'A former clinician at England's only NHS transgender clinic has gone public for the first time to raise fears about how it treats youngsters wanting to change their gender.
Kirsty Entwistle, who worked as a psychologist at the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) in Leeds, claimed some staff were misleading patients and branding anyone who questioned their approach 'transphobic'.
She also suggested clinicians were immediately assuming youngsters were transgender without exploring other reasons behind their wish to transition, such as 'traumatic' experiences in their childhood.
Entwistle addressed her letter to Polly Carmichael, director of the Tavistock Clinic, from where Gids operates in London.
Writing on blogging site Medium, she claimed staff were telling patients that hormone blockers - used to stop the progress of puberty - were 'fully reversible'.
In fact, she explained, 'The reality is no one knows what the impacts are on children’s brains', so this claim was not backed up by evidence.
The psychologist suggested there was an 'unspoken rule' at the clinic which meant patients coming in for consultations were always assumed to be transgender.
'There are children who have had very traumatic early experiences and early losses who are being put on the medical pathway without having explored or addressed their early adverse experiences,' she said.
'At Gids no one directly tells you that you’re not allowed to suggest that perhaps these early experiences might be connected to a child’s wish to transition but if you make the mistake of suggesting this in a team meeting you run the risk of being called transphobic.'
She raised the case of one youngster who 'arrived to sessions in a poor state of hygiene and said that there wasn’t money for hygiene products'.
Entwistle wrote: 'How is it ethical to undertake a gender identity assessment with the view to a medical pathway when there are children and young people do not have their most basic needs met?'
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