Autistic teenagers are being given powerful drugs which pave the way for a sex change, despite experts’ fears that they might not be transgender at all.
Up to 150 youngsters have been given ‘puberty blocker’ drugs, which stop the body maturing, after being seen at Britain’s only NHS transgender clinic for children.
These drugs, which can permanently weaken bones, are often the first step to changing sex.
The figure is based on an official report which found that a third of those referred to the Tavistock Clinic in London have strong signs of autism. By comparison, just one in 100 of the general population is thought to be autistic.
Up to 150 youngsters have been given ‘puberty blocker’ drugs, which stop the body maturing, after being seen at Britain’s only NHS transgender clinic for children (stock image)
Experts last night warned that autistic youngsters could end up having irreversible sex change treatment after latching on to the mistaken belief they were born the ‘wrong’ sex and that new guidelines meant doctors are often too afraid to challenge them.
Tory MP David Davies said: ‘The NHS needs to fully investigate this. It would be an absolute scandal if, 20 years from now, we discovered a load of people who are not transgender at all had been stuck on to a medical pathway because NHS personnel were told not to challenge young people who said they were transgender.’
The proportion of youngsters with autistic traits seen at the Tavistock is revealed in a new ‘practice review’ written by leading clinicians at its Gender Identity Development Service.
It states: ‘A range of psychometric measures are used to assess behavioural and emotional functioning, including features of autistic spectrum disorder and self-harm. Around 35 per cent of referred young people present with moderate to severe autistic traits.’
University College Hospital, in central