Increase in referrals for young trans people due to ‘wider acceptance’
There has been a steady rise in the number of young people being referred to support services for help with transgender issues, figures from a London NHS trust show.
The Tavistock and Portman Clinic said 441 young people came to them for assessment in 2013/14, an increase of 350 from the period of 2009/2010.
From 2013 to last year, 440 referrals came from within England.
Nineteen people from Wales attended the clinic, two from Northern Ireland and two from Scotland.
Northern Ireland and Scotland also have their own separate services, although very young children will be referred to specialists in London.
Christina Richards, a senior specialist and psychotherapist at the Nottingham Gender Identity Clinic told BBC Newsbeat: “I think the increase in referrals is largely due to wider acceptance and wider understanding.
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“Some of the silly ideas about what ‘trans’ means have disappeared now.
“We realise it is something that affects all people from all walks of life and that people go on and do rather well if they get the help they need.
“For some people it seems what is going on in their brains is different to what’s gone on their bodies.
“Some people have real difficulties with it. Some people get really, really sad.
“Sometimes they hurt themselves and tragically sometimes they take their own lives.”
Sandyford Gender Identity Clinic in Glasgow has also seen a rise in referrals.
The clinic said: “Why we have seen an increase is a complex issue and there are, no doubt, a number of factors.”
They include increased awareness and acceptance and better access to the service.