Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UK Doctors 'Failing' Children Trapped In Gender Limbo, According To Experts

Date:
January 24, 2008
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Gender disordered children as young as ten are being denied desperately needed hormonal drugs leading to bullying, violence and even suicide according to new research. Dr Simona Giordano from The University of Manchester says British doctors are depriving children relief from "extreme suffering" caused by their condition - forcing their families into seeking help outside the UK. Homophobic bullying in schools is experienced by 89.2% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths in the UK.

Gender disordered children as young as ten are being denied desperately needed hormonal drugs leading to bullying, violence and even suicide according to new research.

Dr Simona Giordano from The University of Manchester says British doctors are depriving children relief from "extreme suffering" caused by their condition - forcing their families into seeking help outside the UK.

Homophobic bullying in schools is experienced by 89.2% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths in the UK. 17.6% of pupils are physically assaulted for reasons related to their gender and sexual orientation. Children have been killed by their peers because of their gender ambiguity.

The ethicist based at the School of Law contacted US medics who report treating children turned down at UK clinics. Poorer families, however, are unable to afford US medical care she says.

She also suspects that significant numbers of children are suffering alone and without support, though detailed research is needed to reveal the true extent of the problem.

The effect of so called hormone 'blockers' - which suspend puberty- are easily reversible. However other therapies used at later stages - including masculinising and feminising hormones and surgery - are more are more difficult to reverse.

Dr Giordano also discovered controversial guidelines - published in 2005 by the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes.

The guidelines – which are now withdrawn - laid down that treatment should not start until puberty is complete. But according to the researcher they are still being used.

She said: "Current evidence on risks and benefits of blockers in children and adolescents does not justify the strong resistance of UK specialists, especially considering the risks of refusal of treatment.

"Children are being exposed to the anguish and terror of growing in a body that is experienced as alien.

"It means they will suffer the ill effects of having to begin less reversible treatment on a body which is already fully formed.

"That in turn may lead to more invasive surgery, should he or she decide to transition.

"It' s an intolerable state of affairs: some individuals attempt to buy the hormones from non-medical sources and inject them at unregulated dosages and without medical supervision.

“Some will turn to prostitution to pay for these hormones which exposes them to risks of hepatitis, HIV, and stunted development.

“Many of these people, if they are refused medical help, will do whatever it takes to get hormonal treatment, because they can' t cope with what' s happening to them.

"Lives are certainly at risk and the public is widely uninformed about the matter; even general practitioners often lack competence to identify problems of gender identity and refer children to specialist clinics.

"There’s no data on the extent of this problem at present, though the likelihood is that many young people will be suffering alone and without support. Clinical specialists do seem to be seeing more of these children.”

Dr Giordano also argues that children as well as adults are in some cases competent to give consent to hormonal therapy.

She explained: "There is no legal or ethical ground for presuming that a child or adolescent with gender identity disorder cannot be competent to make an informed judgment about this issue - this disorder is certainly not a mental illness as some medics claim.

“Even if it was, UK law says that a person with a mental illness is not necessarily incompetent to make decisions about treatment for his or her condition.

“We have to presume that these people are competent, unless there is evidence of the contrary.

"If it was impossible to give valid consent to treatment whose side-effects are unclear, it would follow that no-one - including adults - could consent to medical research.

"Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis, without assumption that their consent cannot be valid or that treatment cannot be ethical."

Summary of Guidelines Outlined In Report

  • Children' s requests for treatment should be fulfilled, provided that the children are competent and that treatment is in their best interests.
  • Age-related criteria of access to treatment should be eliminated.
  • Focus should be on competence and on best interests of the child/adolescent.
  • If family participation is made essential to treatment of minors, it should be explained why this is so.
  • Guidelines should emphasize ethical principles, such as respect for the autonomy of the child.
  • Guidelines should incorporate respect for consistency and equality.
  • Guidelines should stress that in law and ethics it is accepted that healthcare professionals are, at least to some extent, responsible for omissions, as well as for actions.
  • Healthcare professionals should be made aware that, both legally and ethically, refusal to administer treatment is not always a safe option and may be open to ethico-legal challenge.

Two reports

  • Gender Atypical Organisation in Children and Adolescents: Ethico-legal Issues and a Proposal for New Guidelines
  • Lives in a chiaroscuro. Should we suspend the puberty of children with Gender Identity Disorder?

GID is a severe medical condition, associated with strong disgust for the body and profound uncertainty over the sense of the self. Invariably, growing in a chiaroscuro causes great distress. Once they start puberty, trans-boys may develop female secondary sex characteristics, such as breasts, and may even start to menstruate, whereas trans-girls may grow beards and prominent Adam' s apples, experience erections and became taller than average.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "UK Doctors 'Failing' Children Trapped In Gender Limbo, According To Experts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123174355.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2008, January 24). UK Doctors 'Failing' Children Trapped In Gender Limbo, According To Experts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123174355.htm
University of Manchester. "UK Doctors 'Failing' Children Trapped In Gender Limbo, According To Experts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123174355.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins