by Georgina Blackmore
Instead ask the government to separate the two issues caught under the heading of “Conversion Therapy”.
1) Gay Conversion Therapy, which is what 99.9% of people believe this petition is about. It is a ban I personally support.
2) Gender Identity Conversion Therapy, which doesn’t have any supporting evidence and, when parsed out, actually means the prosecution of any doctor or psychological clinician that doesn’t immediately affirm a person’s self-diagnosis that they are born in the ‘wrong body’.
These two things are very different. There are no harms associated with being gay or lesbian. However, the only option available to clinicians who have gender dysphoric patients, especially if they are children, would be to put that patient on a lifelong medical pathway using puberty blockers, cross sex hormones and potential surgery which includes removing reproductive organs.
To avoid being prosecuted for CT the only option available to these clinicians would be these medical interventions, that when applied to an early adolescent, result in sterilization, underdeveloped bone density, future sexual dysfunction – that is, all irreversible. Between 80-90% of children who present with gender dysphoria, who are treated with ethical, non-medical, watch and wait therapy, grow up to accept their sex and mostly turn out to be gay or lesbian adults. (Gender dysphoria in adolescence: current perspectives.)
Around 99.9% of children who are put on puberty blockers go on to cross sex hormones with serious medical implications. There is a rise in detransitioned adults who have to live with irreversible bodily changes and sterility saying what happened to them is medical malpractice. The British NHS Tavistock and Portman Trust recently lost a high court case to a young detransitioned woman, Keira Bell. The judges ruled that puberty blockers are high stake, experimental treatment and that teenagers are not able to give informed consent. They are now unavailable to under 18s in the UK.
Banning Gender Identity Conversion Therapy should not be included in this petition. Parents overseas have had their children removed from them because they wanted to adopt a ‘watch and wait’ model and did not want to medicalise their own children for something they were statistically far more likely to grow out of anyway and could consent to after the age of majority should they wish to.
Dr James Cantor, a leading gender clinician in America, recently said, in the face of similar CT legislation, that clinicians will simply stop accepting dysphoric patients for fear of prosecution – leaving open only one avenue of treatment for children: immediate life-long medicalization with dangerous known and unknown consequences that cannot be undone.