Time to Think: Hannah Barnes (2)

Part of a series on this excellent book. Waterstones may be hiding it but it’s too big a scandal to cover up and those of you cheering on this harmful ideology are going to pretend you didn’t!

You can find part one here:

Time to Think: Hannah Barnes.

Chapter 3 examines the pressure on G.I.D.s to embrace what has become known as The Dutch Protocol; namely the use of puberty blockers in children presenting with “Gender Dysphoria”. We have seem that there were tensions within the Tavistock as different ideologies were competing for dominance. Crudely, some clinicians were familiar with people presenting with distress, expressed as a bodily rejection, which could manifest as anorexia, self-harm, alcoholism or, in more extreme cases the rejection of a limb. (A condition known as apotemnophilia). The other camp, again crudely, believed in innate gender identity or a “Born In The Wrong Body” narrative. For the latter camp forcing a child to go through the “wrong puberty” was akin to abuse. I have said many times that once you believe in the existence of a “gender identity”, at odds with your biological sex, the next steps seem obvious and, perhaps, inevitable.

Pressure to prescribe came from all quarters, from parents;the kids themselves and lobby groups. The use of threats of suicide often accompanying these demands. Older people with a “trans” identity also seemed to use these kids as a kind of retrospective wish fulfilment. Those of us who cover the topic of autogynephilia see another motive; creating the idea of the “transgender child” to deflect attention away from trans-identified males with a sexual fetish; an accusation that can’t be levelled at a child.

Of course by the time we were in the 2000’s there were plenty of Lobby Groups pushing for earlier, medical intervention. We must not overlook the profit motive; Ferring Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Puberty Blocking drug, Triptolerin, funded the initial research into using Puberty Blockers, at Gender Clinics, and they have also donated £1.4 million to the Liberal Democrats, a U.K political party,

The claims made for the “Dutch Protocol” do not appear to be justified by the paucity of research.

In this chapter we find that clinicians were aware that most of these children, left alone, would reconcile to their sex and turn out to be gay males or Lesbians. Nevertheless despite the risk of “false positives” they would, eventually, capitulate.

In 2005 the association for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BPSED) came out against this early intervention.

People were sounding a note of caution but one of the more shocking statements would come from an ex member of G.I.D.s staff about the role the possibility of medical interventions may have played in the strategy of its Director.

Elsewhere Barnes speculated that De Ceglie saw his role as making sure G.I.D.s survived as an organisation and that this may have taken priority over other concerns.

Whether due to the pressure from behind the scenes / public lobbying the outbreak of sanity at BPSED would not last. When the guidelines came up for review in 2008, they changed their stance.

For good or ill the NHS were now sterilising children.

The chapter ends with a reflection from Phoebe, a trans-identified male who had surgery to remove his genitals at age 18. Phoebe’s back story is that of a surviving twin whose sister was lost in uteru. Phoebe was a gender non-conforming male who had extensive homophobic bullying. Clearly he is same sex attracted but, age 28, a man who accepts him as a woman has proved elusive. Despite regretting the loss of a chance at biological children, Phoebe claims to have no regrets about his path but also has not managed to quell all doubts.

I am inclined to agree with Barne’s assessment that Phoebe is quite charming. He is also wary of rushing access to medications and surgeries.I am correctly sexing him here, because it’s important not to yield our language, but I wish him well and hope he never has cause to regret his surgery.

By Chapter 4, De Ceglie has been replaced by Polly Carmichael and G.I.Ds had, after a refusal, obtained ethical approval for a research project to block puberty for some of the children in their care. This chapter is a must read to understand why the staff at G.I.Ds chose not to use a control group so they could compare those given puberty blockers against a cohort who had not received them. It questions the results of the Dutch Protocol and whether the Tavistock were honest about the effect of the puberty blockers. In particular they describe them as granting a “pause” when they knew almost 100% of children progressed to cross sex hormones, as did ALL of the children in the Dutch Protocol. It also questions the impact on boys who would require a riskier surgery, using intestinal tissue, because of a stunted penis. (One patient in the Dutch protocol died from complications of the surgery). Moreover it points out that the fact all of the children who take PBs + Cross Sex Hormones will be sterile and not just have reduced fertility as the subjects were told. This is a must read chapter and while the revelations are explosive it is told in a calm and measured way by Barnes.

Barnes also revisits the first patient that started the push to use puberty blockers, patient B. This does not sound like an unmitigated success. It’s worth a long clip of this section.

Barnes references the excellent work of herself and Deborah Cohen for the Newsnight team and Professor Viper’s response to some of the relegations.


The chapter ends with another case study of a trans-identified female from the foster care system. Jack had a disrupted childhood with a family dealing with alcohol issues. She was a tomboy and attracted to other girls. The foster care broke down when they began to insist Jack ceased hanging out with boys and dressed more “feminine”. Jack had mental health issues and spent two years in a psychiatric facility. She describes a slow and careful assessment at G.IDs which was frustrating at the time. She also did not want to be a Lesbian.

Jack became attracted to the notion she was “trans” after watching the product placement of a trans character on a U.K soap aimed at teens. She also makes a startling observation on a further stint on a psychiatric ward shen she was older.

She also thinks the testosterone may have influenced her sexuality and now identifies as a gay man, attracted to males. In the end Jack took cross sex hormones and had a double mastectomy, neither of which she regrets. She does, however, think safeguarding young people from making a mistake is important.

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Researching the history and the present of the “transgender” movement and the harm it is wreaking on our society.


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