Recently, the laws around hormone blockers has changed, which has left a lot of trans youths distressed.
What are hormone blockers?
Simply put: hormone blockers are drugs which block the effects of naturally produced hormones (oestrogen and testosterone) which give young trans people experiencing puberty time to think about their true gender identity and relieve the anxiety surrounding all the changes puberty brings with in.
Hormone blockers are not hormones, and it's not the same as hormone replacement therapy.
Trans boys will block naturally produced oestrogen, whereas trans girls would be blocking naturally produced testosterone.
They simply block the effects of naturally produced hormones, they don't give trans children the hormones of their preferred gender. This means that they are not medically transitioning.
The importance of hormone blockers
Hormone blockers are essential for transgender children (under the age of 18), as they halt signs of puberty, and can prevent higher levels of gender dysphoria in the future.
Puberty can be a very distressing time for many trans kids, I know it was for me. You start experiencing changes you don't want to happen to your body - but there's nothing you can do. Gender dysphoria sky rockets at this point, which can leave many trans youth depressed, anxious and potentially suicidal.
Hormone blockers allow transgender children to have some control over their bodies, and allows them to not have to experience changes which they don't want (especially those irreversible ones).
A trans woman will never be able to have narrower shoulders, smaller hands or even a higher pitched voice if she undergoes a male puberty.
Hormone blockers have the ability of preventing these changes taking place right now - however, hormone blockers do not cause any irreversible changes.
The controversy surrounding hormone blockers
You might think, that hormone blockers should be made available to trans children if they do not want to undergo puberty, or are unsure about their future at the moment - especially because they don't cause any irreversible changes.
Non 'irreversible' changes
Some people argue that hormone blockers do cause irreversible changes: they stop the development of a child which could leave them confused.
Hormone blockers may stunt the development of a child, as they do not undergo the same experiences as their peers - leaving them disadvantaged.
Children can't give informed consent
Many experts argue that children are not old enough to make decision about taking hormone blockers, as they have not yet developed a mind for the long-term future.
Similarly to how children are not legally allowed to partake in activities such as voting, it is believed that children under a certain age do not have the capability to make critical decision for themselves, therefore the choice of taking hormone blockers should not be theirs.
Doctors are too lenient
Many professionals have been criticised for prescribing hormone blockers to children who are not actually trans. Many of the patients who have previously been prescribed hormone blockers are coming out to say that they regret being treated, and are now identifying with their biological sex.
How the law has changed
Previously, if a child was diagnosed with gender dysplasia, their parents and child could make a decision whether the child should receive hormone blockers. There has been a long waiting list to see a doctor through the national health service, however, families were given that choice if there were no red flags.
On the 1st December, the court has ruled that:
"Children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment are unlikely to be mature enough to give informed consent to be prescribed puberty-blocking drugs, in effect curtailing medical intervention for under-16s with gender dysphoria."
This means that receiving hormone blockers will be extremely hard, however just how difficult it will be, we are still unsure.
The effects of 'banning' hormone blockers
Making hormone replacement therapy harder to access (even more than it is now), means that transgender children across the UK will be subject to even more gender dysphoria than they are currently. This could lead to a spike in suicide rates among trans youth.
It is still unclear whether transgender children on hormone blockers currently will be able to access the treatment moving forward.
This has left so many trans individuals devastated alongside their parents who have been supporting them throughout their journeys.
This has also deeply saddened the whole transgender community. We have taken a step back in medical care of transgender people, and even though hormone replacement therapy is an option for transgender individuals over 18 - a lot of changes caused by puberty are irreversible and will continue to make trans people dysphoric - which could easily be avoided by hormone blocker treatment.