Trans zealots are a threat to kids’ welfare

Why did a CBBC presenter lead a protest against evidence-based medicine?

Jo Bartosch

Jo Bartosch

Topics Identity Politics Science & Tech UK

Want to read spiked ad-free? Become a spiked supporter.

People attending medical conferences don’t usually need police protection to get through the door. But on Saturday, when delegates met at the headquarters of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in London, they had to push past a jeering, seething mob who let off smoke bombs and tried to force their way into the building. Lines of uniformed officers struggled to keep the entrances clear and to keep attendees safe. The supposedly controversial event? It was called ‘First Do No Harm’, and was held to discuss how to provide evidence-based treatment for patients with gender dysphoria.

By now, it hardly needs spelling out that the protesters were trans-rights activists. At the centre of the throng was Dr Ronx Ikharia, the presenter of CBBC’s Operation Ouch!. Ikharia, who identifies as ‘nonbinary’, could be seen wielding a megaphone, presumably to try to drown out the speeches inside the conference. On the day of the protest, she claimed on her Instagram page that anyone who opposes giving puberty-blocking drugs to children is ‘dehumanising’ the ‘existence’ of trans people. ‘Transphobia is alive and kicking under the guise of protecting kids and young people’, she wrote.

First Do No Harm was organised by the Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender (CAN-SG). The idea was to offer a platform to clinicians to voice concerns about the blurring of the lines between ideology and evidence in gender medicine. In recent years, at the behest of trans activists, young people have been prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, despite the fact that there is no evidence that these drugs are either safe or effective at alleviating their distress. Often, kids are simply ‘affirmed’ in their chosen gender and given puberty blockers, without any proper psychological examination.

A cursory look at the lineup should have made it obvious that CAN-SG is not made up of swivel-eyed bigots. The conference attracted leading experts from across the world. One speaker, Oxford sociology professor Michael Biggs, tells me it was ‘sadly predictable that a large threatening mob would try to prevent us from discussing safe, evidence-based care for gender-questioning children and young adults. All the protesters achieved was to emphasise why CAN-SG’s mission is vital.’

Indeed, all that CAN-SG is attempting to do – in what has sadly become a discredited phrase – is ‘follow the science’. This was perfectly encapsulated by the experience of keynote speaker Dr Riittakerttu Kaltiala, a world leader in the field of paediatric gender medicine. As chief psychiatrist at Finland’s top gender-identity clinic, she has overseen the treatment of thousands of young patients, many of whom will have been offered puberty blockers. She can hardly be dismissed as a transphobe.

After observing a surge in referrals in the 2010s, Kaltiala began to question her clinic’s protocol of ‘affirming’ children’s new gender identities. Not only did she notice a huge increase in the number of referrals, she also saw how the health of those who had been placed on puberty blockers was clearly deteriorating. So she looked at the evidence in front of her and commissioned additional research. Last year, after weighing up the data, Finland restricted the use of puberty blockers. Numerous other countries, including England, have since followed suit. Writing in the Free Press last year, Kaltiala accused trans-activist doctors who ‘refuse to consider evidence presented by critics’ of ‘putting patient safety at risk’. ‘Science’, she says, ‘does not progress through silencing’.

‘Silencing’, of course, is precisely what those protesters outside the RCGP want to do to those who question the evidence behind puberty blockers. If these activists were primarily concerned with the best outcomes for gender-confused children, then perhaps they could have bought tickets to attend the conference. They could have learned, listened and even respectfully disagreed with the experts inside. Instead, they attempted to shut proceedings down by being as noisy and disruptive as possible.

According to Ikharia, the evidence on puberty blockers is simply not worth engaging with. At the weekend, she accused First Do No Harm attendees of being ‘largely white and able-bodied people’ who use ‘titles such as professor and doctor to justify their self-appointed authority on trans existence’.

Michael Biggs was surprised to see the protests being led by Ikharia, someone who ‘the BBC has chosen to give health advice to young people’. ‘I hope that her public opposition to evidence-based medicine will force the BBC to admit that she is a political campaigner rather than a clinical expert’, he says.

Of course, the politicisation of medicine has gone hand-in-latex-glove with lobbying by the mainstream media. Like the medical profession, the BBC has also been duped by trans activists. Careers and reputations have been built on the idea that children’s mental distress can be mended by butchering their bodies. The Beeb regularly repeats the ideological claims of activists as well as their often dangerous advice, as if these were scientific fact. For instance, in an alarming clip from a BBC Three show that has recently resurfaced, Dr Ronx can be seen offering breast binders to a young woman, even though her past use of binders had led her ribs to pop out. The wisdom of such an obviously harmful intervention would never be questioned by the BBC.

Even now, when medical opinion has started to turn decisively against trans interventions, the media are still siding with the activists and ideologues. News and facts that are inconvenient to the trans narratives are only reported on reluctantly by the BBC, if at all.

Thankfully, the attempts to stifle debate and squash the evidence are failing. For all their sound and fury, trans activists are increasingly on the outside, howling in the cold. Still, those who want to steer medicine back to its founding principle – to first do no harm – have certainly got their work cut out for them.

Jo Bartosch is a journalist campaigning for the rights of women and girls.

Picture by: X.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Identity Politics Science & Tech UK


Want to join the conversation?

Only spiked supporters and patrons, who donate regularly to us, can comment on our articles.

Join today