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Our Statement in response to the Judgement of the High Court

Bayswater Support Group, which represents families in the UK and Ireland, welcomes today's ruling that protects young patients (and clinicians) by requiring a judge’s oversight of the “experimental” puberty blocker intervention.

The support group was set up in autumn 2019 by the parents of children with adolescent-onset gender dysphoria and has had more than 250 parents contact them. It advocates for an evidence-based approach to treating adolescents and young adults, and exploring all options before resorting to irreversible medical treatments and surgery.

Bayswater: “Having looked for the best support for our children we have found only the affirmative approach to their new identity, backed up by affirmative environments in schools and elsewhere. We’ve found little scope to explore the new identity as a young person’s solution to trauma or distress, as a response to the challenges of adolescence, or to understand its role within underlying mental health or developmental contexts.”

Mother F: “Nothing can describe the fear you feel as a parent when you realise that medical transition is the only solution presented to your child for distress around their gender identity. Given that institutions from schools to government, charities to the NHS, have supported this route, we have felt powerless to intervene.”

Mother R: “Ultimately, I just want to protect my daughter, to get her to a point where she has the experiences and maturity to make this huge decision if she does make it. How can she possibly understand the complexities that this will bring later in life? To relationships, her health and her body, to so many different aspects of being in the world.”

Notes to Editors

Parents are concerned about the extraordinary rise in the number of children presenting at GIDS, the Gender Identity Development Service, at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. GIDS has shown a 4200% increase in the numbers of girls presenting at clinics with gender dysphoria in recent years. Parents are also disturbed by the research that shows over 80% of children grow out of dysphoria if they do not have medical intervention. However studies following the recent use of puberty blockers show that 0-5% of children who take puberty blockers desisted.

Professor Heneghan from the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine stated in the British Medical Journal (25/02/2019): “An Archive of Diseases in Childhood letter referred to GnRHa treatment [aka puberty blockers] as a momentous step in the dark. It set out 3 main concerns 1) young people are left in the state of ‘developmental limbo’ without secondary sexual characteristics that might consolidate gender identity; 2) use is likely to threaten the maturation of the adolescent mind, and 3) puberty blockers are being used in the context of profound scientific ignorance.”

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