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LONDON, September 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent UK psychiatrist is speaking out against subjecting gender-confused children to “transition” treatment, warning that debate is being “shut down” about practices that could subject children to “serious and irreversible damage.”

Dr. David Bell, a consultant psychiatrist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and former president of the British Psychoanalytic Society, believes the medical field is being pressured to accept claims that children “declare themselves as being in the wrong body” without “sufficient investigation for its basis,” due in no small part to the fact that such cases have almost quadrupled over the past four years, The Telegraph reported

Gender dysphoria is a “highly complex problem with many causal pathways,” Bell wrote in the foreword to the book Inventing Transgender Children and Young People, an upcoming collection of essays by clinicians, psychologists, and sociologists. But transgender activists are pressuring providers such as Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) into accepting a “damaging simplification” of the subject, he says.

“Many services have championed the use of medical and surgical intervention with nowhere near sufficient attention to the serious, irreversible damage this can cause and with very disturbingly superficial attitudes to the issue of consent in young children,” he argued. Yet doctors who “refuse to accept the dominant ideological position” are accused of being “transphobic,” which “has been remarkably successful, resulting in a simplification of a very complex problem that needs to be understood at both individual and socio-cultural levels.”

Bell called for an “urgent investigation” into the various factors contributing to these referrals to “transition” minors.

A range of scientific literature indicates that reinforcing gender confusion often fails to prevent significant emotional harm up to and including attempted suicide (with or without surgery), because fixating on “gender affirmation” tends to distract from exploring other issues that may be the actual root of a patient’s mental or emotional unrest.

In July, the UK’s Health Research Authority (HRA) announced it would investigate the GIDS-University College Hospitals that was used to justify giving puberty blockers to children as young as 11 after the BBC program Newsnight uncovered evidence of key information being withheld from the participants’ parents and from health officials, as well as methodological problems.

That revelation followed five former clinic workers resigning from Tavistock in April, accusing GIDS of carrying out “life-changing medical intervention” for children and teens “without sufficient evidence of its long-term effects” and sometimes without even diagnosing a cause for their confusion or establishing that they truly suffered from gender dysphoria.

Last year, the NHS came under fire for administering puberty-blockers to as many as 150 children who were incorrectly diagnosed with gender dysphoria when they may have instead been autistic.