The UK’s Holocaust memorial boss condemns Graham Linehan for comparing Nazi experiments to trans healthcare

Lord Eric Pickles condemns Graham Linehan for Nazi comments

The UK special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Lord Eric Pickles, has condemned Father Ted creator Graham Linehan for “trivialising the Holocaust” by comparing trans healthcare to Nazi experiments.

Linehan made the comments comparing doctors treating trans youth to Nazis experimenting on children in concentration camps during the Holocaust on BBC’s Newsnight on Monday.

He said there are “a couple of parallels” between Nazi doctors and the doctors treating transgender children today.

“Children are basically being experimented on with puberty blockers,” Linehan said.

When asked by BBC journalist Sarah Smith if he was “seriously trying to say that children going to the doctor and saying they’re worried about their gender is akin to children being experimented on in Nazi concentration camps?” Graham Linehan replied: “I’m afraid I am.”

Lord Pickles, who has been the UK envoy on post-Holocaust issues since 2015, condemned Linehan’s remarks.

Pickles told PinkNews: “Forced medical procedures conducted by the Nazis in concentration camps were vile experiments in eugenics, clinically pointless, indifferent to human life and tinged with sadism.

“As Mr Linehan has found to his costs, casual comparisons with the death camps and contemporary issues rarely work and are fraught with dangers. They trivialise the Holocaust and undermine the issue they are propounding by making the comparison.”

Pickles’ role is to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten. In 2018, Pickles was appointed alongside Ed Balls as co-chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation advisory board.

Graham Linehan: What are puberty blockers?

Puberty-pausing medication, known as puberty blockers, are prescribed in order to delay puberty until a trans teenager is old enough to make decisions about having gender-affirming medical treatment.

The treatment has been used for decades and a recent piece of research found that access to the drugs is “life-saving” for trans teenagers.

The landmark study, published in medical journal Pediatrics in January 2020, was the first to look at the impact of access to puberty blockers on suicide risk of trans kids.

The study found that if trans teenagers have access to puberty blockers their chance of suicide and mental-health problems significantly declines.