A woman who was given puberty blockers as a teenager has taken legal action against an NHS clinic in a landmark trial in the High Court.
Keira Bell, now aged 23, was just a teenager when she was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones to give her the appearance of being male.
Having since returned to living as female, she now wants to protect other youngsters from experiencing the life-altering effects of the drugs.
Bell said the Tavistock and Portman Trust, which runs NHS England’s only gender identity clinic for children, had rushed her into taking the drugs.
She explained that when she told medics of her claim to be male and desire to transition, ‘they affirmed that immediately’.
‘There wasn’t any in-depth investigation into my history or anything like that. So I was fairly quickly put on to the medical path.’
Expressing her regret, she explained, ‘It puts you on a path that changes your life forever.
‘And when you are a minor you have no chance of understanding how that affects you and your adult life. If we put a stop to this, it will allow people to grow naturally.’
In a witness statement to the court, Bell said she had been left with ‘no breasts, a deep voice, body hair, a beard, affected sexual function, and who knows what else that has not been discovered’.
She continued: ‘I made a brash decision as a teenager, as a lot of teenagers do, trying to find confidence and happiness, except now the rest of my life will be negatively affected. Transition was a very temporary, superficial fix for a very complex identity issue.’
The court has deferred judgment to a later date.