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March 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The number of children being treated by the National Health Service for gender dysphoria has increased by 1,000 percent over the past five years, according to a story in the London Sun.

The paper reports that at the NHS Tavistock and Portman clinic where all UK transgender patients under 18 are treated, “their families are given counselling and, in some instances, [the patients are given] hormone blocking treatments” as preparation for a possible “sex change” after 18.

“Last month it was revealed a five-year-old boy returned to school in Nottinghamshire as a girl,” the Sun added.

“They should be getting psychotherapy,” Dr. Joseph Berger, a leading Canadian psychiatrist, told LifeSiteNews. “These children are unhappy for a variety of reasons. They should be treated for their unhappiness. Cutting off penises and breasts is not the treatment for unhappiness.”

The Sun reported that the number of youth being treated for gender dysphoria had climbed from 97 in 2010 to 1013 in 2015 at a cost of £2,674,791 to taxpayers. But Bernard Reed of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society said the National Health Service was “not really geared up and trained to help meet this growing need for medical care,” while the NHS’s Dr. Polly Carmichael admitted, “This year’s increase is extraordinary. It has become very difficult now to predict whether referrals will carry on rising.”

The Sun could not supply numbers to verify a sudden increase, but a London Telegraph story last year reported a 400 percent increase in youth under 11 from 19 to 77 over the same five-year period. The Telegraph also reported a survey of 32 youth the NHS treated with hormone blockers revealed eight had gone on to have sexual reassignment surgery to remove or add breasts or sex organs.

A group advocating Christian rights, London-based Christian Concern, echoed Dr. Berger. Its chief executive, Andrea Williams, told Charisma News, “When children express confusion like this, we need to be affirming their God-given identity and helping them to understand their birth gender. … Many children are simply following the lead of others, without truly understanding the implications. If we allow this trend to grow unchecked, we could see many children making decisions they could regret later on.”

Dr. Berger told LifeSiteNews that people who truly believe they are the opposite sex to their biological sex are “totally nuts. They should be treated with anti-psychotic drugs.” But most patients with gender dysphoria are simply unhappy and think that changing their gender will make them happier. He recounted treating a “very attractive” teenage girl recently who wanted to change her gender because, it turned out, she thought “men have a higher social standing.”

On the other hand, males may want to become females, Dr. Berger said, “because they see women as living more passive lives, or because they get to wear more colourful clothing, or get to be the center of attention more.”

Most teens with gender dysphoria, if not encouraged, simply lose their discomfort with their given gender in a few years. Now, however, said Dr. Berger, sexual reassignment “has become very faddish. It’s the ‘in’ thing. It has almost taken over from homosexuality.” Politicians and some health professionals have jumped on the bandwagon to “build a career.”

In January an all-party committee of the U.K. Parliament released a report that was highly critical of the National Health Service and especially general practitioners of under-serving transgender patients.

But scepticism is growing. Using the Internet to combine their efforts, a loose alliance of feminists, lesbians and concerned parents are resisting the pressure from trans lobbyists to aid and abet children seeking to medicate with gender change. Such sites as 4thWaveNow, GenderCritical, and Transcritical seek to protect children from a hyperactive surgical establishment while feminists resist what they see as a distorted form of male aggression.  Declares the latest blog on Transcritical: “To be a woman, you must be female, and to be female, you must have XX chromosomes and female sex specific anatomy.” So-called “transwomen,” continues the blog, are just males “who identify as the opposite sex.”

Meanwhile the anonymous founder of 4thWaveNow recently marked her site’s first year anniversary, happily transitioning from a personal blog to a clearing house for “parents skeptical of child/youth ‘transition,’ as well as informed experts fighting “the trans-kid trend” and the “medical and media establishments.”

The evidence supporting the sceptics is growing. Only in 2014, Dr. Paul McHugh, retired chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University medical center, explained to readers of the Wall Street Journal that his hospital got out of sex-change therapy in the 1970s because it didn’t work.  Long-term follow-ups of transgender patients showed “their subsequent psycho-social adjustments” were no better than those who didn't have the surgery.

McHugh cited the much more shocking results of a 2011 Swedish study that followed up with 30 years of transgendered surgery patients to find their suicide mortality rate almost 20 times higher than that of the comparable, non-trans population.

While the Swedes offer no explanation, McHugh did: “‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

Dr. Berger told LifeSiteNews the National Health Service should be very slow to act on the desire of children or their parents for treatments, including hormones or hormone blockers, that could do serious or permanent injury.