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Statement from the Anna Freud Centre on the gender clinic judicial review 

December 2nd

The ruling of the High Court on the Tavistock and Portman’s Gender Identity Development service (GIDs) highlights an urgent and compelling need for more research on the long-term impact of clinical interventions in order to support young people who are considering transitioning.

The High Court ruled that the complexity of the decision for young people and the lack of conclusive evidence about the long-term impact of administering puberty blockers means that the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing clinical treatment for young people under 16.

The Anna Freud Centre believes that establishing identity is a human right and we support the right of children and young people to assert their views about their own physical and mental health and about decisions on their sexual identity. We believe that children and young people who are trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming or exploring are entitled to be supported in pursuing their identity. They are entitled to have the research and evidence they need to make the life-changing decisions about their identity and rights. We stand in solidarity with them.

Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender non-conforming are roughly two-and-a-half times more likely to have a mental health problem than young people who identify as heterosexual,[i] report higher rates of suicidal ideation, suicidal behaviour, mood and anxiety disorder symptoms, and higher levels of emotional distress when compared to heterosexual young people.[ii]

The rejection, isolation and discrimination that many trans children and young people face has serious consequences and denying young people their agency can intensify these experiences. The Anna Freud Centre unequivocally supports the right for all children and young people to have their voices heard, to flourish and to grow up in an environment where they can assert their individuality.

The Anna Freud Centre believes all children and young people should be celebrated and valued for who they are, have their views respected and be entitled to live in an environment where they are protected from discrimination and rejection.

[i] NHS Digital (2018). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017: Summary of Key Findings. Government Statistical Service.

[ii] Eskin et al., 2005; Fergusson et al., 2005; Fleming et al., 2007; Marshal et al., 2011; Russell & Fish, 2016.