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Young Trans People Must Have Autonomy Over Their Own Care

December 2, 2020 10:59 PM

Tuesday's judgement shows once again the damaging impact of the alarmist rhetoric around trans young people which we have seen in the media in recent years. It could have a significant negative impact on trans young people that require hormone blockers, and undermines young people's bodily autonomy.

Within hours of the judgement, parents of trans children were being told that appointments for which their children had been waiting for years would be cancelled unless they could obtain a court order - a requirement which in many cases there will simply not be the money to fulfil. The psychological impacts of this judgment will be severe for many young trans people, and are simply unjustifiable.

Transphobes have been relentlessly, and wrongly, arguing that hormone replacement therapy and surgery are an inevitable consequence of taking puberty blockers, and that therefore the standards of certainty that might be required for someone to undergo major surgery should be required before a child can access even a safe and reversible treatment like puberty blockers. This is simply not supported by facts.

This judgment does not reflect years of positive outcomes gained via hormone blocker treatments within the NHS. Hormone blockers have allowed many trans young people to escape undergoing the wrong puberty. As a result of this decision, we now face the prospect of a young person, their parents, and their doctor all supporting treatment - but a judge with no medical qualifications or expertise overruling them. No other young people face these barriers to healthcare.

LGBT+ Liberal Democrats will continue to support the rights of children experiencing gender dysphoria to access safe and effective treatment, to help them to avoid the pain of undergoing an unwanted and irreversible puberty and to keep their options open until they are older. The Liberal Democrats have long supported the rights of competent young people to make decisions about their healthcare, and trans children should not be treated any differently.