Govern­ment probe into why so many girls want to be boys

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Glen Owen PO­LIT­I­CAL EDITOR

AN UR­GENT in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched into why soar­ing num­bers of girls aged as young as four want to change gen­der – and whether so­cial me­dia is to blame.

Equal­i­ties Min­is­ter Penny Mor­daunt has or­dered of­fi­cials to dis­cover the rea­sons why the num­ber of girls be­ing re­ferred for ‘tran­si­tion­ing’ treat­ment has in­creased by 4,415 per cent.

Psy­chol­o­gists and be­havioural ex­perts will ex­plore why – in the words of one source – some girls think that mod­ern life is ‘eas­ier to bear’ if they be­come boys.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures show the num­ber of chil­dren re­ferred for gen­der treat­ment – in­clud­ing hor­mone in­jec­tions – has risen from 97 in 2009/10 to 2,519

‘Do they think life would be eas­ier to bear as boys?’

in 2017/18. But by far the steep­est rise has come among girls: up from 40 to 1,806.

A to­tal of 45 of the chil­dren were aged six or un­der, with the youngest ones be­ing just four.

Last night, a source in the Govern­ment Equal­i­ties Of­fice, which han­dles poli­cies on ‘women, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and trans­gen­der equal­ity’, said: ‘There has been a sub­stan­tial in­crease in the num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als as­signed fe­male at birth be­ing re­ferred to the NHS. There is ev­i­dence that this trend is hap­pen­ing in other coun­tries as well.

Lit­tle is known, how­ever, about why this is and what are the long-term im­pacts.’

An­other source said: ‘Is it, to put it crudely, that young girls sim­ply think mod­ern life would be eas­ier to bear if they were boys?’ Some ther­a­pists be­lieve the rise is linked to the same men­tal health cri­sis among girls which has led to an epi­demic of self-harm, with so­cial me­dia per­pet­u­at­ing hy­per-sex­u­alised ideals of what it means to be a woman.

The Mail on Sun­day dis­closed last month that al­most two thirds of chil­dren and teenagers who say they want to change sex have been di­ag­nosed with se­ri­ous men­tal health dis­or­ders be­fore ex­press­ing the de­sire to tran­si­tion.

A to­tal of 63 per cent have had ‘one or more di­ag­noses of a psy­chi­atric dis­or­der or neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­ity’ be­fore an­nounc­ing they wanted to change gen­der. Al­most half had self-harmed and 50 per cent had suf­fered a trau­matic event in their lives, such as be­ing bul­lied or suf­fer­ing sex­ual abuse.

The MoS has re­vealed the fears of a lead­ing doc­tor that the health of hun­dreds of chil­dren is be­ing put at risk by sex-change drugs doled out on the NHS.

Dr Lucy Grif­fin, a con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist at Bris­tol Royal In­fir­mary, said she was ‘ex­tremely wor­ried’ about the long-term ef­fects the med­i­ca­tion was hav­ing on ado­les­cents.

She warned that medicines be­ing given to teens to help them change gen­der can ren­der them in­fer­tile, cause os­teo­poro­sis and re­sult in sex­ual dys­func­tion.

The medicines in­clude ‘pu­berty blocker’ drugs, which halt the on­set of adult­hood, and ‘cross sex hor­mones’ which start the phys­i­cal process of chang­ing sex.

Last year 800 chil­dren who were un­happy be­ing the sex they were born were given pu­berty block­ing in­jec­tions, in­clud­ing some as young as ten.

The de­bate comes against the back­drop a row be­tween feminists and trans­gen­der ac­tivists over whether trans­gen­der women – who were born male – should be placed in the same cat­e­gory as bi­o­log­i­cal fe­males.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.