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On December 1st, a High Court ruling concluded that children under 16 are “unlikely” to be able to give informed consent to undergo treatment for gender dysphoria involving puberty blockers. Funding for the case was initially raised by a former staff member at the Tavistock Centre who had flagged safeguarding concerns over clinical practice at the clinic, which runs the UK’s only gender-identity development service (GIDS). Campaigners greeted the ruling as a victory for ‘common sense’ against what Paul Conrathe, solicitor for the claimants, called “a culture of unreality” at the Tavistock, which, “may have led to hundreds of children receiving this experimental treatment without their properly informed consent.” Trans-rights campaigners argue that the ruling will just cause more delay and pain for teens with gender dysphoria who need support and treatment. The Tavistock and Portland Trust has sought permission to appeal the decisions, but meanwhile it has halted all referrals for patients under 16. What has been, and is, going on at GIDS?
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