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Young women turn to fundraising sites to bypass NHS for breast surgery

'We want to see the chronic lack of access to mental health services for young people properly addressed, and rigorous review of the evidence for gender-affirming care,' one observer of gender-affirming interventions says
'We want to see the chronic lack of access to mental health services for young people properly addressed, and rigorous review of the evidence for gender-affirming care,' one observer of gender-affirming interventions says - DAILY TELEGRAPH

Young women who identify as men are turning to fundraising websites to bypass the NHS to have their breast tissue surgically removed.

Females using the sites blamed long waiting times for NHS gender identity services, which include therapy, puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery.

One JustGiving user, aged 27, wrote that “Like many other trans people out there, I can’t wait that long. My mental health and general happiness suffers every day that I have to wear a binder (not to mention I have chronic asthma so binding isn’t ideal).”

Another, writing on GoFundMe, wrote: “Since the NHS waiting list is somewhere closer to a decade at the moment, I realised I needed to get a move on in order to beat that dastardly dysphoria and feel OK about going back to a swimming pool again. So privately it is!”

One female named Jake, 18, who had raised £535 out of £5,000 on GoFundMe at the time of writing, described being “bullied for almost half my life for being trans or ‘different’. From simply wearing boys’ clothes to being friends with boys.”

Miriam Cates, the Conservative MP, said: “It is very concerning that young women are able to use these popular platforms to raise money to pay for serious and irreversible unnecessary surgeries that they may later regret. The terms and conditions of GoFundMe expressly prohibit fundraising that promotes self-harm and I would urge these platforms to consider whether the surgical removal of a healthy young woman’s breasts should fall into this category.”

Lucy Marsh, from the Family Education Trust, said: “The trend for young women to fundraise for private surgeries to remove their breasts is really alarming. Evidence shows there’s been a huge rise in young women identifying as transgender, mainly due to social contagion through TikTok and Instagram. No one can be ‘born in the wrong body’ and it is profoundly wrong for surgeons to carry out unnecessary mastectomies on young women who need mental health support, not irreversible surgery that will leave them unable to breastfeed in the future. What happened to ‘first do no harm’?”

Dr Louise Irvine, co-chair of the Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender, added: “There are serious questions to be asked about the surgeons performing these operations, particularly with regard to informed consent. Accounts from detransitioned women cite multiple adverse outcomes including chronic pain, numbness, reduced range of movement, and psychological distress at the loss of their breasts and inability to breastfeed their children.

“We are starting to see cases of detransitioned women suing the clinicians who provided their gender-affirming interventions, such as double mastectomy. We want to see the chronic lack of access to mental health services for young people properly addressed, and rigorous review of the evidence for gender-affirming care.”

JustGiving and GoFundMe were approached for comment.