By GLEN OWEN POLITICAL EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL ON SUNDAY
PUBLISHED: 6 October 2019
Ministers have shelved plans to relax the law on changing gender following growing public concern over the number of children who are transitioning to the opposite sex.
The move has been sanctioned by Equalities Minister Liz Truss after The Mail on Sunday highlighted the rocketing numbers of under-18s starting the treatment and controversies such as the Girl Guides admitting boys who self-identify as female.
Theresa May launched a public consultation last year on proposals to change the law so that people would be able to switch sex simply by making a declaration of their gender – rather than, as currently, receiving a medical diagnosis, appearing before a specialist panel and waiting for two years.
But last night a senior Government source said the plans would be ‘kicked into the long grass’ until after the next Election – ‘and probably much later than that’.
The move has been sanctioned by Equalities Minister Liz Truss after The Mail on Sunday highlighted the rocketing numbers of under-18s starting the treatment
No 10 believes that with Brexit negotiations on a knife-edge and a backlog of urgent domestic issues to address, gender reform should be ‘low down the list of priorities’.
According to one source, after Amber Rudd resigned from the Government last month, Ms Truss was deliberately handed Ms Rudd’s portfolio for Women and Equalities by No 10 enforcer Dominic Cummings.
He realised this was an opportunity to ‘strangle the issue’ because of Ms Truss’s known opposition to children being helped to transition.
This spared No 10 a direct confrontation with the well-organised, pro-transgender lobby.
Ms Truss, whose primary job is International Trade Secretary, believes it is wrong that children as young as three can be allowed to start treatments, which include the use of hormone-blocking drugs.
According to one source, after Amber Rudd resigned from the Government last month, Ms Truss was deliberately handed Ms Rudd’s portfolio for Women and Equalities by No 10 enforcer Dominic Cummings
A source close to Ms Truss told the MoS: ‘The priorities of the brief are being put on ice. Fundamentally, it is the Secretary of State’s belief that adults should be given full freedom to decide how they want to live their lives and should not face barriers to doing so. When children are growing up, they are still developing those decision-making capabilities and there is a role to be played in protecting them and making sure that the implications of decisions are fully understood.’
The consultation, which has already received more than 100,000 responses from the public and involved 140 organisations, was designed to address complaints that there is currently a ‘two-tier system’ for transgender people.
It was designed to canvass opinion on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, a 2004 law which allows for the changing of a legal gender on a person’s birth certificate.
Theresa May launched a public consultation last year on proposals to change the law so that people would be able to switch sex simply by making a declaration of their gender
Over the past year, this newspaper has reported on a number of contentious cases involving transgenderism. They include Girl Guides leader Katie Alcock, who was expelled for objecting to the policy of allowing boys who identify as female to join the organisation.
Concern had also been raised over the fact that biological males would be allowed to share accommodation, showers and toilets with girls during trips.
Ms Alcock said that as a feminist she believed that males cannot change their biological sex, and so they should not be admitted to a group created for females.
We also told how former NHS psychologist Dr Kirsty Entwistle claimed that children are being misdiagnosed as transgender cases. Their ‘traumatic’ experiences might explain why a misguided desire to swap sex are not being investigated by medics for fear of being labelled transphobic.
Other vulnerable children being referred to Britain’s only NHS gender clinic for under-18s include those with mental health problems, she claimed.
Last year, 2,590 children were referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) to start the process of changing sex, a rise of more than 400 per cent since 2013. Ten of the children were aged three or four, and dozens more were of primary-school age.
The controversial clinic, run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, says it has become so overwhelmed by patients that it could be forced to set children on a path to a new sex on the basis of just a Skype phone call.