A longstanding bolthole for the Republic’s gender reassignment service, the closure of the specialist Tavistock clinic owing to the findings of an independent review is sure to have an impact on the treatment of Irish children at home.

Coming under heavy fire for their apparent fast tracking of children through gender reassignment without due diligence, a total of 234 Irish largely child referrals have been made to the clinic since 2011 often due to excessive demand at home. 

Experiencing a wave of resignations due to structural issues around the referral and treatment of children for gender identity issues, an additional nail in the coffin for Tavistock came in the form of a 2020 High Court ruling (Bell v Tavistock) which while later repealed added heat to growing claims of laxity around the use of puberty blockers for under 18s.

A long time coming it was revealed by the Irish Times in May last year that senior HSE officials decided against the cessation of public blockers for children in light of the original ruling against the practice in the UK High Court.

With the shutters closed on Tavistock it is expected that the Crumlin based gender services at the CHI (Children’s Health Ireland) will pick up the expected slack having been influenced heavily by Tavistock since its foundation.

Already struggling to find a consultant psychiatrist to manage gender services at Crumlin,, new premises and additional staff have already been secured for the ramping up of numbers post-Tavistock by the HSE.

Drawing the ire of many it was announced in 2019 of the government’s intent to reduce restrictions on child transitioners between the ages of 16 and 17 with a recorded spike being observed in the numbers of gender certificates issued.

Among Irish patients treated at the clinic was the female identifying Barbie Kardashian who much to the horror of some prison and medical officials was able to procure grounds to be recognised as a woman through the handiwork of Tavistock.

The existing pathway for underage gender dysphoria treatment begins with a child visiting a local GP before being passed up the chain Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for additional assessment.

With the trans NGO TENI playing a key role in instances where a ‘social transition’ in a school setting is needed as well in a HSE steering committee on the matter, treatment options include GnRH analogues to mitigate oestrogen or testosterone production in children.

Arrogantly and erroneously derided as an issue raised almost entirely by British feminists and imported into Ireland, the long heralded demise of Tavistock puts the spotlight on Irish hospitals in picking up the baton on trans healthcare.

Repeating British mistakes in Irish hospitals one is justifiably foreboding at the already clogged HSE picking up the mantle on gender dysphoria with an ideologically charged medical establishment swayed by the likes of TENI and co.

For the best part of a decade in perfect congruence with international trendsetters the trans lobby have hacked the policy making procedure on the treatment of supposed gender dysphoria in children.

Unable to squirrel away treatment in England and with a health system without the basic competencies and economics of scale to iron out medical blips transferral to Irish shores is a dark precedent to behold.

Questions are to be asked at the gender dysphoria treatment services in Crumlin and the extent to which they follow the same practices which brought low Tavistock itself?

Already we see the increasingly populist minded Senator Keoghan take the led on the issue doubtless to boil on for the next decade.

A minor piece of respite comes with the termination of services at Tavistock but this counts for little when the HSE wishes to plough on with the same mistakes at home. Much agony is ahead until institutional light is seen on the trans issue.

Posted by Ciaran Brennan

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