A new BBC3 documentary has highlighted the extent of the challenges facing trans youth in the UK in accessing care on the NHS.
Hosted by award winning trans activist, Charlie Craggs, the film: Transitioning Teens, available on iPlayer, for the first time talks to those being impacted by the years-long NHS waiting lists and explores some of the lengths they are going to, while they wait.
One young person shares her experiences of self medicating, explaining that she gets her guidance via forums which are populated by hundreds of trans people. With no medical guidance available, individuals are having to rely on personal experiences to advise each other on healthcare, even discussing the worrying side-effects of medications they are accessing online without a prescription.
Craggs describes it as a process of the community feeling like it has to: ‘look out for each other because no one is looking out for you.’
GenderGP is highlighted by the programme as the only private service supporting people under 18 with affirmative care. Craggs interviews Dr Helen Webberley about the reasons she set up GenderGP and the challenges she has since faced in response to her affirmative stance on the treatment of young people. The repercussions of which are currently being played out in her MPTS tribunal. To receive updates on Dr Helen’s hearing subscribe to our bulletins or visit the news section of our website.
Craggs discusses the effects of having gone through the wrong puberty and the extensive surgeries she has had to undergo to reverse the damage: ‘It’s about being able to go outside and get on with your day without people constantly attacking you. It’s about making me look how I would’ve looked if I had not been born in the wrong gender.’
As part of the programme, Craggs also interviews Jolyon Maugham, barrister and founder of The Good Law Project which was recently successful in its parental consent case against the Tavistock and Portman clinic. He explains: ‘Children are being denied access to treatments which are correlated to improving their mental health. You get those treatments you are much less likely to commit suicide, that’s the basic facts of the matter.’
Accessing care through GenderGP
The dangers of self medicating from unknown sources are well-documented. GenderGP only ever works with legitimate pharmacies. We monitor your blood levels to ensure you are on the right dose and provide access to a multidisciplinary team who can support with any medical or psychological help you may need. Our aim is to facilitate your transition while keeping you safe.
If you would like to stop self-medicating, GenderGP can move you onto a medical pathway that’s right for you. We don’t have any waiting lists and our team is available to support with any questions you may have around your transition. We have systems in place to help those on a low income and are happy to work with your GP to bring costs down even further, if your GP is willing.
For those for whom accessing care privately is not possible, we have set up The GenderGP Fund. Our Fund allows those under the age of 16 who have been impacted by the outcome of the Tavistock v Bell ruling to access care funded by the community.
In the sobering words of Charlie Craggs: ‘The focus should not be on whether young trans people should be getting medical intervention but on what happens if these young trans people don’t get medical intervention. There is no long term without hormones, look at the suicide rates among trans people, why are we not talking about that?’
You can watch Transitioning Teens on BBC IPlayer.