Trans young people must be reassured that the judgment in Bell v Tavistock does not affect their right to sexual and reproductive healthcare.
The judgment in the Bell v Tavistock judicial review has caused significant distress to those Trans young people receiving and seeking treatment with puberty blockers. The clinical staff supporting them at the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) are extremely concerned for the wellbeing of the young people in their care, some of whom could have treatment refused or even withdrawn.
The judicial review did not address the harm of withholding treatment. It does nothing to further our understanding of the efficacy, risks or benefits of different approaches to supporting young people who are questioning their gender.
Trans young people can still access sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Brook continues to welcome Trans young people to its clinics. Amidst widespread speculation about the broader implications of this case, Brook wants to reassure Trans young people that their right to receive sexual and reproductive healthcare is unaffected by this ruling, which relates specifically to the provision of puberty suppressing drugs.
UK law allows for provision of contraceptive, STI and abortion care, for under 16s without parental involvement if the young person is competent to consent to the treatment. This legal provision is essential to ensuring that all young people, whether cis, Trans or non-binary, feel confident about seeking care. Brook would challenge any attempt to use this ruling as a way of removing young people’s right to confidential sexual health services.
Brook’s services are for everyone.
We provide and advocate for Relationships and Sex Education that is inclusive of and relevant to LGBT+ young people and those with LGBT+ family members.
We welcome all young people to our clinics and strive to make them accessible for LGBT+ people.
Our information and resources aim to make visible Trans young people’s sexual and reproductive healthcare needs as these are often hidden or ignored.
We aim to amplify the voices of Trans and non-binary people through our blogs, events and activities.
Further information on the judgment
The Court has ruled that there will be a stay on implementation of its judgment until 22 December or until the determination of an appeal. In practice this means that GIDS is not making any new referrals for puberty suppressing treatment. Those already receiving treatment will continue to do so for now. In the event that an appeal is not successful, an individual application will have to be made to the court for each individual under 16 already receiving treatment and for each individual currently waiting for treatment.