Campaigner says leaked NHS trans safeguarding guidance ‘alarming’


A campaigner and trans advocacy network founder says leaked NHS guidance which could see trans youth left with no choice but to medically detransition is a “very worrying indicator of where we’re heading”. 

Last week, NHS documents leaked by the Good Law Project – and confirmed by QueerAF as already in use – state young people and their families who use “unregulated” and “overseas providers” for gender-affirming care should cease doing so, or they may face safeguarding referrals.

The documents recognise that many young trans people will have used “unregulated providers or unregulated sources” to access hormones privately. It tells service providers who work with youth and their families to follow recommendations of the Cass report and advise children not to take puberty blockers or gender-affirming hormones obtained via routes without “appropriate care”. 

If a trans young person disregards such advice and a provider considers that this “puts the child/young person at increased risk, then a safeguarding referral may also be appropriate in line with standard safeguarding approaches”.

Two people sit together wearing a trans flag and a Pride flag as capes.
Jude Guaitamacchi described the leaked NHS guidance as “creating more barriers and complexities” for young trans people. (Getty)

Jude Guaitamacchi, a trans rights campaigner and the founder of the Trans Solidarity Alliance, described the guidance as “creating more barriers and complexities” for trans youth to access gender-affirming care. 

“To me, it’s quite alarming,” Guaitamacchi told PinkNews at the Trans+ History Week community event on Tuesday (7 May), “When it comes to young people we’re talking about some of the most vulnerable among us.

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“Studies have shown that if young people are supported at an earlier age in just being who they are, they are generally here later in life.”

Trans equality ‘should be a given’

Guaitamacchi continued: “Things are being more and more politicised and so many complications are being put in place. 

“I believe that we should be supporting and […] taking care of our trans youth as much as possible. It’s a very worrying indicator of where we’re heading.” 

In an election year, it is impossible for Guaitamacchi and other figures in the community to escape the fact trans folks are “being used as a political football” and a “culture war” by politicians. 

Back in February 2023, prior to Lee Anderson defecting to the Reform party from the Conservatives, he said that the Tories should fight the next general election on a “mix of culture wars and trans debate”. 

So far, even before an election has been announced, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have gone back and forth in parliament and the media about trans rights – with many trans voters saying Labour has “thrown them under the bus”. 

“The fact that we are describing this as a ‘cultural war’ is the issue to me,” Guaitamacchi said, “the fact that we are discussing and debating trans people and the right for us to not only exist, but to have access to spaces and to have equality, to me that shouldn’t be questioned – it should be given.

“If we believe in equal rights, then we should be looking at ways to include, not exclude, the trans community.”