A landmark High Court case will begin this week to decide whether trans children are able to give informed consent to gender-affirming medical treatment.
The case was brought by a former psychiatric nurse at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), the UK’s only NHS gender clinic for children, and “Mrs A” the anonymous mother of a trans child.
Lawyers representing the two women are arguing that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for trans children under the age of 18 should be illegal.
Puberty blockers can temporarily prevent the development of secondary sexual characteristics, like an Adam’s apple or facial hair. This means that trans teenagers can potentially avoid some gender-affirming surgeries later in life.
According to the GIDS: “A client who has been on the hormone blocker for a period of time and been assessed as having continuing [gender dysphoria] may be considered for cross-sex hormones if they meet eligibility and readiness criteria. Cross-sex hormones can be gradually introduced to mimic the physical and psychological changes of puberty.”
But Paul Conrathe, a solicitor with Sinclairslaw representing both Evans and Mrs A, told The Guardian: “We are essentially seeking to say that the provision at the Tavistock for young people up to the age of 18 is illegal because there isn’t valid consent.”