Society must share the blame for GIDS scandal

We cannot put all the blame for the unfolding scandal at the Tavistock’s Gender Identity Clinic (GIDS)on to its leadership. It must be shared by every individual or institution that has promoted or even endorsed the ideology of gender identity and the trans child. That includes those who have kept quiet.

Next week a much awaited  book, “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children  is published. It lays bare the story of GIDS the only children’s gender identity clinic in England and Wales that was ordered to be closed down by Dr Hilary Cass in her interim report last year.  

 In last weekend’s Sunday Times Hadley Freeman has written up her interview with Hannah Barnes, its author. Freeman describes the book as,

 “a deeply reported, scrupulously non-judgmental account of the collapse of the NHS service, based on hundreds of hours of interviews with former clinicians and patients. It is also a jaw-dropping insight into failure: failure of leadership, of child safeguarding and of the NHS.”

News that all was not well at GIDS first emerged in the media in 2018 when an internal report listing concerns about the treatment of children was leaked to the press. However there was very little debate or commentary in the media,(apart from Janice Turner and Andrew Gilligan in the Times and James Kirkup in the Spectator). It certainly wasn’t the subject of radio talk shows.

Instead the public were treated to TV dramas, ‘I am Leo’ and ‘Butterfly’ (2018). Both programmes showed that affirming a child’s belief that they were the opposite sex was not only kind but crucial to their well- being. Mermaids, the charity devoted to the trans child  was enjoying positive attention from the media and many corporates like Starbucks were happy to provide sponsorship for it. Indeed Starbucks won the Channel Four diversity award for its TV commercial What’s My Name

Stonewall was at peak popularity having added the T on to LGB in 2015 and was going into schools promoting the concept of gender identity via its anti-bullying training. Schools also joined their Champions Scheme and received their trans tool kit, which included the advice to affirm a child’s desire to use their choice of pronouns and names but if requested by the child to keep this from the parents

Meanwhile organisations, both public and private mistakenly thinking that this was the next big diversity issue after gay rights, were vying to be in the top 100 employers in Stonewall Workplace Index.

The tide was going one way and most felt compelled to swim with it.  One leaked internal report accusing GIDS of poor clinical care  and criticising its use of puberty blocker on kids under 16 could be put down to a disgruntled employee, despite the fact that  that employee was Dr David Bell a senior clinician and staff governor at the Tavistock. But this was a controversial subject and most journalists and editors stood well back.   

Further bits of news trickled out over the next year or two as Dr Bell and other concerned staff, many of whom had faced bullying when they voiced their concerns, left the clinic .

In 2019 Professor Michael Biggs analysed the unpublished research findings  into the effects of puberty blockers undertaken by the Tavistock some years earlier  and this was both published by TransgenderTrend, the group set up in 2015 by Stephanie Davies- Arie  to counter the trans child narrative and reported in the Telegraph. The data showed that mental health problems continued after taking puberty blockers, 74% of patients were female, the study did not look beyond the age of 16 and all the children went on to take full cross sex hormones. So not a wait and see phase, as Director Polly Carmichael kept stating, at all. Certainly there was enough to sound alarm bells in most adults ears.

Then in Autumn  2020 there was enough concern, particularly around the increase of teenage girls presenting as dysphoric , for NHS England to commission an independent  review of GIDS, led by Dr Hilary Cass. Yet even its damning interim report published a year ago leading to the imminent closure of the clinic didn’t have that big a reaction and lobby groups pushed on with their insistence that child transition should be affirmed and  encouraged and worried parents ignored. The emergence of some de transitioners (not discussed by activists) and the case of Kiera Bell particularly did draw some attention that the affirmative model of treatment might result in life changing medical conditions which could not be reversed, e.g infertility, and regretted.

But it was the recent constitutional crisis caused by Scotland’s decision to pass the GRR, followed by the case of the Scottish rapist, that opened up the issue to the kind of public scrutiny only dreamed of five years ago. It has given permission to all kinds of journalists, who previously ignored the topic to cover it.  That so many of them  seem to be so ill informed is still quite a shock to me. As if people like the Labour MP Rosie Duffield and JK Rowling have been making a fuss about nothing and it didn’t need any more inquiry. Hadley Freeman herself left the Guardian because she had been banned from writing about any trans story and has shown herself to be one of the best writers on the topic now she is at the Sunday Times.

Even the most hard nosed activists are unlikely to publicly insist that rapists are women – even if they fail to articulate a denial. They know that the public will not accept them being in women’s prisons. This was not meant to have come to the public’s attention. Neither are they saying much about the scandal of child transition. It isn’t too far a stretch now for people to realise that it is the concept of gender identity and it being deemed to take priority over biological sex that has resulted in both these two unfortunate outcomes. Looked at closely the ideology that being male and female is down to an innate inner feeling falls apart.  It has been one of the characteristics of this movement… the ideology doesn’t make sense and doesn’t bear too much scrutiny, hence there has been a refusal to debate, a great deal of shaming of anyone who dared to question it, and change went on behind closed doors. A light has also been shed on the power and influence of the trans lobby although there is more to go on this.

At the end of her article Hadley Freeman asks “How did an NHS service medicalise so many autistic and same-sex-attracted young people, unhappy teenage girls and children who simply felt uncomfortable with masculine or feminine templates, with so little knowledge of the causes of their distress or the effects of the medicine?”  

This is a scandal on a national scale and whilst it is very evident that GIDS put political ideology above good clinical practice, blame lies beyond the NHS. The ideology of the trans child (and I acknowledge that there have always been a small number of those but not on the scale we are now seeing)  has been endorsed and promoted by universities, schools, the Church of England, large corporates and well known brands, councils and government departments. Perhaps people are now beginning to see the link between the rainbow flag celebrations of gender identity ideology and the real life material consequences that follow it – the unnecessary medical transition of vulnerable young people to the opposite sex.