions to safeguard bishops who were unwilling to ordain transgender candidates, and clergy unwilling to solemnise marriages of transsexuals (sic).

    10.Having recognised a divergence of views within the House the Bishops in the House of Lords did not oppose the Bill that became the Gender Recognition Act 2004. None of the bishops voted against the Bill, while some spoke in favour. The outcome was that a man or woman who has been issued with a gender recognition certificate may marry someone of the opposite sex in a Church of England church, subject to the right of clergy to refuse to solemnise the marriage of any person whom they reasonably believed to be of an acquired gender.
    11.In 2002, the House of Bishops discussed transgender candidates for ordination, with at least two trans candidates having come forward. The Church of England’s position on transgender ordinands is summarised as follows:
     Bishops intending to sponsor a trans person for a BAP must be prepared to ordain and offer a Title to that person. Bishops’ Advisers could request an exemption from considering trans candidates, and would be moved to another Panel.

    And then when it came to publishing material for welcoming trans people it was left to a conservative evangelical bishop:

    The Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, Chair of the House of Bishops Delegation Committee, which oversaw work to produce the guidance said: ‘We are absolutely clear that everyone is made in the image of God and that all should find a welcome in their parish Church. This new guidance provides an opportunity, rooted in scripture, to enable trans people who have “come to Christ as the way, the truth and the life”, to mark their transition in the presence of their Church family which is the body of Christ. We commend it for wider use’.

    Reply
    • Henderson bizarrely repudiated and criticised the very measure he helped to introduce almost at once. Rightly, in my view, because that guidance is rooted in anything but Scripture. Either he is double-minded and unstable (James 1.8) or he is a kind of episcopal Schroedinger’s Cat, able to be two mutually contradictory things at the same time.

      Reply
      • “Any statement from as long ago as 2003 is less than useless.”

        How bizarre! What would your view say about Issues in Human Sexuality – published as long ago as 1991?
        And Lambeth 1.10 in 1998?
        Or the 39 Articles?

        And Julian Henderson’s statement that I quoted was from exactly 2 years ago – Dec 2018.

        Reply
        • It is the transgender issue that has developed like a steam train heading towards us, and I don’t think the bishops have kept up.

          The 2018 statement has its own history, as you know, and it was not approved by the usual process, and its conclusions will form no part of any future printed liturgy. As you know.

          Reply
          • None of that is really relevant. Either Julian Henderson said it or he didn’t. History records that he did.

            What I know is that you have been rather too defensive of other statements from much longer ago than 2003. I’m glad that you now acknowledge that things move on.

          • Andrew,
            Things moving on? discuss. Movement. is not per se progress, it may be moving off or away, for better or worse.
            What is stark is the comparison between the clear thinking demonstrated in the Court’s Judgements, compared with CoE theologians and Bishops.
            The Courts have canons of construction and interpretation, and legal precedents and in this particular case have applied the past to interpret and understand the present legal application looking for missing evidence rather than activitists, generalisations and poor peer reviewed studies.
            The whole Court processes have highlighted a live and serious and substantial question for the CoE and that is the place of GID. biology and gender in education in schools. And the place of prominent influence of Mermaids and Stonewall: influence which brought about the contention in a school in Colchester?, was it, which drew in the current ABoY, I think.
            Will there now be any policy change?
            What is clear, I submit, is that general rules, principles of male and female biology are not eradicated by gender; they are different categories. If a man wants to live as a woman, vice versa, that does not replace or extinguish genetics, biology.
            And exceptions to a principle do not remove or trash the principle.
            Now I don’t know whether my O and A Level biology teacher was a feminist, but her play on words revealed a biological fact or principle: there’s a “Vas Deferens” between male and female humans. And yes there are rare exceptions.
            Things have not moved on, in that regard. The principle remains intact. Likewise theology, created male and female. The principle remains intact.

          • Geoff: you are arguing with the wrong person. It was not me but Ian who said “Any statement from as long ago as 2003 is less than useless.”
            So please direct your comments about things moving on to him.

          • Andrew,
            Ian’s comment was about the activism that has moved on space.
            My comment about GID,biology and gender education in CoE and involvement of Stonewall and Mermais.remains live and large: that is what has moved on rapidly -highlighted by the Court case.
            Let alone the proposals for a new liturgy for gender change.
            What effect will the cases have on LLF?

  18. Or, better, just give children the chance to have a happy early-childhood in the first place: i.e. by being allowed to have a lot of time with Mum and Dad and family, within a Christian culture.

    Reply
      • Being at peace with your roots is a highly fundamental thing. The less people are at peace with their roots, the more they ‘play up’. Action and reaction are equal and opposite.

