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Trans

No, the NHS isn’t being sued in the High Court over ‘experimental’ puberty blockers this week

Vic Parsons January 8, 2020
9-year-old girl shows the beauty of letting trans kids live their truth

(Anatoliy Cherkasov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

Since a piece last Sunday headlined “High court to decide if children can consent to gender reassignment”, the UK media has been gleefully reporting that the UK’s only gender clinic for under 18’s is being sued over its use of puberty blockers.

This story, of the “landmark test case” about medical treatment for trans children allegedly being heard in the High Court this week, has since been widely covered.

All of the major UK national media outlets – The Guardian, BBC, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Times, Sky News, and the UK’s biggest current-affairs radio programme, BBC Radio 4 Today – have reported on the story.

It’s also spawned hand-wringing comment pieces about whether it’s “morally right” to “experiment” on trans children.

Anti-trans claims – calling puberty blockers “risky” and “experimental”, and questioning whether trans children are “too young” to know what they want – have been repeated, unquestioningly, in headline after headline.

But the story is not true.

According to both the High Court press office and one of the two women reported to be bringing the case, this case is not being heard in the High Court this week.

Not only that, there is currently no legal action against the NHS and its treatment of trans kids happening at all.

No papers have been lodged at the High Court in regards to this alleged legal action, the High Court press office confirmed to PinkNews.

“I just need to clarify – we are not in court this week,” Susan Evans, the ex-nurse named by the press as being one of two women suing the NHS over it’s treatment of trans kids, said on Twitter on 6 January.

“Press info is slightly misleading,” Evans added. “But we are hoping to lodge the papers in court very very soon – just awaiting some expert witness statements from abroad – then we will launch so will be back soon with news.”

This means that headlines like: “Psychiatric nurse launches legal action against NHS Tavistock clinic that offers ‘experimental’ puberty-blocking drugs to children ‘as young as nine’ who want to change gender” were written, and printed, and repeated, by journalists who did not even fulfil that most basic of journalistic duties and fact check the basis of the story.

There is, of course, the intention by Evans and her counterpart, Mrs A, to launch a legal challenge. They have raised £50,000 on the CrowdJustice crowdfunding website to do this.

But how on earth the national media can report a crowdfunding page and an intention to do something, at some point in the future, as “The UK’s national health service is being sued in the High Court this week” – creating three days of anti-trans newspaper coverage in the process – and sleep at night is beyond the ability of this journalist to imagine.

PinkNews contacted the law firm named on the crowdfunding page for comment but had not heard back by time of publication.

More: anti-trans media, gids, institutional transphobia, puberty blockers, transphobic media

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