Trans health group calls for irreversible gender drugs to be issued at age 14
The organisation also believes breast reduction surgery should be available to girls as young as 15
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has released new recommendations which call for children as young as 14 to be able to participate in transformative treatment involving cross-sex hormones.
WPATH, based in Illinois, US is an unofficial body made up of 3,000 people, including non-professionals.
The organisation releases "standards of care" for transgender people. A further part of the recommendation is for girls to be allowed to undergo breast removal surgery at 15, known as a mastectomy.
Their view is it is unethical to restrict treatment for children that wish to change their gender.
Undergoing treatment earlier also precludes development into what they may consider to be the wrong sex.
This comes amid legislation on gender transition surgery being tightened by European governments.
The recommendation has been criticised for exposing children to a relatively uncharted medical process at a young age.
Critics also emphasise the importance of other factors to gender distress that should be explored before committing to transformative treatment.
David Bell, who authored the whistleblowing report on the NHS Gender Identity Development Service, stated to the Times:m “This is a call upon clinicians to abandon their clinical responsibility to a child and to submit to an ideological agenda which is harmful to children.
“This group is making claims that have no evidential basis.
“Adolescence is a time of turmoil and development. One of the most important things from a clinician’s point of view is that you don’t foreclose anything. [Hormone treatment at such a young age] forecloses the possibility of keeping things open so they can be thought through. A lot of these children may be gay or lesbian. A lot have very complex problems.”
Eli Coleman, who directs the human sexuality programme at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School and chairs WPATH’s standards of care, argued that starting treatment earlier would allow transgender teens to go through puberty at the same time as their peers.
He also highlighted the importance of other considerations. These included a psychological evaluation, the consent of parents or guardians, emotional maturity and a history of gender discomfort.