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Minister for women slammed by LGBTI groups over transgender comments

Minister for women slammed by LGBTI groups over transgender comments

Europe's biggest trans flag carried through the streets of Glasgow group

The UK’s minister for women has faced backlash over comments about transgender youths.

Victoria Atkins infuriated LGBTI rights campaigners by saying that trans youths might not fully understand why they would opt to undergo gender confirmation therapy.

While talking about the increasing number of teenagers being referred to undergo gender affirming surgery, Ms. Atkins said trans youths may choose to have their sex reassigned as ‘an answer to questions they are perhaps not asking themselves’.

‘I read in the paper recently that there has been a large increase in the number of teenagers who are identifying as [trans], and I think we need to get down to the reasons why this is happening,’ she said.

Ms. Atkins remarks faced a swift backlash from LGBTI groups, who said her comments were ‘damaging’ in how they represented the trans community.

‘I’m a little cautious of the use of those treatments’

In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms. Atkins said: ‘It may simply be a case of greater awareness, it may be that for some they see it as an answer to questions they are perhaps not asking themselves. We need to be particularly alert to this with regard to young people.

‘The treatments are so serious and life-changing. I’m a little cautious of the use of those treatments because of the potential for the rest of their lives.

‘Lots of questions are rightly being asked about how we treat young people. People whose bodies perhaps haven’t developed yet.’

LGBTI advocacy groups were quick to hit back at the minister’s comments.

Fox Fisher of the LGBT+ helpline said that Ms. Atkins ought to consult with trans advocacy groups rather than jumping to assumptions, the Guardian reported.

‘It is damaging to imply that trans teens are being given treatment lightly, as behind it are decades of research and best practice. Trans people’s lives are at stake here, and we know what we need,’ Fisher said.

Scottish Trans Alliance manager, James Morton, highlighted the small number of trans youths seeking assignment therapy.

‘There’s around 3.5 million young people currently going through puberty in the UK, with only around 300 gender dysphoric teenagers (less than 0.01%) starting reversible puberty delaying medication this year,’ Morton said.

‘Transgender young people remain very rare, despite the current media obsession with their existence. The NHS requires people to be adults before they can get any irreversible gender reassignment treatment.’

Follows ‘less intrusive’ program

Last month, the UK government announced plans to launch an initiative to make ways people can change their legal gender less intrusive.

The program involves a 16-week consultation which is designed to be ‘less intrusive and bureaucratic’ for trans people in England and Wales.

Announcing the initiative’s launch, Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘What was very clear from our survey is that transgender people across the UK find the process of legally changing their gender overly bureaucratic and invasive.

‘I want to see a process that is more streamlined and de-medicalized – because being trans should never be treated as an illness.’

Trans rights activists cautiously welcomed the news, though some expressed a desire that the policy also is extended to the non-binary community as well.