Letter to Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services

Dear Minister

We write to draw your attention to the group litigation being prepared by families of children and young people treated at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman Trust.

This follows the failings highlighted in the interim Cass report and the subsequent decision to close GIDS.

Gender distressed children and young people from Wales have been referred to GIDS. They will have been subject to these same failings.

We would like your assurance that the development of gender identity services for children and young people in Wales will be informed by Dr Cass’s findings and subject to rigorous independent scrutiny. The lack of transparency and the undue influence of gender identity campaigners on clinical decisions at the Tavistock are mistakes that must be avoided here.

In particular, we are concerned that ‘diagnostic overshadowing’ will be the basis for treatment – in other words, as soon as ‘gender’ or ‘trans’ is mentioned, this becomes the only lens through which a child’s distress at his or her sexed body is viewed.

This concern stems from the support for gender identity ideology we’ve seen expressed in the Cabinet statement of July 2020 and subsequent comments and responses by the First Minister and other Cabinet members that ‘transwomen are women and transmen are men‘. This is a belief with no basis in medicine or law and has serious implications for how services for gender distressed children and young people are developed.

Evidence shows that a significant proportion of girls in particular who have been referred to GIDS are autistic. Many are same sex attracted. Others have been abused. Their needs and distress must be explored and addressed within the context of a holistic, compassionate therapeutic approach that considers all factors.

We have been concerned at the lack of any official response to the interim Cass report, other than a reply by the First Minister to an OAQ in which he stated that this wide ranging, independent review would be only one part of a ‘broader base of evidence’ in Wales. There has been no further detail about this evidence.

We urgently request assurance that Welsh Government will be consulting widely and with due diligence with regard to the issue of the appropriate treatment of gender distressed young people rather than relying on the usual limited pool of regular consultees.

We also urge you to consult actively with those professionals and groups who raised concerns about the GIDS approach, such as Dr David Bell, Susan Evans, Marcus Evans, Sonia Appleby, Transgender Trend, the Society for Evidence Based Medicine and Thoughtful Therapists. We have previously provided contacts for some of these and would be happy to do so again.

Merched Cymru