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The Tavistock is a national scandal

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

How noble of the British Library to have apologised to the family of the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes for having identified him as a beneficiary of slavery. The library’s scrupulous and deranged researchers had unearthed evidence that Hughes may have been a distant relative of a man called Nicholas Ferrar, born in 1592, and that Ferrar had some early involvement in the slave trade. Ferrar died childless so the precise link was not known, but it was enough for Liz Jolly’s maniacs to besmirch the man.

Ms Jolly is chief librarian and the woman who said that racism was ‘a creation of white people’ — along with body odour, sin, cholera, poverty, werewolves and mosquitos, presumably. We are an inventive lot, after all. Covid and Scotch eggs may be occupying the minds of most of the nation right now, but it is comforting to know that the projects of the post-rational left are still being eagerly pursued in institutions which you pay for.

However, a temporary halt may now be called to one of the most ludicrous and egregious of those projects — the attempt to ensure that as many children as possible transition to a gender ‘different to the one they were assigned at birth’. The high court adjudication in the case of Keira Bell should ensure that much, even if there is to be an appeal.

Ms Bell, aged 23, was treated at the Tavistock Clinic’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) back when she was 16 and 17 and of a mind to become a bloke. She was given hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones to facilitate her re-invention.


Latterly, she has come to deeply abhor what happened to her and insists she was insufficiently mature to have given informed consent, had been treated as a guinea pig, and had not been subjected to an adequate psychological assessment. The high court agreed, in a judgment which was most certainly not, as the BBC (typically) insisted, ‘nuanced’. It was utterly straightforward. The judges said: ‘It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers’. And: ‘It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.’ And still further for those prospective patients aged 16 and over: ‘Given the long-term consequences of the clinical interventions at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is as yet innovative and experimental, we recognise that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment.’

None of that seems very nuanced to me. It means: stop all clinical intervention for those under 16 right now and for those aged 16 and 17, take the issue to court. As you might have guessed, the Tavistock was ‘disappointed’ by the ruling. Ha, no kidding. Meanwhile, the pro-trans organisation Gendered Intelligence (GI) responded to the verdict in a manner which suggested strongly to me that they believe, much as I have suspected, that the wish to transition is evidence of a deep psychological problem of which a distaste for their ‘assigned’ gender is probably the least of a person’s worries.

Here’s what GI said: ‘You are loved, you have worth. We will survive this mess together… We will fight for you and with you and this will be appealed.’ The terrible mental fragility of many prospective Tavistock patients is laid bare in that statement, surely. Incidentally, Keira Bell’s complaints echoed precisely comments made by some clinicians who have resigned in disgust from the Tavistock, complaining at the haste with which children were fast-tracked for appalling procedures.

The Tavistock’s GIDS clinic is a national scandal occasioned by wokeness, by post-rationality, by delusion, by political correctness, by stupidity and in the end by callousness. What is happening to children — in that benighted clinic, but also in schools up and down the country where pro-trans propaganda is piped in daily via publications from radical charities and the progressive sensibilities of idiot teachers — is the real crux of this branch of the culture war.

Sure, it is dispiriting that women’s sport may be a thing of the past one day soon, given the rapidly growing number of competitors who quite recently were in the possession of a penis. It is wrong that rebadged men should share lavatories or prisons with women. And it is of course a cause for national mourning that Suzanne Moore can no longer write for the Guardian. That’s the stuff the Terfs care about — the feminists who do not accept that transitioned men are actually women. But it is nowhere near the main point.

In the latest pre-Covid year for which figures are available (2018/19), the GIDS at the Tavistock treated some 2,590 young people, a rise of 6 per cent year on year and a more than 30-fold increase over the decade. Of these, 2,376 were under 18, in other words the overwhelming majority of their clients. Ten children were four or younger. Can you believe that? Almost 230 were below ten.

To my mind this is child abuse, pure and simple. That it is carried out by people in the grip of a revolting ideology does not lessen the fact. My friend and colleague Douglas Murray has suggested there must be a public inquiry into this outrage. He is right. But more lawsuits will follow. And the pro-trans agenda is still being pushed in our schools. So — sort out the schools and close down the GIDS clinic.

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