        My point was only that, short of happy beginnings with Mum, Dad, and family, it is hard to have a good start in life; and the start is what is determinative of so much that follows.

        Reply
  19. I hope Ian won’t mind me mentioning this, but there’s a very good piece published today over on ThinkTheology by Andrew Bunt summarising recent developments in the wider public debate on transgender, including reference to this judicial review.

    In short, he argues that there appears to be a subtle but detectable shift away from pressure groups and contestable research controlling the narrative towards an awareness that media coverage has unhelpfully skewed public opinion and that some safeguarding concerns have been neglected. He then gives some theological pointers and suggests how we might pray.

    Reply
          • Unless I am being particularly ignorant today, I am not sure this particular website supports that level of comment moderation. You would either have to stick moderation on all, or none, of the comments.

            Even if Psephizo did allow this, it would still be far easier to just delete offending comments anyway. On an ‘open’ forum like this you can get around a personal block by using a different email, or using another device. 🙂

            Thanks for the links though.

          • Unless I am being particularly ignorant today, I am not sure this particular website supports that level of comment moderation. You would either have to stick moderation on all, or none, of the comments.

            Unless I am very much mistaken, there is a threshold of links above which a message is marked for manual approval, in order to deter the use of automatic programmes which simply search the web for comment pages and, when one is found, post spurious entries full of links in order to optimise the search engine rankings of the pages linked to.

  20. Ooh look! Another LGBT story from ‘Rev’ Paul. This time its our trans brethren who have to bear the brunt of the usual comments. Trans folk are even less represented in the population than gay people – about 0.5% – yet here are hundreds of the usual comments.

    Cancer affects about 40% of the population. Surely an article discussing cancer treatments would be more appropriate than trying to demonise and bully 0.5%?

    Why can’t you just leave us alone?

    Reply
    • Did you notice that the article is a guest post written by someone with significant expertise in this area?

      The starting point is the treatment of young people and the recent law case concerning puberty blockers. The most interesting comment in the large number above concerns the nature of these
      ‘puberty blockers’. These are chemicals used in the treatment of cancer. They are not without side effects, which are tolerated in cancer treatment because the alternative would be death.

      Reply
    • It’s not an LGBT story, and there is no such thing as LGBT anyway – that illogical and misleading initialism doesn’t denote any genuine category of person. It’s an article about the treatment of young people who have the delusion that their biological sex, i.e. their real sex, is the “wrong” one, and who want to “transition” to the other one, although that is not possible.

      Reply
      • “there is no such thing as LGBT anyway”

        I first heard that gem from Alan Storkey at Spring Harvest 25 years ago! I was sitting next to Martin from True Freedom Trust, and whispered ‘pinch me Martin, pinch me’ to see if I really exist!

        It’s a shame some people haven’t moved on from that position. Even the Living Out people now accept that LGBT folk exist.

        Reply
        • Bracketing people who think that their biological sex is a mistake which needs rectifying with people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, as though they formed together a logical category, is manifest nonsense, as also is the recent addition of intersex people to that imaginary “community”.

          So even the Living Out people have “moved on” and chosen to use the ridiculous LGBT initialism, have they? Why that should be deemed to give it any validity I cannot imagine. It is high time that it was ditched, along with all of its tiresome extensions.

          Reply
          • Bracketing people who think that their biological sex is a mistake which needs rectifying with people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, as though they formed together a logical category, is manifest nonsense, as also is the recent addition of intersex people to that imaginary “community”.

            The real category (and it is real and it does exist) referred to by ‘LGBT’ and so on is ‘those who want revolutionary change to the existing social order’.

            This includes some (but not all) Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts.

          • This includes some (but not all) Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts.

            It also includes some (but not all) who are neither L nor G nor B nor T, but who are S (straight).

          • P.S. “Revolutionary change to the existing social order” is an expression which could mean quite a number of different things.

          • “Revolutionary change to the existing social order” is an expression which could mean quite a number of different things.

            It is, yes. And I’m not saying they all necessarily agree on exactly which radical changes they would want to see. But what unites them (and others such as those into ‘polyamory’) is a desire to tear down the existing structures of society, which they see as patriarchal, ‘heteronormative’, ‘ciscentric’, etc etc.

            It all comes, really, from the post-War existentialists and their quest to fill the void left by the abandonment of traditional values with a cult of the self, and specifically the self as auto-defined identity free of all ties, constraints and duties except those that are freely chosen.

          • However that may be, lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not a monolithic group or community any more than heterosexual people are, and they certainly don’t form one in combination with transgender people any more than they form one in combination with people who believe that they are reincarnated ancient British druids or mediaeval Cathars.

