Tory minister Sajid Javid echoes anti-trans lobbyists in attack on NHS services for trans kids

Sajid Javid

Tory health minister Sajid Javid has attacked NHS gender services for trans youth as “bordering on ideological”.

On Tuesday (19 April), in the House of Commons, Conservative MP James Sunderland referenced the recent Cans Review interim report on healthcare for trans youth, and asked Javid whether he “shares my concern that the NHS insists on making a child’s expressed gender identity the start point for treatment?”

Javid responded: “It’s already clear to me from her interim findings and from the other evidence that I’ve seen that the NHS services in this area are too narrow, they are overly affirmative, and in fact they’re bordering on ideological.

“And that is why in this emerging area, of course, we need to be absolutely sensitive. But we need to make sure that there is holistic care that’s provided, there’s not a one-way street and that all medical interventions are based on the best clinical evidence.”

Some of the points touched on by Javid are pertinent to improving care for trans youth on the NHS – services are certainly too limited, and the Cass Review interim report, commissioned by NHS England, suggested a vast expansion of NHS gender affirming care for trans kids and the opening of regional gender clinics.

With just one gender clinic for under-18s in the UK, the Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) the review from Dr Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said services should include training for clinical staff at all levels, it added, as well as co-ordination between regional centres, and data collection to improve standards and treatment, something which is currently severely lacking.

But the concept that NHS services for trans kids are “overly affirmative” will come as a surprise to the children who have spent years on waiting lists to access life-saving care.

Javid’s references to “ideological” services and “one-way street” care echo claims by anti-trans lobbyists, who insist that trans kids are being pushed into medical transition.

According to its website, GIDS provides patients with a wide variety of services from a multidisciplinary team that includes psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, counsellors, family therapists, paediatric endocrinologists, and specialist nurses.

Sajid Javid recently linked being trans to ‘child sex abuse’

Sajid Javid’s comments come less than three weeks after he said that some trans kids might not actually be trans, but rather “suffering from child sex abuse” or bullying. 

Addressing the government’s decision to ban conversion therapy for LGB people, but to keep it legal for trans folk, Javid said: “When it comes to trans, I do think that we need to be more careful… Is it a genuine case of gender identity dysphoria, or could it be that that individual is suffering from some child sex abuse, for example, or could it be linked to bullying?”

At the time, Gendered Intelligence told PinkNews that his comments “are a cynical attempt to further the division between the rights and healthcare of LGB people and those of the trans community, and to advance an increasingly anti-trans government agenda”.