TransActual welcomes the majority of recommendations in the 8th version of WPATH’s standards of care.
The new version, on the whole, represents progress in attitudes towards trans people and our access to medical transition and equitable healthcare. There is an emphasis on reducing barriers to transition related care, and the explanatory notes make it clear that assessment for medical transition can often take place in primary care settings. We hope that NHS England and NHS Scotland take note of this.
There are recommendations around the training of healthcare staff. TransActual intend to write to the appropriate professional bodies to encourage them to facilitate this.
The standards are non-binary inclusive and we welcome the acknowledgement that different people (whether non-binary or not) have different needs and expectations in relation to medical transition, and that transition should meet those individual needs.
We do, however, find the chapter on adolescence to be poor in comparison to the other chapters in the standards of care. There have been improvements made since the draft version, but the tone and emphasis remain out of keeping. Indeed, it is as if the writer has begrudgingly accepted that there is a wealth of evidence in favour of supporting trans adolescents. It is bizarre for the editors to have left any references to the widely debunked theories of “social contagion” and “rapid onset gender dysphoria” within the text, as the critique of them renders the references entirely irrelevant and unnecessary. The inclusion of them is akin to a textbook on astronomy including a paragraph on “flat earth theory”.
That being said, the message that is ultimately given in both the child and adolescent chapters is that it can be harmful not to give trans children and young people support. We strongly encourage those involved in the Cass Review and all those caring for trans and non-binary children to read the standards and to make use of the extensive reference section to support your work into the evidence around support and treatment of trans children and young people.
Finally, we are pleased that the recommendations make it very clear that conversion practices do not work and should not be “offered”. We hope that the UK government takes those recommendations seriously.
The WPATH Standards of Care are available at: https://www.wpath.org/soc8/chapters