By Jonathon Van Maren
On February 16, a bombshell book by BBC Newsnight’s Hannah Barnes titled Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children was published. Barnes’ book is based on more than 100 hours of interviews with Tavistock’s clinicians (20 staff have quit since a medical review recommended the clinic be shut down by spring of 2023), former patients, and medical experts.
According to The Guardian—yes, The Guardian—Barnes’ book “is the story of the hurt caused to potentially hundreds of children since 2011, and perhaps before that. To shrug in the face of that story – to refuse to listen to the young transgender people whose treatment caused, among other things, severe depression, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis and stunted growth.”
Consider this excerpt, published by the Daily Mail:
The puberty-blockers affected Jacob in ways he says he hadn’t been warned about before starting treatment. He experienced a range of intense and unpleasant side-effects. “On one of them I had really bad insomnia, on another one really bad anger problems.”
He broke a knuckle from punching something. He had felt depressed before starting on the blockers but that was nothing compared to the mood swings when on them. At times he was euphorically happy “and the next day, you crash and you’re exhausted. And then you’re really, really depressed, suicidal depressed.”
His physical health suffered too. He gained “tons of weigh’”, so much so that he got stretch marks. Then there was the problem with his bones. They kept breaking. “I’d never ever broken a bone before but on the blockers I broke my wrist twice, my knuckles, my toe. It really ruins your bone density.”
Jacob was only 12 years old.
Despite the revelations of Hannah Barnes’ book and the closure order by the National Health Service, the Mail is reporting that Tavistock clinic is still giving puberty blockers to children like Jacob. Keep in mind, here, that the independent report that triggered the closure order found that the clinic was “not safe” for children after rushing minors into irreversible, life-altering regimens of puberty blockers. The Mail reports that up to 1,000 children are still “receiving treatment,” with another 8,000 on the waiting list.
The National Health Service plans to replace Tavistock with local clinics, including facilities in Manchester and London, but this has as of yet failed to materialize. Tavistock is to be given a six-month notice before closure, which means that at this point it may remain open until August, and will be able to prescribe puberty blockers to minors (children under the age of 16) until then despite the allegations of the damage already perpetrated by Tavistock’s clinicians.