October 4, 2021

Statement – Appeal Tavistock v Bell

Statements, IGLYO

IGLYO welcomes the ruling of the Court of Appeal of the United Kingdom in the Bell v Tavistock case. On September 17,  2021, the Court overturned an earlier decision from 2020 which had effectively barred trans and non-binary youth from accessing life-saving medical treatment in the UK public healthcare system (NHS) without acquiring judicial approval.

The new decision reaffirmed a prior principle and has re-emphasised that it is for the doctor together with the patient and their parents to make an informed decision based on a case-by-case analysis. The Court of Appeal argued that judicial bodies cannot make generalisations about the capacity of consent at different ages and thus cannot require routine judicial approval to access puberty blockers. 

Whilst we welcome today’s decision, we also acknowledge and extend our solidarity to the many young trans and non-binary people, as well as their families, that have suffered trauma from this period of uncertainty and agonising wait to receive vital healthcare. We emphasise the importance of bodily autonomy and self-determination of young people. Doctors and other medical support should only provide trans and non-binary youth with all the knowledge necessary to make a decision based on informed consent. 

IGLYO congratulates all organisations and activists that have tirelessly worked to overturn the decision and hopes that the latter is swiftly implemented by the NHS. In light of already dangerously long waiting lists, implementing the decision and accelerating access to trans healthcare should be made a priority. 

For an in-depth analysis of the case we recommend the excellent coverage by our member Mermaids (UK).

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