Health & Fitness NHS trust says some trans youths desperately need puberty-blockers to ‘reduce distress’ in fresh appeal
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Trans youths are into “reduce distress,” a lawyer representing the NHS Trust providing the treatment told the Court of Appeal.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which runs NHS England’s gender development service for, wants to reverse a ruling .
QC Fenella Morris told the court thatstruggling with gender dysphoria by putting a pause on puberty to help them to make decisions about their bodies in the future.
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Finlay Games is a trans man who, as part of his transition, had a series of operations to construct a penis, which is known as phalloplasty. “I am a functioning man precisely because of this surgery,” Finlay says. “I’ve got my own business. I’ve graduated, I’ve written a book, and all of these things are because of transition.” “Nobody in their right mind would choose this, we have to – because the opposite is pain and not wanting to be here. “I didn’t want to live before, I had no hope. And that’s what this surgery does.” Finlay had phalloplasty – also known as bottom or lower surgery – several years ago now on the NHS.
She continued: “Having reduced that distress, it creates the possibility to take time to consider options… it allows the child to make the choice.
“If puberty progresses without pause, then the distress which is caused by the progress of puberty inhibits the thinking which allows the child to make an informed choice.
She added: “Not providing treatment means that the child remains in a position of distress and difficulties in making choices about what to do next.”
The comments were made on the first day of a legal challenge to overturn treatment restrictions for under-16s questioning their gender identity imposed in a.
The High Court, 23, a woman who began taking puberty blockers when she was 16 before “detransitioning,” and Mrs A, the mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl who is currently on the waiting list for treatment through the NHS Gender Identity Development Service.
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Judges ruled under-16s are “unlikely” to be able to give informed consent to take puberty blockers as part of their treatment, and anyone aged 16 to 18 and still undergoing puberty may also need a court’s consent to obtain the medication.
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is challenging the ruling in eight different areas, arguing the treatment is delivered “in line with best practice,” is “fully reversible” and “not experimental.”
Nine charities and campaign groups including Liberty, Brook and the Good Law Project are intervening in the appeal to provide evidence in support of the trust over a two-day hearing.
They will argue that transgender teenagers should be able to consent to treatment the same way teenagers with other medical conditions can.
In March, the High Court ruled transgender children can get puberty-blocking drugs without the need to go to courtin a case brought on behalf of a 15-year-old trans teen, referred to as XY.
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Ms Morris said: “The courts have recognised since the 1950s that a child who is capable of appreciating fully the nature and consequences of a particular operation or of particular treatment can give an effective consent.
“It intruded into the realm of decisions agreed upon by doctors, patients and their parents where the court had not previously gone.”
One gender clinician who supports trans youths in Leeds said the treatment is also used to help patients with endometriosis and precocious puberty, calling it “a quality of life enhancing agent.”
“GnrH analogues [the medical term for puberty blockers] can be used in many settings. If their use were only restricted to licensed clinicians, then both vulnerable individuals within and out of gender services would be deprived of a quality of life enhancing agent.”
The hearing is tabled to last two days.
Additional reporting by Press Association
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