Why were three-year-olds sent to the Tavistock?

The ‘transitioning’ of children is the biggest medical scandal for a generation.

James Esses

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

As amazing and impressive as children can be, all right thinking people recognise that they are not the same as adults. Childhood development is a slow process. It takes time for our brains to properly mature.

There is a reason why your average three-year-old girl will struggle to hop on one foot, draw a picture of herself, tie her shoelaces, catch a bounced ball, speak in sentences of more than five words or remember her last name. There is a reason why children do not generally commence primary school until the age of five.

Equally, because of the long process required for full cognitive development, a child’s capacity to understand the implications of certain decisions is significantly limited. This is why, as a society, we have minimum age limits for various activities – to prevent our children from coming to undue harm.

There is a reason why a 10-year-old cannot open a bank account. There is a reason why a 12-year-old cannot sign up to Facebook. There is a reason why a 15-year-old cannot consent to having sex. There is a reason why a 17-year-old cannot buy a scratch card or drink alcohol in a pub. This is called child safeguarding.

However, in the name of gender ideology, which has managed to infiltrate all areas of our society, we have seemingly thrown everything we know about both child development and child safeguarding out of the window.

This week, it emerged that 382 children aged six and below were referred to the now defunct Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock clinic in London over the past decade. Even more shocking: over 70 of those children were aged just three or four.

Of course, three-year-olds have no real concept of terms like biological sex or gender identity. Nor are they capable of communicating confusions about their ‘gender identity’ to those around them. Most likely, these children simply showed an interest in toys or clothing that are more commonly associated with the opposite sex. And this led to them being carted off to the Tavistock.

I thought we had moved past the days of regressive gender stereotyping. It appears not. Nowadays, a young boy who likes the colour pink or a young girl who enjoys playing with Action Man may find themselves in a gender clinic, on the dubious basis that they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’.

How these children came to be there may vary. Were they referred by a GP who believes that everyone has a unique gender identity? Did an activist charity scare the parents into believing their child might commit suicide if they do not transition? Was it a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, with the child’s parents seeking the positive attention and affirmation that comes with having a child who identifies as trans?

But, in many ways, the reason is irrelevant, because the outcome is the same: those innocent children are likely to have come to serious harm.

Spokespeople for the Tavistock have defended the referrals of these extremely young children. They say that kids of such a young age would not have received medical ‘treatment’. Instead, these toddlers and their families were apparently only provided with ‘support and advice’.

But we now know that presenting at a gender clinic is often the first step on a slippery slope towards greater intervention and medicalisation. It can begin a process that moves inexorably on to puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones and eventually surgery in later life.

Even so-called social transitioning, when a child adopts a new name and pronouns or wears the clothes of the opposite sex, is not a neutral act. This was made clear back in 2022 in the interim Cass review, an independent government review into child gender services which ultimately brought about the closure of the Tavistock. Research shows that if a child begins to live as if they are the opposite sex, their discomfort with their actual sex is more likely to persist.

The ‘trans’ three-year-olds of today could well become the irreversibly damaged teenagers and young adults of tomorrow. Their puberty blocked, fertility extinguished, perfectly healthy body parts chopped off. We have seen it all before.

A gender clinic is no place for a three-year-old. We are witnessing the worst medical scandal for a generation. We must put a stop to it.

James Esses is co-founder of Thoughtful Therapists.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK


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