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Sharp rise in children visiting gender clinic

© ITVAnna Friel as Vicky Duffy and Callum Booth-Ford as Max in Butterfly, an ITV drama about Max who identified as transgender from a young age.
Anna Friel as Vicky Duffy and Callum Booth-Ford as Max in Butterfly, an ITV drama about Max who identified as transgender from a young age.

Children as young as four are attending a Scots gender clinic as the number of youngsters referred soars.

Referrals to the Young People’s Gender Service at the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow have climbed by more than 80% in a year for those aged between four and 10.

The clinic recorded 298 cases in 2018 among children of all ages.

Some critics have claimed children are being encouraged to begin the process of changing their gender too early and too quickly. Six psychologists at the Tavistock Centre in England resigned claiming their work was hampered by concerns around accusations of transphobia.

An inquiry has been launched at Tavistock after it emerged almost three-quarters of children referred were girls and Forwomen.scot used Freedom of Information laws to ask the Scots clinic for figures.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the number of referred children aged 11 to 16 increased from 198 in 2017 to 264 in 2018. For those aged four to 10 there was an increase from 18 to 33. One referral fell outsides the age categories.

Trina Budge, forwomen.scot co-founder, said: “We really do need more information about what is going on.”

The health board said: “There has been an increase in the number of young people across Europe seeking referral to gender services.

“The reasons are complex and multifaceted.”