Gen­der-is­sue re­fer­rals among chil­dren in­crease 20-fold

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.

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