            I don’t know who first cooked up the absurd LGBT initialism or what their motive was in doing so, but over the last couple of decades it has been insidiously imposed on the public simply by means of continual repetition, and has been used to con people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual into accepting that they are part of an imaginary “LGBT community”, to which they are being traitors if they do not support the crackpot ideology and inadmissible demands of transgender extremists. There are gratifying signs that that trick is now starting to wear thin – and not before time.

  21. Jews in the UK are also about half a percent of the population. I’m wondering if ‘Rev’ Paul could write or commission an article on why it’s wrong to be Jewish in a majority Christian nation?

    Claiming to be Jewish isn’t actually harming anyone, much the same as identifying as trans. But is it right to be Jewish when the majority of people aren’t?

    Reply
    • (Nonetheless, Geoff!) It is an interesting point about someone “claiming to be Jewish”.

      What does being Jewish mean? The basic meaning is someone descended physically from Jacob, “born of Israel”. Originally it depended on the paternal line, but later the maternal line – being easier to determine (something not irrelevant to the trans debate!) Nowadays, it can be more complex. However, being Jewish confers some rights. In particular, you have the right to reside in the State of Israel. Therefore, if you wish to take up this right, you have to provide evidence of being Jewish, and the state will apply reasonably objective tests to determine this. It is not enough simply to claim to be Jewish. Indeed, to claim to be so when you are not would probably be offensive to true Jews.

      Similarly, the few people who claim to be black, when they are clearly not, rightly attract opprobium. These are categories which are rooted in the provenance of our physical nature.

      The categories of man and woman, male and female, are similarly deeply rooted in our physical, bodily nature. The distinction between male and female is deeper than any other distinction. There is much greater genetic difference between, say, a white man and a white woman, than between a white man and black man. After all, the difference in the chromosomes is visible in an optical microscope!

      To be trans is to make a claim to be the sex opposite to that encoded in every cell in the body. Not only that, it is a claim to be able to access privileges accorded to that sex. For example, trans-women claim the right to participate in women’s sports. This is clearly problematic (i.e. harmful) because the very reason for women’s sports is the physical differences between men and women. (That this is the reason for the separation is clear when you see among the Olympic sports that equestrian sports have men and women competing on equal terms, because the physical side of this lies in the horse!)

      Reply
      • Well delved David, by considering the text itself! Apologies for butting into your dialogue, with OA.

        To add some support to your comment, but expressed differently, here are some of my comments to Andrew G, above.
        It is a comment to be addressed to OA as well. The point made by AO was not made in the Court proceedings, which stimulated the original blog article, so perhaps AO should address his points to the Court, not Ian Paul.

        What is stark is the comparison between the clear thinking demonstrated in the Court’s Judgements, compared with CoE theologians and Bishops.
        The Courts have canons of construction and interpretation, and legal precedents and in this particular case have applied the past to interpret and understand the present legal application looking for missing evidence rather than activists, generalizations and poor peer reviewed studies.
        The whole Court processes have highlighted a live and serious and substantial question for the CoE and that is the place of GID. Biology and gender in education in schools. And the place of prominent influence of Mermaids and Stonewall: influence which brought about the contention in a school in Colchester, was it?, which drew in the current ABoY, I think.
        Will there now be any policy change?
        What is clear, I submit, is that general rules, principles of male and female biology are not eradicated by gender; they are different categories. If a man wants to live as a woman, vice versa, that does not replace or extinguish genetics, biology.
        And exceptions to a principle do not remove or trash the principle.
        Now I don’t know whether my O and A Level biology teacher was a feminist, but her play on words revealed a biological fact or principle: there’s a “Vas Deferens” between male and female humans. And yes there are rare exceptions.
        Things have not moved on, in that regard. The principle remains intact. Likewise, theology, created male and female. The principle remains intact.

        Reply
    • Yes, very interesting, and rightly highlights the connection between the idea that we are ‘plastic’ and can change our identity with the disembodied presentation of the self on the internet.

      Reply
    • Beautiful testimony. How twisted and perverse has our society has become? And what a great salvation and an awesome Saviour we have.

      Reply
    • Is this to be outlawed in the UK? No. What he has done, according to his own testimony, is to stop “identifying” as a gay man (although it is apparent that his sexual orientation has not actually changed) and to adopt a celibate “lifestyle”. Both of those are things that he is fully entitled to do, and no legislation has been proposed in the UK which would outlaw either of them.

      What Ellen Page has decided to do is somewhat analogous. She has decided to stop “identifying” as a woman and to call herself a man instead, although her sex has not in fact changed (and can’t).

