A major trial scrutinizing a gender clinic took place this week in the United Kingdom, the outcome of which will determine if minors can legally consent to taking puberty blockers and undergoing other experimental gender medicine.
The judicial review of practices that have been occurring within the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust took place Wednesday and Thursday. The clinic is based in London and is the only gender clinic for children in the nation.
Attorneys for Keira Bell and an unnamed woman contended in court proceedings that children in puberty are incapable of understanding the nature and effects of puberty-suppressing drugs and therefore cannot agree to the controversial treatments.
Bell, a 23-year-old woman who identified as a transgender man as a teenager, said she decided she had been born in the wrong body after reading about transgender people on the internet. Bell was referred to the gender identity clinic at age 14, where she was treated with puberty blockers. She was then referred for hormone injections to halt puberty after only five appointments, which ultimately induced artificial menopause. She went on to take cross-sex hormones and had a cosmetic double mastectomy. Bell now says she was irreparably harmed.
"There needs to be a stop to prescribing puberty blockers to children under 18 ... I am worried about [my ability to have] children. I want that option to be there," Bell said.
The trial comes after months of scrutiny over the medicalization of gender and political developments pushing against some of the transgender activists' key goals. One major pushback was the government's rejection of proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.
In a witness statement, Bell said she made a hasty choice during her younger years amid an identity crisis.
"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," Bell said.
She also said gender-transitioning was "a very temporary, superficial fix for a very complex identity issue."
However, lawyers backing the clinic maintained that puberty suppressants have undergone extensive research, saying that they are safe and reversible.