Puberty blockers: Humza Yousaf must urgently answer worrying questions about treatment of children with gender concerns – Scotsman comment

Committee of MSPs asks First Minister to clarify the Scottish Government’s position

According to the findings of this week's Cass Review into the treatment of children with gender-related issues, the rationale for the use of puberty blockers is “unclear" and the effect of these drugs on their cognitive and psychosexual development is “unknown”. So while the subsequent decision by the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow to pause their use for new patients was welcome, it was also alarming, as children have been given puberty blockers for some time.

The obvious concern is that young patients have been given drugs despite doubts about what they will actually do. Some may even worry that children have effectively been used as guinea pigs. These are fears that the clinic and the Scottish Government must address and, hopefully, comprehensively allay, as soon as possible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cass also found that the use of masculinising and feminising hormones in those under the age of 18 “presents many unknowns”. And, again, at least some of the clinic’s patients aged 16 and 17 will no longer receive “gender-affirming hormone treatment”.

The changes suggest that Sandyford has learned something new from the report, but what? Did they think they knew what the drugs were doing? If not, what was the justification for prescribing them? What were patients told about the potential side-effects? With all this uncertainty, the Scottish Government’s reticence to speak in detail about this issue has not helped prevent suspicions that transgender ideology, rather than medical research, has played a leading role in the way children have been treated.

Humza Yousaf must not, therefore, ignore a new request by the Scottish Parliament’s education, children and young people committee. In a letter to the First Minister, education committee convener Sue Webber said: “Clarity is urgently required as to how the Scottish Government intends to take forward the report’s findings… the committee believes a comprehensive children’s rights and well-being impact assessment should be undertaken to ensure these matters are explored fully and to ensure the rights of all children and young people across Scotland are safeguarded.”

The public has a right to know what has been going on. Questions about whether vulnerable young people have been “safeguarded” cannot go unanswered.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.