In what could uncover one of the biggest medical scandals of the century, last week NHS ordered Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS”) to be closed.
GIDS, at the Tavistock and Portman Trust in London, was the main English clinic for the treatment of children experiencing gender identity issues. Its closure comes after the latest report from Hilary Cass, a senior paediatrician who has been reviewing NHS gender services for children. To say her findings have been damning is an understatement.
For years, the seeds of the Tavistock’s downfall have been hiding in plain sight, as a picture has slowly emerged of its clinicians doling out harmful drugs to gender-confused youth as if they were sweets.
If all that had ever happened at GIDS was that people sat around talking to one other, recognising ambiguity within the life of the psyche, that would be therapeutical. But the general relativist stance of senior clinicians was made incredibly dangerous for patients – it is at this point that it becomes clear that these people think it a reasonable goal to alter a child’s healthy bodily tissue to accommodate a mind which is, by their own admission, constantly developing.
Irresponsibly and callously, the Guardian promotes the continuation of Tavistock’s work making no mention of the thousands of damaged children. “Some initial concerns have been raised about a possible gap in service provision,” the Guardian wrote, “but patients have been assured there will be a smooth transition to the early adopter hubs in London and Manchester, with the expectation they will become fully operational in spring 2023. A further three hubs are planned.”
As UnHerd acknowledged: “Unfortunately, there are Mermaids still out there. With a bit of luck and a following wind, the closure of GIDS will eventually spell the end of them too.” Perhaps the Guardian is one of those Mermaids?
Mermaids is an activist group whose sole focus is on “transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children and young people until their 20th birthday.” In other words, their activism targets children whose minds are still developing.
Below is an image from an article published on Mermaids’ website in response to the closure of GIDS, aggressively promoting the continuation, and growth, of unsafe medical practices for children. Perhaps this is the source used for the Guardian article.
How Tavistock Came Tumbling Down
Sue Evans was a nurse working on a team that recklessly prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to kids. She blew the whistle in 2005. “Last week, the National Health Service ordered that the gender youth clinic at Tavistock shut its doors by next spring. And I am part of the reason why,” she said.
How Tavistock’s dubious activities were finally brought to an end is the story of how a small group of whistle-blowers—doctors, nurses, parents and patients, together with the help of journalists and reporters—were able to relentlessly expose activist-driven medicine that they knew was irresponsible.
Evans joined the Tavistock Clinic in 2003. Shortly after she joined, Evans took on an additional part-time role working with children and adolescents in GIDS. Evans said that back then there were fewer than 100 referrals per year in the entire country, mostly biological boys.
During her first weeks with GIDS, the group discussed a newly referred patient, a 16-year-old boy with a complex history, who felt he had been born in the wrong body. Four months later, when discussing the same referral, a colleague who had taken the case announced she was recommending him for puberty blockers. “I was surprised to hear that my co-worker was recommending drugs when, in my view, no meaningful understanding of his internal world could have been reached,” Evans said.
At this time Tavistock specialised in therapy—talking through problems with patients—and did not generally prescribe drugs. “For that reason, I had expected the same approach when it came to treating children and teens with gender dysphoria,” Evans explained.
“I had also noticed that senior clinicians in the service would regularly meet with Mermaids, a transgender patient-advocacy group. At first, I viewed all of this as an overdue development. But as time progressed, it seemed clear that groups like Mermaids were exerting influence over doctors and clinicians in the service—sometimes dictating the expectations of care for our patients.
“The external influence of the advocacy groups increased. Instead of being a clinical, research-focused service where we were learning and developing ideas, it felt like it was a fait accompli that we had to go along with what Mermaids and patients wanted—even if we, the mental-health-care professionals, had legitimate questions about the appropriateness of the treatments that patients and patient advocates were demanding.
“What I saw in those years worried me deeply.”
This was all before the internet took hold of an entire generation of teenagers. There were no online groups dedicated to gender affirmation and coaching kids on what to say to their providers to secure cross-sex hormones.
Only two staff voiced their concerns about the direction the service was taking. Evans being one and Dr. Az Hakeem the other. Evans took her concerns to the clinical director at Tavistock. The clinical director asked Dr. David Taylor, the Medical Director of the Trust, to launch an investigation into the work of the gender clinic. His report was issued in 2006.
“I do not remember being shown the report then, and don’t recall any in-depth discussion about the contents of it or how the recommendations would be implemented. The only change that I remember was that a senior staff member from the more general Adolescent Department began overseeing our work. That oversight petered out when this staff member retired.”
In 2019, Evans got to see the report but only after BBC journalist Hannah Barnes obtained it via a Freedom of Information (“FOI”) request. At the end of last month, Hannah Barnes posted an informative Twitter thread which includes the tweet below:
Having now seen the report obtained in response to a FOI request, Evans said:
“It confirmed all the disturbing things I had reported: Our data was poor; it wasn’t being stored properly; and there were not sufficient follow-ups with patients once they left the service—meaning we didn’t know how our patients were faring unless they voluntarily wrote to us.
“As we have now learned from more recent whistle-blowers, the recommendations in the report were buried, and when any criticism or difficult questions arose in the press, the Tavistock management would repeat the same mantra about how they were ‘a world-class service’.
“I had tried hard to help the Gender Identity Development Service from the inside, but it felt like I was swimming against a stronger and stronger tide. I didn’t want to be part of something that felt wrong, and I knew that each time I spoke up I was being cast in a darker shadow of suspicion by my colleagues.
“So, in 2007, I quit.”
Featured image: LGBTP Activists are Pushing Parents to Bring Children to pride Parades, 20 June 2019