Thirty-five psychologists have resigned from the United Kingdom’s gender identity clinic in London since 2016, with several doctors warning that children are being “over-diagnosed and over-medicalized.”
Sky News reported that 2,590 children were referred to the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust last year. Compared to a decade ago when the clinic saw just 77 patients, that’s a more than 30-fold increase.
In addition, GIDS says it has a waiting list of nearly 3,000, with some patients waiting as long as two years for an appointment.
“A junior clinician working full time is expected to carry a caseload of 120 to 130 young people,” said one psychologist, who wished to remain anonymous. That’s three times more than most doctors at an average child and adolescent mental health clinic, he explained.
Six former GIDS employees said they felt pressured to prescribe patients medication rather than treat them psychologically. Failing to pursue drug treatment would brand them as “transphobic,” they said.
“I didn’t feel able to voice my concerns,” one doctor said. “When I did, I was often shut down by other affirmative clinicians. Looking back, there are young people I now wouldn’t necessarily put on medication.”
According to the Telegraph, almost half of the children treated at GIDS are prescribed hormone-blockers to halt puberty.
While GIDS pushes drug treatments for many of their patients, many other doctors argue that gender confusion stems from psychological issues or simple peer pressure.
“With counseling, or even watchful waiting, an average of 85% of these children would have a resolution of their distress by early adulthood,” said endocrinologist Dr. William Malone.
“We are beginning to see many young adults begin attempts to reverse the damage that has been done by hormonal and surgical treatments,” he added. “As a result, investigations into gender clinic practices have begun in the U.K. and are being considered in Australia and Sweden.”
“We are extremely concerned about the consequences for young people,” said another doctor. “For those of us who previously worked [at GIDS], we fear that we have had front row seats to a medical scandal.”