The Health Research Authority (HRA) has just published its investigation into the 2010 experiment with puberty blockers, or more precisely its role in giving ethical approval and oversight. The investigation was prompted by research published on Transgender Trend in March 2019, with an update in July (the full paper is here).
On close reading, however, the report contains an astonishing admission. The paragraph deserves to be quoted in full:
“It would have reduced confusion if the purpose of the treatment had been described as being offered specifically to children demonstrating a strong and persistent gender identity dysphoria at an early stage in puberty, such that the suppression of puberty would allow subsequent cross-sex hormone treatment without the need to surgically reverse or otherwise mask the unwanted physical effects of puberty in the birth gender. The present study was not designed to investigate the implications on persistence or desistence of offering puberty suppression to a wider range of patients, it was limited to a group that had already demonstrated persistence and were actively requesting puberty blockers.” (p. 5, my own emphasis added in bold)
Let us leave the last word to Viner, who spoke with remarkable candour in 2012:
“If you suppress puberty for three years the bones do not get any stronger at a time when they should be, and we really don’t know what suppressing puberty does to your brain development. We are dealing with unknowns.” (Daily Mail, 25 February 2012)