A landmark ruling in the High Court means children who are confused about their gender are less likely to be harmed by ‘puberty blocker’ drugs.
Judges said it was ‘highly unlikely’ children aged 13 and under could ever genuinely consent to hormone blockers, and ‘very doubtful’ 14 and 15-year-olds could do so.
The case centred on a legal action brought by a Keira Bell, now aged 23, against the NHS.
She sued the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) after she was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones as a teenager.
Lawyers acting for Bell had argued that young people have too little life experience to understand the potentially devastating and lifelong consequences of taking the experimental ‘sex-swap’ drugs.
Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Bell said she was ‘delighted’ with the ruling.
Her solicitor, Paul Conrathe, called the ruling ‘an historic judgment that protects children who suffer from gender dysphoria’.
He said the judgment showed that a ‘culture of unreality’ at the Tavistock clinic ‘may have led to hundreds of children receiving this experimental treatment without their properly informed consent’.
Following the ruling, the NHS announced that The Tavistock and Portman Trust would ‘immediately suspend new referrals for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the under-16s’.