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The UK's Tavistock centerYouTube screenshot

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(LifeSiteNews) — Tavistock, the United Kingdom’s only clinic specializing in facilitating gender transition, has been the subject of scandal for years and is now due to be closed.

A study publicized by the BBC in 2020 revealed that all but one of the children treated for gender dysphoria were given puberty-blocking drugs.

Earlier this year, an investigation commissioned by the National Health Service (NHS) and carried about by retired pediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass found that the gender clinic was “not a safe or viable long-term” option for young people and children, concluding that clinic staff frequently just rushed children into transition, especially as the number of children identifying as transgender grows.

READ: Britain’s top court won’t contest decision to allow prescription of puberty blockers to kids

Now, finally, the NHS is doing what should have been done years ago: it is closing Tavistock.

It is not all good news, of course. While the investigation that led to this decision criticized Tavistock for rushed and sloppy methods, it did not condemn or oppose giving children puberty blockers outright.

Instead, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust will be shuttering Tavistock by spring—and it will be replaced by “new regional centres” that will “ensure the holistic needs” of patients are met. The NHS believes the problem is that the demand for trans treatments is leading to a reduction in the quality of care—they are not yet condemning the idea that sex changes for young people is care to begin with.

According to the BBC, one of the new centres will be in London and the other in Northwest England, and both should be open next spring. Both centres will work with children’s hospitals such as Great Ormond Street and Alder Hey in order to “help support young people under the age of 18 who are struggling with their gender identity,” although those currently with Tavistock will remain their for the time being.

Keira Bell, the de-transitioner who sued Tavistock over its use of puberty blockers and won a High Court case which stipulated that minors could not consent to these “treatments” (that decision is currently still working its way through the courts), responded to the closing by saying that “many children will be saved from going down the path I went down.”

However, if the reaction of radical LGBT group Stonewall is any indication, Bell’s optimism may be unwarranted—the group stated that they were happy that NHS was attempting to address “unacceptable” wait times for children identifying as transgender.

A Stonewall spokesperson stated: “The creation of new specialist regional centres in London and Manchester next year, with more to follow, will go some way to addressing the strain experienced by having just a single, centralised service.” There were 5,000 referrals to Tavistock in 2021.

A potential silver lining is that the NHS is still grappling with the findings of the internal investigation, which indicated that children were being rushed into transition and put on puberty blockers too swiftly. Bell hopes that this decision will mean that young people like her are questioned more rigorously before being given treatments that permanently alter the body, and she may be right—Dr. Hilary Cass is still advocating for that.

READ: ‘Medical scandal’: UK doctors break silence on treatment of gender-confused kids

But trans activists have also expressed hope that more young people will be able to get into gender clinics with this new arrangement, meaning that the number of minors receiving these drugs could well go up rather than down.

Dr. Hilary Cass’s full report is expected next year, so there may yet be more developments. It is good news that the Tavistock clinic is being shut down, and it is good news that those dealing with gender-confused children are being warned against putting them on drugs too soon.

But with multiple clinics being opened to replace the single clinic that was closed, I don’t think we should celebrate this move too soon.


Thousands of deaths linked to drugs used as puberty blockers for gender-confused kids

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.