Trans Healthcare

The Cass report carries concerning implications for trans healthcare in the UK

On Wednesday, the UK’s long-awaited Cass report on the state of trans healthcare in the NHS was published. In a time when the average waiting period for gender affirming care in the UK is years long, the report has recommended further restrictions on social transition and puberty blockers up to the age of 25.

The Cass report, headed by Dr Hilary Dawn Cass, was commissioned by NHS England to reevaluate healthcare services in response to increased referrals for trans youth. The report recommended the closure of the sole gender clinic in England, The Tavistock Center, in favor of opening regional centers and focusing on holistic pediatric care (the NHS has already taken steps to implement this).

While this move could expand gender affirming care services (if carried out in good faith), the report also contains recommendations that seem to reference anti-trans talking points while being overly focused on preventing detransition (a rare occurrence). It recommends assessments for autism and ADHD, early intervention in social transition, and restricting the prescription of puberty blockers up to the age of 25.

The report has been widely criticized for disregarding the vast body of evidence around trans healthcare and the efficacy of gender affirming treatments, claiming they are of “poor quality.” But even as the report has disregarded international research, journalist Erin Reed uncovered evidence that Dr Cass was interested in the Florida Board of Medicine’s review — ‘research’ conducted by DeSantis appointees that has been criticized as entirely political and unscientific.

Following its publication, the report has made ripples across the UK, with the gender critical crowd already claiming it as a victory and weaponizing it against the trans community. And now centrist politicians have a seemingly legitimized reason to revoke their support of trans people.

Labour MP Wes Streeting — the shadow health secretary — recently recanted his statement that “trans men are men, trans women are women… get over it.”

In an interview with The Sun, Streeting tied his new stance to the Cass report. “To the extent that – and I say this with some self-criticism and reflection – if you’d asked me a few years ago, on this topic, I would have said ‘trans men are men, trans women are women, some people are trans, get over it, let’s move on, this is all blown out of proportion’,” he began.

“And now I sort of sit and reflect and think ‘actually, there are lots of complexities’.”

At the end of the day, the Cass report offers a series of recommendations, and it is unclear to what extent they will be implemented. However, Streeting has already said that he will “work to implement the expert recommendations of the Cass Review.”

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