Case could determine future access to care for gender diverse youth
The United Kingdom’s High Court has granted permission for a coalition of LGBTQ+, youth, reproductive health and medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, to intervene in an appeal of its decision that minors under age 16 likely could not give informed consent for pubertal suppression.
The Dec. 1 court ruling is a problematic development that could prevent transgender and gender diverse minors from obtaining the medical care they need.
“We are pleased the High Court will hear from medical experts and groups representing the needs of transgender youth as part of the appeal process,” says Joshua D. Safer, MD, of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, N.Y. Safer is a co-author of the Society’s Clinical Practice Guideline on Endocrine Treatment of Gender-Dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons as well as the Society’s transgender medicine position statement.
After transgender and gender diverse minors start puberty, prescribing hormones to suppress puberty is the recommended strategy if it is desired by the patient and if diagnostic and treatment criteria are met. This treatment, which is completely reversible, gives adolescents more time to explore their options.
The interveners in the case include Gendered Intelligence, a community interest group for trans youth, and youth sexual health organization Brook, as well as the Endocrine Society. The intervention is supported by the Good Law Project’s Legal Defence Fund for Transgender Lives.
“It is important that transgender and gender diverse youth have access to the medical standard of care,” Safer says. “Because it is reversible, pubertal suppression is the conservative treatment approach available to transgender and gender diverse youth to avoid physical development that might require surgery to reverse later. Physicians must be allowed to provide needed medical care for their patients.”