Last Updated on October 6, 2020
An IT worker who is biologically female, but identified as male for a time, is suing a controversial United Kingdom NHS transgender clinic that deals with teenage and child referrals for allegedly rushing her into physically transitioning when she wasn’t ready, leaving her with irreversible physical alterations.
23-year-old Keira Bell, from Manchester, UK, was administered testosterone at 17 and had a double mastectomy at 20 as part of a gender transition she underwent starting at 16. Years later, regretting the decision, she is left with a deep voice and is possibly infertile.
Now Bell is seeking to sue the UK’s NHS Tavistock clinic for allegedly rushing her into transitioning after she realized that she had “gone down the wrong path.”
She feels that she was not given adequate psychiatric assessments before being prescribed puberty blockers — and she is now raising awareness over the implications following puberty blockers in her action to take the clinic to the High Court, according to The Daily Mail.
Speaking on to ITV’s This Morning show, she said: “I grew up very gender non-conforming and so that, along with things like sexuality struggles, kind of led to feelings of alienation.
“I just became very depressed in my teens and very anxious and definitely very distressed about my body and all of that kind of manifested into gender dysphoria,” she recalled. “I was referred on to the CAHM clinic from my GP, which is the child and adolescent mental health service, and very shortly after that I was referred onto the Tavistock [Clinic].”
A year after she had undergone her double mastectomy, Bell began having second thoughts about the procedure.
“When you’re on that pathway it’s hard to come out of that and after those drastic changes have already happened to your body it’s hard to basically admit you’ve gone down the wrong path,” she said. “I’d say roughly a year after my surgery I just started to dissect my mind and how I got to that stage and it was just a lot of reflecting and being very introspective.”
The NHS Tavistock Clinic has been center of much controversy in recent years. Earlier this year, the Clinic reported a 2-year backlog of patient referrals and had resorted to hosting consultations via Skype to ease growing demand from underage transgender patients.
According to The Daily Mail:
Internal reports produced for the directors of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, argue that without such radical changes the clinic could be forced to shut down due to an exodus of demoralised staff.
The plan for sex change by Skype comes as the clinic faces growing pressure from psychologists who say it uses untested drugs on troubled children and ‘rushes’ them towards becoming transgender.
Last year 2,590 children were referred to the clinic, a rise of more than 400 per cent since 2013, leading to a two-year waiting list.
Ten of the children were aged three or four and dozens more were of primary-school age. The treatment includes giving the children hormone-blocking drugs.
The GIDS reports, which have been seen by this newspaper, reveal that the clinic has started testing ‘some of the practicalities involved in identifying young people and families to be considered for treatment appointments delivered with telemedicine’.
It uses technology such as Skype and FaceTime to allow doctors to diagnose and prescribe treatment for patients hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Last year, National File reported on “Britain’s Youngest Transgender Child” who allegedly began identifying as the opposite gender from the age of 3.