The UK’s NHS (National Health Service children’s gender center has defended its participation in a journal article which called for establishing an international registry of trans children.
Recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a number of trans health professionals co-authored the article.
One of the authors, Dr Polly Carmichael heads the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
The article examined the difference in the number of trans boys and girls and at what age they were most likely to start accessing treatment for gender dysphoria.
‘A change in the demographics of young people coming to gender services has been reported worldwide with more people who were assigned female at birth being referred,’ a Tavistock spokesperson told Gay Star News.
‘We are always thinking as a service and as individual clinicians about the young people who are referred to us. We think about and with them as individuals and as a group, including thinking about the shifting demography, increasing heterogeneity and complexity of the situations of the young people who come to see us.
‘We do this to improve the ways we support the young people who are in our care.’
Trans advocates were concerned most about the suggestion of setting up an international registry of trans children.
One father of a trans child described the idea as ‘chilling’. He argued even if the data was anonymous, it would still be possible to identify individuals because there are not a huge number of trans children worldwide.
The Tavistock spokesperson said a ‘potential collaboration of data of this type is not currently under consideration’. Instead, it is simply a collaboration it might consider suggesting.
But if it did push for a registry, it would do so under ‘good research practice’ and ‘in compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)’.
‘International research projects using carefully designed data sets are a vital tool across the NHS… as we work with global experts to improve our services,’ the spokesperson said.
‘All our research projects are carefully designed and approved following rigorous ethical approval processes. Any dataset that we gathered or created in collaboration with another organisation would only share anonymised data.
‘These are important clinical research matters – attempts to politicise them in this way contribute to a needlessly distressing environment that might impact negatively on young gender diverse people.’