Gender-issue referrals among children increase 20-fold
LONDON: Soaring numbers of children are being sent to specialists because they are confused about their gender.
Almost 2 000 children have been seen by doctors in the past year, following a 20-fold rise in referrals since 2009/10, according to data from the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids).
Youngsters aged just three are getting help from specialists for transgender issues, while 11-year-olds are being given powerful hormones to prevent them going through puberty.
Experts say the rise is being driven in part by an increased willingness in society to accept gender diversity. Figures show 1 986 under-18s have been accepted for specialist treatment during the past year.
Almost two in five of the children the Gids sees are given “puberty-blocking” drugs to “pause” the onset of puberty – roughly about 800 children in the past year.
Dr Bernadette Wren, a clinical psychologist, said: “Some people feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth while others are unhappy with the gender role society requires.”
Meanwhile, a 59-year old Chinese woman from the central Chinese city of Wuhan transformed her appearance through plastic surgery in order to avoid 25 million yuan (R48.9m) of personal debts, state news agency Xinhua reported.
In a case highlighting the challenges facing China as it tries to establish a “credit society”, police officers were reported to be “astonished” after apprehending the woman, who fled to the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen after a court in Wuhan ordered her to pay off her debt. – Daily Mail and Reuters
MADE THE SWOP: Luana hides behind her photo album at her home in Argentina. Luana, who was born a boy, says she remembers her mom trying to make her a boy.