Guernsey Press

Review into gender services 'hijacked by anti-trans lobby'

REACTION to a major review on gender services has been hijacked by an anti-trans lobby, according to equality campaigner Jayne Ozanne.

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Equality campaigner Jayne Ozanne. (33138159)

The review, led by Dr Harriet Cass, looked into the way the NHS handles youngsters questioning their identity and concluded that gender medicine was ‘built on shaky foundations’.

‘I know Dr Cass didn’t want her report to be politicised in any way, but it was obviously always going to be,’ said Ms Ozanne.

Deputy Yvonne Burford has submitted written questions to Health & Social Care asking what it intended to do in the wake of the Cass review.

Both Deputy Burford and the Women’s Rights Network have praised the review for recognising damage caused to children by approaches to gender issues adopted without evidence.

Ms Ozanne felt the report, released this week, had led to a toxic debate led by people who did not believe that trans children existed.

Ms Ozanne was also concerned that the review had been given such people too much credibility.

‘I’m quite concerned about that. The impact on children is going to be huge,’ she said.

Ms Ozanne, who recently returned to live in Guernsey, accused right wing media in the UK of trying to undermine the trans community by focusing on Dr Cass’ findings about damage caused to children by puberty blockers.

‘Dr Cass has taken only a limited number of reports as evidence and ignored a lot from the international community,’ she said.

She said it was not properly understood that puberty blockers were provided to youngsters questioning their gender because they then had more time to think about their future identity.

Ms Ozanne said most children on the waiting list for gender services had in any case gone through puberty before they were seen by a doctor.

However, there was a lot that she agreed with in Dr Cass’ report.

‘I was pleased to see her highlight the horrendous waiting times and the lack of good quality care for children experiencing gender dysphoria.

‘It’s those waiting times which have caused such distress and will continue to do so. I am with her that we should encourage a holistic approach.’

She said she questioned claims that children with autism or mental ill health could not be transgender.

Local equality charity Liberate said it was ‘surprised and disappointed’ and criticised anti-trans campaigners for commenting on Dr Cass’ report before they could possibly have read all of it.

‘The primary focus should be on ensuring that trans and gender-diverse children receive the high-quality healthcare they require and deserve,’ it said.

‘The Cass review could be instrumental in achieving this goal, provided its recommendations are effectively implemented.

‘However, without adequate attention, training, or additional capacity within the system, some recommendations could inadvertently create new barriers that prevent these young people from accessing the necessary and deserved care.’

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