Woman Suing Gender Clinic Because Regrets Transitioning Into Male, Calling Process ‘Very Rushed’

Woman Suing Gender Clinic Because Regrets Transitioning Into Male, Calling Process ‘Very Rushed’ ITV

A British woman is taking legal action against a gender clinic after she transitioned into male as she believes the process was “very rushed” and she should have been challenged more on her decision. Keira Bell, 23, is suing the Tavistock Clinic and Portman NHS Trust after the establishments allowed her to begin puberty-delaying hormones when she was only 16, BBC News reports. Her argument is that children can’t give consent for such treatments and that she wasn’t warned of the “life-altering effect” her transition would have.

  1. Bell was convinced she wanted to transition. She described herself as a tomboy as a child but said the more she learned about transgender people and identities, the more she was convinced she was in the wrong body. “One step led to another,” according to Bell, and she was eventually referred to Tavistock GIDS when she was 16.
  2. She had several appointments at the clinic before hormones were prescribed. She describes sitting through three hour-long appointments before she was prescribed puberty-delaying hormones that would keep her from having her period or growing larger breasts. However, Bell now believes she should never had been given the drugs. “I should have been challenged on the proposals or the claims that I was making for myself,” she said. “And I think that would have made a big difference as well. If I was just challenged on the things I was saying.”
  3. Bell was initially very happy about transitioning. A year after she began puberty blockers, Bell started on testosterone to increase male characteristics such as facial hair and a deeper voice. At the age of 20, she had top surgery to remove her breasts and she was incredibly happy with her decision. However, recently she’s started to have second thoughts. “Initially I felt very relieved and happy about things, but I think as the years go on you start to feel less and less enthusiastic or even happy about things,” she said. “You can continue and dig yourself deeper into this hole or you can choose to come out of it and have the weight lifted off your shoulders.”
  4. Last year, she decided to stop taking hormones. Bell says she now accepts she’s female but blames the clinic for allowing her to transition to male despite her insisting over many years that she felt it was the right decision for herself. “I was allowed to run with this idea that I had, almost like a fantasy, as a teenager…. and it has affected me in the long run as an adult,” she said. “I’m very young. I’ve only just stepped into adulthood and I have to deal with this kind of burden or radical difference – in comparison to others at least.”
  5. Bell even went so far as to invalidate the trans experience altogether. Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Bell insisted that gender is fixed and that you can’t change it no matter how much you might want to. “You can’t change your sex. I mean, you can appear a certain way. If you had me on like a couple years ago, I would have had the same story saying that it’s saved my life and I’m in a much better position,” she said.
  6. The Tavistock Clinic has stood behind its services. They said in a statement: “GIDS [The Gender Identity Development Service] is a safe and thoughtful service which puts the best interest of its patients and their families first. We won’t comment on the ongoing proceedings and await the judgment of the court in due course. Surgical interventions are not available for under 18s, they can only be assessed by an adult gender identity clinic.”

It would seem on many levels that Bell has some mental health issues to work through, and the way she’s lashed out at the gender identity clinic and the trans experience as a whole is indicative of personal, internal conflict rather than objective truth. There certainly needs to be accountability and regulation around gender reassignment, but to discount a system that has saved many lives and allowed many young people to finally love themselves and live their truth seems short-sighted and dismissive. Here’s hoping she’s able to find some clarity and kindness in future.

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