An increasing number of children, particularly teenage girls, are coming out as ‘trans’. There are those who argue that this increase in young people seeking to change their identity is simply demonstrative of the fact that we are living in a more open and tolerant society. They argue that stigma within the medical profession and in wider society had previously prevented trans individuals from accessing the help they needed, and that medical interventions simply enable children to embrace who they feel they really are on the inside.The trans teen trend: a case of social contagion? – YouTube
On the other hand, increasing numbers of professionals hold deep concerns over this sharp rise. They point to the fact that large numbers of these patients are being affirmed down a medical pathway, often culminating in irreversible medication or surgery. They also argue that gender dysphoria is a mental-health condition, prone to social contagion (much like OCD or anorexia), and should be treated as such. Rather than pills or surgery, they argue that therapy, investigation and psychological help is the best course of action for the vast majority of patients. Indeed, the Cass Review, headed up by Dr Hilary Cass, argued that a ‘lack of consensus and open discussion about the nature of gender dysphoria’ had meant that there was a similar failing in an ‘appropriate clinical response’. As a result of the review, the NHS was forced to close the Tavistock Centre – the largest provider of transgender services in England – which had become a focus for criticism. Whatever your views on the issue of transitioning, is there a bigger question as to why so many young people suddenly seem to want to change their identity? Has an increase in discussion about gender encouraged a faddish approach to trans ideology, or merely liberated children who previously felt trapped? Should we celebrate the fact that our children can be whoever they want to be? And perhaps more importantly, does enabling this freedom have to entail such drastic change? Speakers Jennie Bristow – senior lecturer in sociology, Canterbury Christ Church University; author, The Corona Generation: coming of age in a crisis and Growing up in Lockdown James Esses – barrister; social commentator; co-founder, Thoughtful Therapists Katy Jon Went – diversity and inclusion facilitator and educator, Human Library, Pick My Brain, GenderAgenda, Fifty Shades of Gender Helen Joyce – director of advocacy, Sex Matters; author, TRANS: when ideology meets reality Chair Claire Fox – director, Academy of Ideas; independent peer, House of Lords; author, I STILL Find That Offensive! This debate was filmed by WORLDwrite volunteers at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2022. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel and consider hitting the THANKS button to help us film and edit further debates.