A leading psychiatrist has warned that children who take hormones or undergo surgery as part of 'transitioning' from one sex to the other risk "serious and irreversible damage".
Dr. David Bell works for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which oversees the Gender Identity Development Service, the National Health Service's only transgender clinic for children.
He directs a specialist unit for serious or enduring complex disorders.
'Highly Complex Problem'
In his foreword to a new book, Dr. Bell criticized doctors and activists who encourage children to undergo treatments in an attempt to change sex.
He said that rather than conducting thorough examinations, doctors are under pressure to accept as fact the assertions of children who "declare themselves as being in the wrong body."
He added that gender confusion is a "highly complex problem with many causal pathways," but that gender services "tend towards a damaging simplification."
Dr. Bell hit out at activists promoting ideology over fact in their rhetoric.
He said: "Many services have championed the use of medical and surgical intervention with nowhere near sufficient attention to the serious, irreversible damage this can cause and with very disturbingly superficial attitudes to the issue of consent in young children."
He noted that they attempt to shut down debate by branding any critics "transphobic," adding that this silencing has been "remarkably successful, resulting in a simplification of a very complex problem".
He also said the rapid rise of children expressing discomfort in their gender should be viewed as a sociological and cultural phenomenon, which needed "urgent investigation."
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