British Minister For Women Faces Backlash After Comments Cautioning Youngsters Aiming To Receive Gender Reassignment Surgery

Grace Carr | Reporter

A British politician is receiving heat after making comments expressing caution about young people seeking gender reassignment surgery, noting the weighty decision’s ability to change the course of youngsters’ lives forever.

“The treatments are so serious and life-changing. I’m a little cautious of the use of those treatments because of the potential for the rest of their lives,” Conservative Minister for Women Victoria Atkins said, The Guardian reported Sunday.

“It may simply be a case of greater awareness, it may be that for some they see it as an answer to questions they are perhaps not asking themselves. We need to be particularly alert to this with regard to young people,” she added.

The British Conservative Party politician made her comments in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, pointing to reports indicating that the number of young people identifying as transgender is rising. “Lots of questions are rightly being asked about how we treat young people. People whose bodies perhaps haven’t developed yet,” Atkins remarked, noting the importance of examining the reasons that number is going up.

Atkins was elected as the member of Parliament for Louth and Horncastle in May 2015 and assumed the minister for women post in January.

Members of the LGBTQ community and allies of the transgender community are pushing back against Atkins remarks. “It is damaging to imply that trans teens are being given treatment lightly, as behind it are decades of research and best practice,” said Fox Fisher, a patron of LGBTQ helpline Switchboard. “Trans people’s lives are at stake here, and we know what we need,” Fisher added. (RELATED: Transgender UK Political Advisor Says 8-Year-Old Children Should Be Able To Choose Genders)

Scottish Trans Alliance manager James Morton also refuted Atkins’ comments that the number of young people identifying as transgender is rising. “There’s around 3.5 million young people currently going through puberty in the UK, with only around 300 gender dysphoric teenagers (less than 0.01 percent) starting reversible puberty delaying medication this year,” he said, The Guardian reported. “Transgender young people remain very rare, despite the current media obsession with their existence.”

Medical research shows 80 to 95 percent of children outgrow their gender dysphoria naturally and accept their biological sex if nature takes its course. Top studies also show no mental improvement after gender reassignment surgery.

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