      Reply
      • Hello William,
        While I take on board your point, I’d suggest that he has been converted to Christ, with a transformed redirected life. You seem to be subscribing to the idea of being oriented sexually and while I wouldn’t seek to put words into his mouth, he acknowledges that he struggles against temptation to sin as do we all, perhaps in different directions.
        There has been a conversion, here that Ozanne and Chalke seek to outlaw without actually defining what conversion is or isn’t.
        Could it be suggested that you have a look at the Christian Institute site, which has an outline of Ozanne and Chalke’s pressure group activities to change the law.

        Reply
        • Thank you. I’m aware of the activities of both Ozanne and Chalke, and particularly those of the former. Not to put too fine a point on it, I think that Ozanne has long been getting somewhat above herself, and I don’t think that by her strident, domineering attitude and demeanour she is conferring any benefit either on herself or on anyone else – including gay or lesbian Christians.

          Becket Cook is free, just like the rest of us, to live his life in the way that he believes is right, whether others agree with his decisions or not. There is no proposed legislation that will make it illegal for anyone to stop “identifying as”, i.e. calling themselves, gay (or straight, for that matter), or to adopt a celibate “lifestyle”, no matter what their reason for doing so.

          Reply
  22. Another article which points out that the Tavistock basically lost the case because its failure to keep adequate records meant that it was unable to present any convincing evidence for its case:

    https://capx.co/the-keira-bell-case-was-not-a-defeat-for-trans-people-but-a-victory-for-restraint/

    Selected excerts (but do read the whole thing):

    ‘Now, it may be that there is a genuine unmet medical need among adolescent girls of which clinicians had previously been unaware. It may also be that gender dysphoria and autism are co-morbidities that require an integrated approach to treatment. The problem, however, is no-one has done any research, so whether or not either is the case is simply unknown. It is entirely plausible for Tavistock to return in future litigation with a much stronger argument. For that to happen, however, research simply has to be done. You and I may be able to fly by the seat of our pants, but courts cannot and doctors should not.’

    ‘Relatedly, the administration of puberty blockers progressed with a grim inevitability to the use of cross-sex-hormones; they did not provide “space to think” but rather seemed designed to ensure that future surgical interventions were more effective.’

    ‘A number of commentators noted that charities Mermaids and Stonewall were refused permission to intervene, and said this looked unfair. They made these observations without realising interveners are there to assist the court, and must provide evidence that is different from that already tendered. If all they do is repeat what Tavistock has already said, they serve no purpose apart from wasting court time, and court time is expensive.

    […]

    Bell’s lived experience was a tiny part of her case — and, indeed, by choosing judicial review rather than medical negligence, she made her personal circumstances (and those of other people) even less salient.

    […]

    It has become fashionable, of late, to valorise ‘lived experience’ from people keen to parade both their victimhood and their virtue. Unfortunately, lived experience by itself is not evidence in a court of law. Nor is the argument made by Mermaids that “every young person has the right to make their own decisions about their body” – something more is needed.’

    Reply
  23. Meanwhile in Canada.. (The Economist)

    “In 2018 andrea davidson’s 12-year-old daughter, Meghan, announced she was “definitely a boy”. Ms Davidson says her child was never a tomboy but the family doctor congratulated her and asked what pronouns she had chosen, before writing a referral to the British Columbia Children’s Hospital (bcch). “We thought we were going to see a psychologist, but it was a nurse and a social worker,” says Ms Davidson (both her and her daughter’s names have been changed). “Within ten minutes they had offered our child Lupron”—a puberty-blocking drug. “They brought up the drug directly with our child, in front of us, without discussing it with us privately first.” There was no mention of other mental-health issues, which are known to increase the likelihood of gender dysphoria, the feeling that you are in the wrong body. “There was no therapy on offer and we were just brushed aside when we raised it.”

    And from the Hospital’s own Web page today :
    “Are they too young? We now understand that children as young as 2 or 3 years old can know and express what their true gender is. So there is no particular age that children need to reach before they are ready to live in their authentic gender.”

    “Once they transition, what if they want to transition back? When parents provide safe spaces for gender exploration it allows children to understand, accept and express their authentic gender self. Social transition can be part of their exploration. When parents hold a safe space for exploration, they can communicate to their child that they will be loved and supported in whatever their gender is and however they express it. When children are supported, they can feel safe to move among different gender expressions until they find what is right for them. This might be a binary, a non-binary, or a gender fluid identity.”

    Surely… Whatever one thinks, this is a non answer?

    Reply
    • and all without any actual explanation of what ‘true gender’ is, where it is located, how we might identify it, or separate it from feelings formed from social stereotypes and peer pressure.

      Reply

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