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The Tavistock Gender Clinic (2022 Tortoise Media Podcast)

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Unintentionally funny, shockingly illuminating, and absolutely heartbreaking, this is a nice attempt at a balanced review of the Tavistock "Transing clinic".

The Tavistock automatically denies interviews to anyone with a lick of common sense, so perhaps the only way to get an interview with the former chief transer Polly Carmichael was with a journalist who respects pronouns and seems to genuinely want to believe that trans might be a real thing.

Even she expresses confusion when confronted with a young woman who has become a "trans man" and then decides to be a drag queen. Hilarious.

What's maddening though is how the completely legitimate things that the mother of a gender dysphoric girl talks about her daughter are dismissed and considered bigotry.

Polly Carmichael admits they didn't know what they were doing and were continually asking if it was the right thing.

No Polly, it's not. Carmichael was clearly not qualified at all to explore more sensible ways of explaining to confused kids that they do not need to alter their bodies to fit gender stereotypes. Teaching them that they're fine as they are is bigotry, apparently.

The Tavistock - Inside the gender clinic
In a few months, the Tavistock – the only NHS clinic in England and Wales which treats children suffering from gender dysphoria – will close. This is the story of what happened.

1. A Verdict
In the summer of 2022 the NHS announced it was winding up the Gender Identity Service for children and young people at the Tavistock. Critics of the service celebrated, its supporters were left in despair. In this series journalist Polly Curtis has spent months trying to understand what happened at GIDS. Why has it attracted such criticism and what is the best way going forward of treating young people with gender dysphoria?

2. The Broom Cupboard
Polly Carmichael became the director of the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock in 2009. “I remember our office was literally a room that had probably been a broom cupboard at one stage”, she recalls. But the decision in 2011 to start offering puberty blockers to people under the of 16, and in 2016 to widen the professionals who could refer a child to GIDS had a major impact. The numbers of people on the waiting list ticked inexorably up, until the clinic felt it could barely cope.

3. Thin ice / 4. The Enemy Within
As the increase in referrals to the Gender Identity Development Service increases, the profile of the young people seeking treatment changes too. There are now two natal girls for every natal boy, a complete reversal of what it had been a decade before. Polly Curtis tries to make sense of this change and goes to Blackpool which has the highest referral rate of anywhere in England.

5. The Noise
The public debate around the work of the Tavistock is getting louder. Kiera Bell wins a landmark ruling at the High Court which halts all new referrals for puberty blockers for under 18s on the NHS in England and Wales. She was prescribed puberty blockers at 16 but later decided she wants to de-transition. The Tavistock appeals and the ruling is overturned. But for many people the narrative of the Gender Identity Development Service is now set in stone

6. The Real Scandal
Polly Curtis investigates why NHS England accelerated the closure of GIDS and what the future of the service could look like for children and young people.

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