A whistleblower at a U.K. gender clinic was granted victory by a central London employment tribunal when it ruled that she was "seen as hostile" and was forced to undergo "quasi-disciplinary" proceedings after she approached management at the Tavistock and Portman Trust about the safety of prescribing experimental drugs to children suffering from gender dysphoria.
Sonia Appleby was a social worker and psychotherapist at the National Health Service who led its child safeguarding program. According to the Christian Post, the tribunal ruled that Appleby experienced "significant" injury to her feelings when the trust mid handled the matter in a way that not only damaged her professional reputation, but also "prevented her from proper work on safeguarding."
As the lead of the institution's child safeguarding committee, the U.K. whistleblower was tasked to protect children from maltreatment and prevent the impairment of their health or development.
During the trial, the tribunal heard that Appleby was approached by a number of staff who were concerned over the high numbers of children being referred to Gender Identity Development Service or GIDS, England's only NHS gender service for children. Their comments were over "a worry that some young children are being actively encouraged to be transgender without effective scrutiny of their circumstances."
BBC reported that Appleby then approached her line manager about these concerns. Following her report, the trust management attempted to hinder the U.K. whistleblower from carrying out her job, an attempt she called a "full-blown organisational assault."
The trust denied Appleby's claims, saying instead that she had been "accusatory in approach" and that the agency was "already under external pressure from politicized groups, and the internal pressure of sometimes acrimonious splits between clinicians."
Between 2017 and 2019, Appleby reportedly made "six protected disclosures," including those over "challenges" at GIDS and what the U.K. whistleblower described as "rogue medics and the political expectations of the national service" and "splits within the team." She added that employees at GIDS were often so overworked that they failed to exercise safeguarding measures.
This is not the first time GIDS was wrapped up in controversy over child mistreatment from gender dysphoria. IN 2018, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. David Bell wrote a report on the activities of the GIDS, where he worked in adult services from 1995 to early 2021, The Guardian reported.
In December 2020, the high court ruled that children aged 16 and below are incapable of giving informed consent to the prescription of puberty blockers. The ruling was sparked by a Keira Bell, a 23 year old female who was prescribed puberty blockers by GIDS and later regretted her transition.
Dr. Bell's report reflected the same concerns of the high court, such as that there is very little data on the outcomes and effects, both desirable and adverse, of children who took puberty blockers. Dr. Bell lamented that the court ruling had little effect on GIDS, as he thought "heads would roll." Instead, management structure merely "changed slightly."